Mr. Thomas Runde is the CEO of Tietjen Verfahrenstechnik GmbH from Hemdingen near Hamburg in Germany. In a recent interview, he confronted Grain Feed & Milling Magazine(GFMM). The magnetic part of that interview has been revealed for the readers of Grain Feed & Milling Magazine(GFMM).
GFMM: How you to get involved yourself with this business?
Mr. Thomas Runde: My personal background is from environmental technologies and mechanical engineering. The Tietjen company has a unique combination of traditional machine manufacturing and first-class process technology for grains, fibres and other biomass. Efficiency in grinding, quality of machines and conserving resources go hand in hand in our products and our projects – these factors resulted in my decision to accept management lead and become co-shareholder 8 years ago.
GFMM: Will you say something about your business start-up?
Mr. Thomas: Tietjen has been on the market for over 60 years, I joined the company in 2013. Evolving from a machine manufacturing company, Tietjen is a complete solution provider today. In particle size reduction, we cover the following applications:
- Compound feed
- Pet and Aqua feeds
- Biogas and Biomass
- Wood and Fibres
- Alcohol and Ethanol
New clients and applications are added continuously to the Tietjen portfolio – this is our challenge and reward for the change and development we are aiming for as a team.
GFMM: Tell us about the current status or range of your business and company.
Mr. Thomas: From a farm to a global mechanical engineering company: For more than 6 decades, we have been promoting innovations in the field of grinding technology. Meanwhile we are represented in 25 countries and on all continents. We are familiar with nearly every detail of our approx. 2000 installation worldwide and can offer quick and efficient assistance to all of them, if needed.
GFMM: What kind of product/technology do you produce?
Mr. Thomas: We develop, design and manufacture grinding systems for substrate digestion at our own plant in Hemdingen near Hamburg in the North of Germany. In this respect, we are experts in both – dry grinding and wet grinding. We strive to make sure Tietjen grinding solutions make optimum use of our clients´ resources.
GFMM: Tell us about the quality of your product. Why buyer will buy it from ten people’s product?
Mr. Thomas: Our standards are extremely high. We only launch products on the market that have proven their quality and day-to-day use in production lines of our customers. To document and control our quality, Tietjen is ISO 9001:2015 certified. Some of our clients say: “Tietjen is the Mercedes Benz of Grinders”. I guess we really have some aspects in common with Mercedes, some things are even better at Tietjen: We give a 20-year warranty on the housing for every machine. And you will always get spare parts as long as your machine is running (Some of them are already running for more than 50 years!).
GFMM: Compare your industry/company with respect or the top class to the world market.
Mr. Thomas: We serve customers with the highest requirements from the feed & food sector. But also, in petfood the expectations in terms of particle size reduction and/or the variety of raw materials is steadily increasing. Those challenging applications set the limits for some of our machines and solutions. Developing for these customer segments also supports our compound feed business, as innovations and improvements will be made available to those customer segments as well, of course.
GFMM: Tell me if you have any problems or challenges with this business.
Mr. Thomas: Our markets are very dynamic, there are quick changes, which can turn into opportunities if you use them right. For example, the grinding fineness is increasing steadily, and high purity (of biomass) isan important topic in the biomass separation with our machines. The petfood market grew during the Covid-19 Pandemic and new products for allergies or vegan diets bring new and interesting challenges almost every day.
GFMM: How did you deal or overcome these problems / challenges?
Mr. Thomas: We have high standards and are constantly working to develop both – our machines and solution and the company Tietjen itself.
GFMM: What will you say about your management style?
Mr. Thomas: We have an extremely flat hierarchy, and a great, dynamic team. Old and young are going very well together as experience in our job is as important as speed. Every member of our team has a high degree of responsibility and freedom to decide. Young people at Tietjen very early get their chance to work on their own projects.
GFMM: Say on your service categories.
Mr. Thomas: We offer our customers maintenance concepts with regular and pro-active inspections to ensure long-term operational reliability. As we know our technology down to the last detail, we aim to make the full potential of every grinding system available for the customer. Therefore, we provide our customers with advice in the area of system optimisation and energy efficiency, for example. Our own safety technology complies with the necessary protection requirements in accordance with the currently valid international guidelines We are there for you from the very beginning with help and advice especially on the topics of explosion protection and system safety.
GFMM: Tell me about your staffs or manpower education and experiences.
Mr. Thomas: More than 60 % our clients are from abroad and many of our colleagues have an international background. So, from our very hearts, we are open to all nationalities and backgrounds. We are proud of the fact that women make up close to 20% of our workforce and are looking to improve on this percentage. Not bad for machinery manufacturing but of course still with room for improvement…
GFMM: Will you say about your significant achievement so far?
Mr. Thomas: We are proud to have so many international clients and the solutions competence we developed over the last 10 years. Today, we offer everything from single machines to complete grinding plants and have a very competitive product portfolio also in sifting, mixing and ultra-fine grinding.
GFMM: What was the main force or power behind it?
Mr. Thomas: Customer satisfaction is our drive. We strive to meet the changing and growing demands of our customers with our solutions.
GFMM: What will you say about your future plan?
Mr. Thomas: We are working on Tietjen´s digitalisation and constant individual product innovation. New and improved single machines support our services that we are selling in plant engineering and the solutions business.
GFMM: Say something about yourself as a human, as a successful industrialist.
Mr. Thomas: This job at Tietjen brings me a lot of joy. I like working in a team, that has a clear vision and is moving in the same direction together. I want to push the company further forward and my colleagues and I know that our basis for this development is the trust that customers have in us and our products.
GFMM: Do you want to say something to your customers?
Mr. Thomas: We have customers from all application areas. From compound feed to pet food to aquafeed to ethanol or wood grinding. The different application areas have very different requirements, that result in individually optimized process designs and solutions.
GFMM: How is European market compared to the developed world in this sector?
Mr. Thomas: The European market and our customer base are characterized by a fairly high level of technical competence on the customer side. This usually creates an intensive exchange about technology and applications. We have grown from these challenges and would like to transfer our knowledge to developing countries and other countries as well.
GFMM: Has your business expanded to Asian countries? Or do you have any plans to expand your business in the Asian market?
Mr. Thomas: We have customers all over the world – from Australia to Zimbabwe, from agricultural farms to wellknown international corporations. Asia is not our strongest continent, but we do have a strong presence in individual “target countries and regions” within Asia, such as South Korea and Southeast Asia. The goal of our selective market strategy in Asia is to become strong in specific strategic markets we have identified.
GFMM: Thank you on behalf of ‘Grain Feed & Milling Magazine’.