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Adapt & specialise

25 January 2013

In the current economic climate, it is not enough for any business to simply carry on as it always has and expect to survive.

When Richard Mönninghoff started his company in 1916, it was as a supplier to the mining industry. Based in Bochum, in the Ruhr Valley – Germany's industrial heartland – it wasn't until 1952, when an engineer from outside the company approached Mönninghoff with an idea he wanted to develop, that the business became concerned with drive technology. And, as Germany's mining industry has declined over the years, Mönninghoff's activity and expertise in the drive technology sector has increased.

I recently visited the company and it is clear how the ability to adapt and specialise in response to market conditions continues to be one to the company's main strengths. While established markets the company traditionally sold its clutches and couplings into, such as the printing and textiles sectors, have declined in recent years, it is telling that Mönninghoff now views its 'special purpose' applications as one of the most important areas of business. These involve working on projects covering anything from highly specialised couplings for helicopter trail drive systems to brake/clutch combinations for ski lifts.

Although each job can be seen as disparate, the one thing that they do all have in common is the benefits they are reaping from Mönninghoff's ability to provide a completely customised solution. So much so that 70 to 80% of the company's output now consists of products specifically customised for the individual application. An advert for specialisation if ever there was one...

 
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