360° All-around service

The Stendal-based company “Siebert Hydraulik & Pneumatik” ensures optimal driving force

What do Hydraulics and Pneumatics mean? “Power and energy are transmitted by means of oil or pressurised air,” explains Felix Siebert. The junior manager of “Siebert Hydraulik & Pneumatik” is almost as old as the company itself, which was founded by his parents in the north of Saxony-Anhalt in 1990. Their company slogan is: “We are 360o Hydraulics & Pneumatics”. This includes an all-around service, from the procurement of spare parts to the maintenance of systems to customer-specific in-house productions.

As of recently, Jörg Siebert has to go upstairs in order to get to his office, since his son Felix moved in downstairs – close to the workshop and the financial administration led by his mother, Monika Siebert. “I have to get used to being further away from the action,” admits the senior partner. The 65-year-old founders of “Siebert Hydraulik & Pneumatik” are consistent in their decision, though. In two years, when his parents retire from the business, Felix should have completely established himself as the head of the company. The 26-year-old qualified industrial engineer begins a new stage of his life with a huge home advantage: He is almost as old as the family-owned business, which was founded in 1990, and literally took his first steps together with it. The workshop in his hometown of Wust in the Altmark region was his nursery. “When I was five years old, I helped to pack hydraulic hoses,” he remembers. Retrospectively he knows that this order from the rail company Deutsche Bahn was very large as well as being crucial for the development of the family-owned business. According to Jörg Siebert, the Blankenburg-based research and development plant of the Deutsche Bahn developed a carriage with a hydraulic tilting device in the mid-1990s. With his excellent inventiveness and his field-tested talent for improvisation, Jörg Siebert participated in the prototype construction. “This work was too troublesome for other companies,” he says. Today, he is still delighted that Deutsche Bahn placed the large order with him to supply pipes and hoses, in recognition of this. Deutsche Bahn is still a loyal customer today – together with many other companies such as Alstom, a provider of railway technology, or the Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe, Leipzig’s public transport authority. Mobile hydraulics has become one of the company’s key services.

“Nothing is impossible,” says Mr Siebert – he attributes the successful growth of his company to his thirst for knowledge, his sociability and, of course, his willingness to take risks. “Since I was an agricultural engineer, I knew nothing about hydraulics at the beginning,” he says smiling. As a farmer, who was harvesting with his LPG-crop production in 1990, he knew: hydraulic hoses will always be in demand. “It often happened that large harvesting machines did not work for several days, as wearing parts broke and new ones were not delivered on time,” says Jörg Siebert, in order to explain that there was a great need for his founding idea in 1990. What he did not possess was a telephone. Being self-employed meant, first and foremost, to be on the road – to manufacturers and to potential customers to whom he offered a punctual delivery service. He says that it did not require a lot of persuading. East Germany was an enlarged market for manufacturers in the matter of hydraulics and pneumatics. Local companies were glad when they no longer had to take charge of spare parts issues.

28 years after its foundation, Siebert Hydraulik & Pneumatik now employs 40 people and is, inter alia, a certified trader for the complete portfolio of Parker Hannifin, global leader in drive and control technology, and certified partner of Boge, specialist for compressed air systems. Siebert Hydraulik & Pneumatik has more than 350,000 articles in its assortment, delivered to about 2,500 customers in Germany and other European countries.

Since 1993, the company’s head office has been located in the then newly constructed permanent establishment in Stendal in Saxony-Anhalt. New branches were established in the Saxon cities of Marienberg (1993) and Leipzig (2016). According to the company owner, the reason for the continuous growth is one main feature: “Siebert is 360° hydraulics and pneumatics.” In addition to the sale of single components, the company has also specialised in repairing hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders of all brands, maintaining systems and producing small series as well as individual custom-made products. “Moreover, we are the competence centre for quick-acting couplings and hydraulic accumulators in the whole of the east of Germany,” Felix Siebert added. In this context, he also mentions the professional training courses for the employees.

Aligning the company for the social and technological change will be the task of the junior manager. “Thanks to my father, the company is well prepared for the social change. From the very beginning, the company trains mechatronics engineers, cutting machine operators or specialists for office management and employs them afterwards,” says Felix Siebert. He feels comfortable with the relatively young staff who, for this reason, can lead the company with optimal driving force in the future. With regard to intelligent hydraulic and pneumatic systems, some things will change in the age of Industry 4.0 in terms of driving forces, according to Felix Siebert. Everyone who promises a 360° all-around service has to be a step ahead of their customer, from a developmental point of view. Therefore, Felix Siebert is facing entirely new challenges in continuing the traditional family-owned business.

Author: Kathrin Graubaum