Opening Doors and Gates to Progress

Interview with Moritz Baumgart, Production Manager, Annika Baumgart, Marketing and Organization, and Claus Baumgart, Senior Manager of geba Handels- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH

geba Handels- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft View into the Production
View into the production in the electronics area

Self-opening and closing doors and gates are not a luxury but essential in many areas - as shown not only by the coronavirus situation, which suddenly made the contactless operation of doors a topic everywhere. geba Handels- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, based in Eitorf, provides the necessary technology for this. Their systems for controlling automatically operated doors and gates are developed and manufactured individually for each customer.

The times are not easy, but the Baumgart family business is generally satisfied. "Overall, our development is positive," says Production Manager Moritz Baumgart, who, together with his sister Annika, responsible for marketing and organization, and brother Philipp, responsible for sales, leads the company in the 3rd generation. Father and senior boss Claus Baumgart continues to stand by the young people with advice and action. Currently, Moritz Baumgart says, the war in Ukraine is severely damping demand.

"The stagnation in the construction industry has led to restrictions in our production. Since, thanks to our large warehouse and our clever purchasing in both mechanics and electronics, we have always been able to deliver, we are still growing," he reports. Even during the chip crisis, delivery difficulties were completely avoided.

Helping People with Products

The market share of 70% in the European market could be further increased in recent years, since geba could gain market shares from competitors. Even during the Corona pandemic, business was good, Annika Baumgart makes clear. She talks about the recipe for success: "We have cleverly found our place. With our products, such as those with gesture control, we were able to help people."

geba Trading and Development Company Product Overview
From miniature traffic light modules to gesture control, key switches, and signal lamps: geba provides the technology for automatically operated doors and gates

In addition, the quieter situation provided the opportunity to pay more attention to internal organization. Thus, during this time, the conditions for the reintroduction of ISO 9001 certification were created, among other things.

Innovations for doors and gates

About 100 employees work at geba. Currently, however, the company is struggling with a shortage of skilled workers in the development sector. The business is almost exclusively in the B2B sector. geba acts here as a supplier for manufacturers of automatic doors and gates. Another small division is the do-it-yourself market. The Baumgarts take pride in having convinced the largest competitor in the French market and the world's largest tubular motor manufacturer to switch completely to geba.

According to Moritz Baumgart, there are product innovations in lighting, in the area of gesture control, and in touchless switching. In addition, investment has been made in the development of security electronics. The new innovations are to be presented at R+T in Stuttgart in February 2024.

geba Trading and Development Company Mechanical Production Work
Mechanical production work
geba Trading and Development Company Potting Machine in Production
Potting Machine in Production

Sustainable in Customer Relations and on the Roof

Sustainability is a "huge topic" in the market, according to Moritz Baumgart. geba itself also pursues many sustainable approaches. Thus, obtaining an environmental management system certification according to ISO 14001 is a declared goal of the company. Moritz Baumgart continues: "We have already largely converted our vehicle fleet to electric, the factory roofs are equipped with photovoltaic panels, and we no longer use plastic materials for packaging in production. In the warehouse, we use reusable plastic boxes. Overall, we try to keep pollutant emissions as low as possible."

In addition, the company focuses on regionalism as much as possible. Senior manager Claus Baumgart explains: "Six years ago, we already brought production back from China. We take a multi-track approach, with components coming partly from factories in China, India, or Slovakia." Availability is always ensured: "Depending on the type, we have chips in stock for three to four years," says Claus Baumgart. The company increasingly relies on teamwork, reports Annika Baumgart, which is also in the spirit of sustainability. Sustainable are also the customer relationships: "We have many long-term customers who have been relying on our products for decades," she says.

The headquarters of geba in Eitorf in the Rhein-Sieg district in North Rhine-Westphalia
The headquarters of geba in Eitorf in the Rhein-Sieg district in North Rhine-Westphalia

Expansion of Electronics Manufacturing Planned

geba is a family business; this is reflected in the company philosophy, as Annika Baumgart makes clear, adding: "We have a great dynamic. We see great potential in the young people who are just coming from university. We offer dual studies and internships."

Customer orientation will also be a major focus in the future, with individual customer requests being taken into account. In addition, geba will continue to rely on the patents that distinguish the company. Currently, plans are underway to expand the production area. Claus Baumgart explains: "We want to expand our electronics manufacturing and install an Automatic Optical Inspection system - AOI for short - that detects errors in production. In addition, we will acquire a semi-automatic placement machine."

Moritz Baumgart reports on a cooperation with Amazon that has intensified in the past 12 to 24 months. Even though it only accounts for 2 to 3% of the sales, the company is pleased with the positive development. Moritz Baumgart explains in this context what makes geba particularly stand out: "For customers like Amazon, we manufacture very specific products that nobody else can supply. Due to our high production depth, we are extremely flexible in this respect."