70 years "Made in Germany"

SAB Bröckskes GmbH & Co. KG from Viersen-Süchteln celebrates its 70th anniversary. How could the family business survive and even expand its production site in Germany against the general existing trend?

The success story starts with a one man business on 4th June 1947. Peter Bröckskes senior provides the base for the company first named “Elektro-Signal und Apparatebau Peter Bröckskes” which has developed in meantime to be a real “global player “. Nevertheless, at that time the main product was not the wide cable range for which the specialist for special cables is worldwide known today but a burglar alarm system for the protection of private houses as well as industrial sites.

By chance and due to the keen sense of Peter Bröckskes for market gaps, he first changed his production towards temperature measurement equipment in 1952. Afterwards, he produces the necessary cables himself due to a bottleneck of the cable suppliers. In the following years the field of cable manufacturing develops to the main business of the company - the birth of today´s wide product range.

Turnover and the number of employees increase considerably in the sixties and seventies. Peter Bröckskes senior buys the first company site at the Grefrather Straße in Viersen, today´s main location of the company and erects new production as well as administration facilities. In order to sell the products on the market, the distribution network is enlarged and the presence on international trade fairs are enforced.

In the 80ths SAB Bröckskes already delivers to 45 countries worldwide. The company is looking forward to a trend-setting decade. Peter Bröckskes junior takes over the commercial management of the company in 1980. In 1984 his father is decorated with the Federal cross of Merit for his excellent entrepreneurial efforts. In the same year SAB starts to train its junior employees and thus lays the base for the long-lasting success of the company. But this decade has a tragic end : 1989 the family and the staff of SAB Bröckskes get the sad news of Peter Bröckskes senior´s sudden death. Peter Bröckskes junior, still under shock, has to take over the responsibility for the meanwhile 250 staff members. It seems to be a good start for the new management, but appearances are deceptive. As the competitors increase their cheap production abroad, the prices for products “Made in Germany“ can´t be kept any longer.

The 90ths are still young when a crisis for SAB Bröckskes arises. How is it possible to make the company survive confronted with such a huge international competition. But Peter Bröckskes junior uses this crisis as a chance and recognizes that it is time to start a paradigm change. Until that time 95 % of all products were standard products that were produced and distributed in large quantities. From that time SAB starts to concentrate on the production of special cables: We can do all those things our big competitors are not able to do . “, comments Peter Bröckskes this change of strategy at that time. A courageous decision that proves to be the right one.

It is the new strategy of the company to sell its products directly to industrial customers instead of distributing it to retailers and thus put forward the strengths of the medium sized family business: flexibility, technical competence and easy decision processes. These are the best preconditions to reply to the inquiries of the customers individually. SAB recovers quickly and gains an important position as the specialist of problem solving among other cable manufacturers.

When this change of strategy starts to take effect, the company recovers. Considerable investments are made. Within short several new buildings are erected on the production site. In 1995 an insolvent cable manufacturer is taken over and the own cable production is enlarged by cable asseblies.

In the years 2000 awards, jubilees, approvals and further international expansion follow quickly. According to the slogan “ Faster than you think” SAB Bröckskes expands more and more. In contrast to the industrial trend the company hires new staff members and employs in the meantime approx. 400 people.

How is it possible? This question often comes up in interviews when SAB Bröckskes declares as an important global player that they only produce in Germany and even enlarge its production capacity. With the typical virtues of a family business and multiple new investments in the modernisation of its production, SAB Bröckskes presents itself healthy to the core and highly flexible to solve their customers´ wiring problems after 70 years of experience. Also the cooperation with its staff members seems to be the recipe of success. Besides the occupational health system and the working atmosphere that are considered to be of great importance, SAB Bröckskes has always tried to optimize the production processes with the help of internal suggestions for improvement and thus participate the employees in the working organization.

After 70 years of experience it is now time for the third generation. Sabine Bröckskes-Wetten takes over the management from her father Peter Bröckskes , the owner of the company for many years. He retires with an Oktoberfest on the premises in Viersen-Süchteln. Even it seems to be not quite clear if he will retire completely. One think, however, is for sure. The SAB –story will go on.

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