OSNABRÜCK, GERMANY — The COVID-19 pandemic has been a transformative time, forcing the commercial baking industry to not only find creative new ways to do business but also to reassess the ways some things have always been done.

Henrik Oevermann, CEO of Diosna Dierks & Söhne GmbH, a worldwide leading manufacturer of pre-dough systems, kneading machines and granulating plants, shares what he has learned from the past year and provides an outlook for 2021.


What three words would you use to describe what 2020 has been like for your company?

Novel, challenging, and unrepeatable.

Can you explain that in more detail?

The situation wasn’t like anything we have ever seen before, and it certainly wasn’t something anyone could have predicted at the time. It was a real challenge because we needed to take a lot of carefully considered and far-reaching decisions. In the process, it wasn’t just about thinking about the wellbeing of our customers and of our company, but we also needed to consider health-related aspects that went beyond the scope of our already-existing health management plans.

By “unrepeatable” I mean that the pandemic has forced us to rethink our processes. When I was asked during an interview in March 2020 whether our ability to deliver was at risk, I was able to offer a clear “no” in response. Thanks to our excellent internal structures and our strong network, this assessment has proved to be correct. We have noticed very clearly where our strengths lie, how important our internal and external communications are for us to act and respond quickly, and what steps are required so we can remain competitive with our committed team in the future as well. This includes comprehensive risk management, which enables us to react immediately to unforeseen developments.

“Particularly in turbulent times, the value of cooperation based on partnership, with high quality standards and short distances, really comes to the fore.”


How has Diosna managed to avoid sales losses despite the major challenges of the past year?

A number of factors have contributed to this. On one hand, the situation was solid in terms of our order books, but we have also seen a shift within our customer groups. The collapse of sales in the trade and in the semi-industrial sector was almost fully offset by increased demand from industry. We have always worked closely with our partners to ensure that we can rely on a secure supply chain and this has made it possible for us to fulfill all our orders.

In addition, Germany as our local production location offers many advantages, particularly during the time of COVID-19. We have also seen confirmation that it was the right decision to rigorously adhere to our high-quality in-house manufacturing standard in everything we do. This is implemented by our motivated employees in all areas, and thanks to their independent and prudent behavior we have been able to master this critical situation. I am proud of my entire team and am grateful for their efforts and commitment.


What are the short- and medium-term HR policies at Diosna?

It is still all about safeguarding jobs, which we managed to do successfully already last year. The current order situation is so promising that I expect to see growth in the medium-term. For this reason, we are planning to strengthen our team and are looking for motivated employees for our sites in Osnabrück and Isernhagen.

How have the current travel restrictions impacted on your sales planning?

Our customers have also adapted their procedures and ordering processes to the new lockdown environment. The decentralized structures we have already built in recent years are a real help here, and they will enable us to continue to meet our obligations to our customers in 2021. Particularly in turbulent times, the value of cooperation based on partnership, with high-quality standards and short distances, really comes to the fore.

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