Careers at Freudenberg
Freudenberg’s mission is to provide indispensable support to make its customers successful.
Freudenberg is a diversified products company. The firm operates four reportable business segments:
- Seals and Vibration Control Technology – Business groups include Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, Freudenberg Oil & Gas Technologies, EagleBurgmann, Freudenberg Medical, and Vibracoustic.
- Nonwovens and Filtration Business Area – Business groups include Freudenberg Performance Materials, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies, and Japan Vilene Company.
- Household Products – Consists of Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions.
- Specialties/Others – Business groups include Freudenberg Chemical Specialties and Freudenberg IT.
In 1849 Carl Johann Freudenberg and Heinrich Christian Heintze took control of a tannery in Weinheim, Germany, naming the company Freudenberg. They developed a process for producing high quality patent and satin leathers, one that included 75 steps. Their products were a huge success, and they were soon exporting them to the United States, Britain, and France.
Carl’s son Hermann joined the firm in the early 1900s and began exploring a new tanning process that used chrome liquor instead of standard plant-based dyes. The method was much faster, and enabled Freudenberg to become the top tanner in Europe. However, World War I and the ensuing economic upheaval hampered its foreign business and domestic sales of its leather products.
The company responded by branching out into a new product line – sealing systems for internal combustion and other types of engines. It created a version superior to what was on the market, and it was a top seller. Freudenberg’s fortune motivated it to diversify into numerous other areas such as nonwovens and vibration control systems. In 1995 it reorganized as Freudenberg & Co.
Business model of Freudenberg
Freudenberg has a diversified market business model, with customer segments that have very different needs:
- Businesses – The company supplies manufacturers with intermediate products to be used for further processing or manufactured in final goods.
- Consumers – The company provides consumers with finished goods such as household products.
Freudenberg offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, innovation, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by providing a wide variety of options. It develops products and solutions in over 30 markets for thousands of applications; these include seals, nonwovens, medical products, specialty chemicals, filters, cleaning products, and vibration control components.
The company has embraced innovation throughout its history. Its groundbreaking efforts include:
- Tanning leather that uses chromate instead of tanbark
- The first leather seal
- The Simmerring, a radial shaft sealing ring with a leather sealing lip
- First large-scale production of Viledon artificial leather
- First market launch of nora shoe soles made of synthetic rubber
- Development of a new method for manufacturing spun-bonded nonwoven fabrics
- Development of the first vibration control hydraulic bearing
- Launch of the first automotive cabin air filters
- Development of the first components for fuel cells
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It sells its products in 60 countries and generated sales of €7.5 billion in 2015, with over 40,000 employees. Lastly, it has won a number of awards, including recognition as a “Top Employer Germany“ by the CRF Institute and as one of the ten best employers for interns in Germany by Absolventa and Clevis.
Freudenberg’s main channels are retail stores for consumers and direct sales personnel for businesses. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and participation in expos, symposiums, and conferences.
Freudenberg’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Freudenberg’s business model entails designing, developing, and manufacturing its products for customers.
Freudenberg’s key partners are the suppliers that provide it with the equipment and materials it needs to manage its operations. The company also maintains a longstanding joint venture partnership with NOK Corporation, based in Tokyo, Japan.
Freudenberg’s main resource are its human resources, who include the product experts in 60 countries it utilizes to develop cutting-edge solutions for 30 market segments and the engineers that develop and manufacture the solutions. The company also maintains important physical resources in the form of over 25 manufacturing sites in 14 countries.
Freudenberg has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation. Its biggest cost driver is likely cost of goods, a variable cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of research/development and sales/marketing, both fixed costs.
Freudenberg has one revenue stream: revenues it generates from the sales of its products to its business customers and consumers.
info: Mohsen Sohi earned graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Washington University and an MBA at University of Pennsylvania. He previously served as CEO of Freudenberg-NOK, as President of NCR Store Automation, and as President of Honeywell Electronic Materials.
info: Martin Wentzler earned a Bachelor’s degree at the Johannes Gutenberg-University and a Law degree at the Julius-Maximilians-University. He previously served as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Partners of Freudenberg & Co. and worked as a self-employed attorney.
info: Ralf Krieger earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration at University of Mannheim. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies and as SVP of Finance and Administration at Freudenberg-NOK.
info: Tilman Krauch earned a degree in Chemistry at the University of Freiburg and a doctorate at ETH Zurich. He previously served as President of Construction Chemicals and as Group Vice President, Polyamide and Intermediates at BASF.
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