"To put oneself in the customer's chair"

Interview with Frank Goebbels, Managing Director of JOKARI GmbH & Co. KG

Jokari Products
More than 80 products for cable processing: JOKARI offers the right stripping tool for every challenge

'Give me the JOKARI' basically means: 'Give me a cable knife'. But not just any. The family-owned company JOKARI GmbH & Co. KG in Ascheberg with its 60 employees produces a wide range of stripping tools for the professional. Managing Director Frank Goebbels tells Wirtschaftsforum how the company has developed products from practice for practice right from the start.

Economic Forum: Mr. Goebbels, please tell us first about the history of the company.

Frank Goebbels: JOKARI was founded by master electrician Josef Krampe. He owned a small shop and realized that there were problems with stripping cables. He developed a knife for this purpose, for which he was granted a patent in 1966. Krampe was an inventor 'by heart'. He looked for distribution partners and set up a production. Today, we are in the third generation of family ownership and still specialists in cable stripping. The company was developed from practice for practical use: A tool was developed from a problem situation. That is still the case today.

Economic Forum: The energy crisis is a major challenge for many industrial companies. How about you?

Frank Goebbels, CEO of JOKARI-Krampe GmbH
Frank Goebbels, CEO of JOKARI-Krampe GmbH

Frank Goebbels: Regarding energy supply, we have been efficiently positioned for a long time and have always lived by sustainability. When the founder established the production for plastic injection molding, he used the waste heat from the water basin in the production to heat his house. Since 2004, we have been heating the entire building with heat pumps, and since 2005 all the hall roofs have been equipped with photovoltaics. Our tools are particularly durable and made of sustainable materials. The packaging is also made from 100% recycled PET.

Economic Forum: And how much does the supply chain issue affect you?

Frank Goebbels: Not much, We have many local suppliers and also built a new hall to be able to hold raw materials for almost half a year. This way, we can ensure our ability to deliver.

The JOKARI headquarters in Ascheberg, Münsterland
The JOKARI headquarters in Ascheberg, Münsterland

Economic Forum: What exactly products do you manufacture?

Frank Goebbels: We produce tools for professionals for stripping and dismantling for all types of cables and wires with an outer diameter of 0.12 mm to 70 mm. Our range includes more than 80 different tools, especially cable knives, strippers, and automatic pliers for the industry. Last year, we launched a tool for automation, the Sensor Special. This automatic wire stripper can cleanly strip many wires from areas such as sensors, motors, and networks without errors. We sell over a million tools a year. Currently, the challenging topic of solar energy occupies us.

Economic Forum: What convinces customers about JOKARI and its products?

Frank Goebbels: Our approach is still practice; we are problem solvers. Our goal is to make the work as effortless and safe as possible for the user. Our tools are fast and reliable and also 100% made in Germany. They are of sustainable quality and contain no harmful substances. From tool development to assembly, we have everything in-house. In the pre-assembly, we are supported by several workshops for disabled people.

Economic Forum: Do you also sell abroad?

Frank Goebbels: Yes, we export to over 100 countries. The DACH market is most important to us; that is likely to remain so. We are known here. First of all, we want to grow in Europe and identify the markets that come into question. Every country has different cables, for example, there are flat cables in Poland and America. The North and South American markets are important, we are looking for partners there. There are also starting points in Asia.

Economic Forum: What, in your opinion, has made JOKARI so successful for decades?

Frank Goebbels: We always try to put ourselves in the seat of our customer to find out what they need. For many years, we keep in touch with our customers and are approachable on all channels. We have people from practice who listen to the users. Communicating with the user is important to us, also in direct contact at the trade fair.

Economic Forum: What is the situation with the shortage of skilled workers in your field?

Frank Goebbels: It's not just about a shortage of skilled workers but about a shortage of personnel. In particular, it is difficult to win assembly workers. However, we are pleased that we have been able to offer jobs to refugees from Ukraine. In our employer branding, we focus on our good cooperation and the attractive working environment. For example, we enable flexible working and thus, reconciling family and work. This leads to people enjoying their work and the fluctuation is low.

Economic Forum: What further plans and goals do you have for the company?

Frank Goebbels: At the moment, we are preparing for the Light + Building and the Cologne Hardware Fair in March, where we will present new products, and we will also go to fairs this year. In the long term, we want to evolve with the electrification of society. The most important thing is to grow healthily with our team and continue to enjoy the work.