Down to the Detail: An Almost Real Toy World

Interview with Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Paul Heinz Bruder, Managing Partner of BRUDER Spielwaren GmbH & Co. KG

Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Paul Heinz Bruder, Managing Partner of BRUDER Spielwaren GmbH & Co. KG
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Paul Heinz Bruder, Managing Partner of BRUDER Spielwaren GmbH & Co. KG

Almost as real as the real world: The toys of BRUDER Spielwaren GmbH & Co. KG are so detailed that not only children are thrilled by them, but also parents and collectors. And the selection is constantly growing, as every year the family-owned company from Fürth/Bavaria surprises with new exciting models.

The company was founded almost 100 years ago: in 1926, Paul Bruder established the company as a one-man operation. Under his son, Heinz Bruder, it was renamed in 1978 and has since carried its current name. Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Paul Heinz Bruder, who now leads the company in the 3rd generation as Managing Partner, reports, 'Until the 1970s, the company manufactured plastic voices and toys for the toy industry, but also for the food industry. Then the own brand ‘BRUDER’ was launched. Since then, we have regularly introduced new developments in our six theme worlds.'

Production is based at the headquarters in Fürth and in Pilsen. 650 employees work at both sites, with 500 alone in Fürth. A subsidiary, led by the sister of Paul Heinz Bruder, is located in the USA. BRUDER generates 70% of its business through exports; in total, the company distributes its products worldwide in 60 countries. 'Each country has different focuses, which is why it is important to have a wide range of products,' emphasizes Paul Heinz Bruder. The company's annual turnover is around 100 million EUR.

BRUDER Toys Fire Department Operation
Vehicles and horse in action

Toys for Children and Collectors

The name BRUDER stands for toys 'just like the real thing': The products are made true to the original in the scale of 1:16. The themes range from commercial vehicles, agricultural and construction machinery to police and fire brigade vehicles, as well as products from the leisure sector like boats, motorcycles, and bicycles. Horses are also included in the assortment – and of course, a wide selection of figures.

"Our catalog includes around 250 models. Every year about ten new products are added. Most are manufactured as licensed products," Paul Heinz Bruder explains. "Our model toys are aimed at children aged two to eight years. Currently, they are primarily boys, but that is changing," says the managing director.

But not only children enjoy the detailed models, collectors do too. The main sales channel is in specialty toy stores. However, BRUDER products can now also be found in areas where toys are rather unusual, such as in garden centers or in building materials trade. In addition, BRUDER operates its own online store. "But it's actually more intended for the sale of spare parts," the managing director explains.

Durable and robust

This leads to another special feature of the toys from BRUDER: The products are not only very robust, but can also be repaired - the spare parts market includes 800 sets. The already high-quality toy made in EU is thus even more durable. Because of its robustness, it can be used both indoors and outdoors. Paul Heinz Bruder reports that not only children, but also their parents are thrilled by the detailed products. "The children can play out reality with them and thereby learn," he explains. On YouTube, there are many videos explaining the functionality of the different models.

Long-term employees

Due to their repairability and durability, the products from BRUDER are particularly sustainable. "We strive to source our raw materials from the region as far as possible, in order to avoid long delivery routes," admits Paul Heinz Bruder. Through the optimization of processes, even more sustainability is to be achieved in this area - among other things, by saving on electricity consumption and recycling production waste.

Bruder Toys Police Check
Real-life situations can be replicated with the detailed models

The company owner also keeps an eye on the social situation and the further development of the employees. He says, "Many of them have been with us for many years. Just this year, 16 employees are celebrating their 25-year company anniversary. This shows that they like working with us - especially since there is a lot of competition for skilled workers in plastic technology in our environment." Currently, 22 trainees are learning in the company.

Digital, sustainable, future-oriented

For the future, the further development of the product series is on the agenda. "Right now, it's about doing our homework to stay viable for the future. Our focus here is on digitalization and sustainability in the area of production," says the managing director. For the further good development of his and other German companies, he hopes for a reduction in bureaucracy and more uniformity within Europe from politicians. "Everyone should have the same starting conditions here," he finds.