Networking, love, marriage
D+H brings people together
Story by Henner Dingfelder, founder of D+H Mechatronic AG
I still remember it as though it were yesterday. People worked hard in every corner. And it was loud. Sawdust flying everywhere. Hammers whacking over there. At another workbench, screwdrivers and soldering irons were being used
to achieve the utmost precision. At work we were constantly tripping all over each other. Where to put the next delivery of window drives? We didn't exactly have a lot of space in our garage in the Rahlstedt area of Hamburg. At this point in time, having our own department for research and development was still a long way off. That had to be optimized. At least, Klaus Hadler and I had met the excellent engineer Helmut Kern while camping. He developed our products with his Passion for technology. Due to the lack of space Helmut always worked from home in his small cellar. But we would have liked to work together more closely. A solution was needed – we wanted to get Helmut's small "development department" to D+H.
Helmut Kern's first laboratory
And as fate would have it, a space eventually opened up in the garage's annex. An employee of ours who lived in the building's converted attic was planning to move out. We seized the opportunity: This was the ideal place for Helmut's very own laboratory. He set everything up to his liking while keeping it practical at the same time. In that sense, he didn't use the kitchen to prepare lunch – he used it mainly to heat acids for the purpose of etching circuit boards. It also didn't take long for him to utilise the transition from a slanted window to a roof. Just a few days after he moved in, wind and rain detectors had been installed on the roof. The wiring for everything was nice and neat. Helmut's signature style was instantly recognisable. On his ample workbench and desk, he tested D+H innovations and analysed the results.
One day I visited him there and Helmut was hard at work, deeply immersed in his own little world of measuring instruments. Rain was pouring down outside and the wind was lashing rain drops against the window. I was impressed with how cosy he was despite the lousy Hamburg weather.
You've set all this up brilliantly. But when I watch you and imagine having to do all that myself, I would go insane,
I told him. The two of us laughed and thought: "How great that we are so different, but yet complement each other so well!" While Helmut promoted product development, Klaus Hadler and I carried the D+H innovations out into the world. Visiting customers and maintaining new Systems during the day, driving 100-200 Kilometers back home, doing the most important things in the offi ce, writing bills and offers, ordering material and planning the next day.
The development of the international D+H partner network
While Helmut promoted product development, Klaus Hadler and I carried the D+H innovations out into the world. Visiting customers and maintaining new Systems during the day, driving 100-200 kilometers back home, doing the most important things in the office, writing bills and offers, ordering material and planning the next day. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it: We quickly made a name for ourselves in the industry across the borders of Hamburg and Germany.
To meet the great demand, we needed partners. So, we started building up our sales network. Lübeck, Bremen, Hanover and Berlin were the first locations – later international countries like Switzerland, Austria, Poland, etc. followed as well. In order to serve the growing markets, we not only needed sales support, but also a stronger digital presence – including an appropriate domain name for our website. The question was: What should it be called?
"www.D+H.de" was unfortunately out of the question, due to the special symbol. At the time, our sons Dirk, Christoph, Thomas and Julian had become involved with the company too. We held meetings together and worked out countless suggestions. In the end, we agreed upon "www.dh-partner. com." Why? Simply because our Partners are an integral part of D+H and we consider cooperative collaboration to be extremely important in all areas.
Of course, at the time I was not anticipating that our employees today would end up taking the domain name so literally. Many couples – including married couples – met each other at D+H. I'm not certain of the exact number, but this proves to me that the work done at D+H connects people and promotes partnerships. Both privately and professionally. Just as much today as back then, about 50 years ago in Helmut's laboratory.