When Appearances Hold True: Quality Under Scrutiny

Interview with Gabi Kigle-Böckler, Vice President of BYK-Gardner GmbH

BYK-Gardner Exhibition Stand
At trade fairs like the European Coatings Show 2023, BYK-Gardner presents innovative quality and process control solutions to attendees from around the world for applications where color, appearance, and physical properties are important product criteria

For BYK-Gardner GmbH in Geretsried, innovation and international growth remain paramount. Just a year ago, the German company integrated a new technology into its product portfolio, as confirmed by Vice President Gabi Kigle-Böckler. BYK-Gardner develops globally recognized quality and process control solutions for applications where color, appearance, and physical properties are important product criteria, such as for the automotive industry.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mrs. Kigle-Böckler, BYK-Gardner GmbH is headquartered in Geretsried and has several locations abroad. Now, another company has been added in the USA.

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: The company we have acquired fits seamlessly into our existing product portfolio. It involves an innovative technology that is already being used in our current markets. Moreover, it opens up the opportunity for us to enter new markets, especially the promising semiconductor market.

Wirtschaftsforum: What is the company's structural setup?

Gabi Kigle-Böckler, Vice President of BYK-Gardner GmbH
Gabi Kigle-Böckler, Vice President of BYK-Gardner GmbH

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: In addition to several locations in the American market, we have an expanding site in China, a key market in transition with new electric vehicle manufacturers. Globally, we have 350 employees, of which 225 are based in Germany. The current annual revenue is 100 million EUR, and we are experiencing a sustainable growth of 3 to 5% per year. BYK-Gardner is a member of the global Altana Holding.

Wirtschaftsforum: What forecasts do you have for the future of the company?

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: The prospects for the future are positive. However, the requirements are changing faster than in the past. Our flexibility as a smaller company within a strong holding is an advantage in this regard.

Wirtschaftsforum: How long have you been with the company?

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: Ever since I finished my studies in 1987. Initially, I was responsible for technical support for our products in the USA for ten years, later for support, product management, and marketing. As Vice President for Product Management and Marketing in the automotive sector, my priorities lie in ensuring a high rate of innovation and high technical performance of our measuring devices.

BYK Ultrasonic PELT
The BYK Ultrasonic PELT represents an innovation in ultrasonic layer thickness measurement
BYK-Gardner Gloss Meters
The micro-gloss family of gloss meters has an excellent reputation, as they have proven themselves very well

Wirtschaftsforum: What products are particularly important today?

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: We are distinguished by high-quality products and a consistent orientation towards innovation. Our quality and process control solutions play a crucial role when it comes to products where color, appearance, and physical properties are important criteria. In general, we are developing more and more software, thus moving into the field of digitalization to analyze data and develop automated solutions. Our latest products enable interference-free multilayer measurements using ultrasound.

Wirtschaftsforum: Which target groups are particularly important for BYK-Gardner, and what are the reasons for the company's success?

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: Our main focus is on paint manufacturers and processors in the automotive sector, both OEM and repair. But many other industries such as furniture, electrical appliances, and construction machinery manufacturers are also among our target groups. Our success is based on the focus and collaboration with our customers, continuous innovation, and increasingly on digitalization. We grow together with our markets and customers. In the marketing area, we rely on CRM and our website, but also on trade fair appearances and to a certain extent on social media.

Wirtschaftsforum: How would you describe the corporate culture?

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: The low turnover reflects that employees enjoy their work. The diversity of tasks and attractive conditions, also through membership in Altana Holding, promote employee loyalty.

Wirtschaftsforum: What is your vision for the coming years?

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: Our vision is continuous, healthy growth and a strong positioning in our existing markets. We want to face the rapid changes and successfully hold our own against the growing competition in the global market.

Wirtschaftsforum: What drives you personally?

Gabi Kigle-Böckler: My personal drive is my close connection to the company. I want to pass this connection on to the employees and shape the future actively with them. The employees should benefit from my long experience and passion for the company.