"A family company comes to different decisions"
You can learn a lot about a company from what is directly revealed in balance sheets and contracts. But there is only a certain amount you can learn about the personality of a company from mere ratios. Dornbracht is now the only family-run company among the major players in the industry, and this is noticeable in the good relations it enjoys with market partners, suppliers, specialist retailers and tradespeople. The family company has been managed since the start of the nineties by brothers Andreas and Matthias Dornbracht, the third generation of the family to do so. As their father Helmut once put it, "The good thing about it is, you'll always find a Dornbracht to talk to here."
Confidence pays off
The large personal network also thrives on the brothers' presence – Andreas is responsible for Marketing and Sales, Matthias for Production, Purchasing and Logistics. Small and medium-sized companies also still abound among specialist wholesalers and tradespeople and they particularly appreciate how near at hand and approachable the manufacturers are. Family decisions are considered particularly reliable and give partners long-term continuity. Confidence exists on both sides and keeps paying off. After the devastating fire in summer 2009 that spread from the neighbouring site to the plating shop, destroying it completely, Dornbracht initially had to stop production and was not able to make deliveries. The value of good relationships showed itself during this crisis. Competitors offered Dornbracht fallback options for production, banks and specialist wholesalers remained loyal to their long-term partners and tradespeople took up the cudgels for the defaulting manufacturer with waiting end-customers. It is an integral part of the corporate philosophy to cultivate lasting and successful partnerships. Which is why Dornbracht has been working together with the renowned designers of Sieger Design since the eighties, and with the communications agency Meiré und Meiré, since 1996.
Brave and visionary decisions
The corporate strategies also make it obvious that Dornbracht's fate is not under the control of a faceless consortium. When, in the eighties, Helmut Dornbracht extended the company's design expertise, this alignment was not without controversy, explains Andreas Dornbracht. "But by putting the focus on design, my father was detecting the spirit of the times. As brothers, we just kept following the same path." Their bravery was rewarded. The product range was reduced and later, totally aligned to the premium segment. There was another momentous decision. While many companies relied on the low wages in Asia, Dornbracht kept 100% of their production in Germany. The majority of their suppliers also come from the immediate vicinity of Iserlohn, where the company is located. An anonymous consortium of shareholders would probably have decided differently a long time ago and damaged the essence of the company, explains Matthias Dornbracht. "We are not mass-producers, so we have to be flexible enough to respond to the market. You cannot simply outsource the production of our custom-built products."