Der Wimpel

AHP Merkle GmbH
Nägelseestr. 39
79288 Gottenheim
Germany

phone: +49 7665 4208-0
fax: +49 7665 4208-88

...3 questions for Gerhard Merkle

1. Mister Merkle, you started developing and producing hydraulic cylinders at your home in 1973. Can you help us picture this endeavour?

the living room served as my office, this is how it all began. I was at once vendor, developer and manufacturer. Obviously, there is much work to be done in such a small start-up company. Thankfully, my wife Renate was by my side and lent a helping hand whenever possible from the very start. Without her, the company might perhaps have survived 40 days, but certainly not 40 years.

After two years, the apartment was no longer large enough for the project. We relocated the offices into a two-room apartment in Gundelfingen and hired our first employee.

In 1978, our garage was expanded to become a double garage to house the production facilities. The storage was accommodated in the basement. I travelled thousands of kilometres across the country. Every new customer had to be convinced in person. In 1981, we moved into an industrial hall with a small office in March-Hugstetten. This was our first new building.  

 

 

2. At the same time, you started with the internationalisation. These days, your company has branch offices in nearly 20 countries. Was this a key to success?

there was and is no alternative to internationalisation, because our customers have become and are still becoming increasingly international. Failing to take this step would have left us stranded.

However, know-how and quality have been and continue to be the key to success. We are developing products that do not yet exist. We build them in an absolutely reliable quality using employees who identify with our company and who are proud of their workmanship.

We are obviously also committed to set standards in the fields of support and service, not only when it comes to the rarely necessary after-sales service, but also with respect to the technical documentation in the form of catalogues in paper format and on the internet. These goals are the only reason why we continue to produce everything in Germany to this day. 

 

 

3. After three decades in March-Hugstetten, AHP Merkle purchased the completely re-designed company headquarters in Gottenheim in 2010. Was this a difficult decision for you?

yes, enormously difficult for two reasons. The year 2009 was an economically extremely challenging one for us – I will never forget shivering in my suit during the ground-breaking ceremony back then in Gottenheim, and not simply because of the frigid February temperatures.

Secondly, we are a family-operated enterprise. To me, family means that we never forget our roots. We were raised in the municipality of March. But the situation there was no longer economically feasible. Our production was spread across several buildings, even separated by a public road.

In Gottenheim, we had the opportunity of launching an optimal new start. For the first time in the company’s history, we were able to work the way we wanted rather than the way dictated by the circumstances.

 

 

3 questions for... Christen Merkle.

 

40 years in 3:30 minutes

What are the origins of AHP Merkle? Our short movie tells the story of our company – amusing, entertaining, informative.

 

» Click to start!

 

40 years in a survey

The story so far for you to read. 

 

» Click here

 

Engineer, visionary, down-to-earth business leader

The lifework of Gerhard Merkle.

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