Farewell Franz-Walter Aumund: The AUMUND Group was his life’s work
9. February 2023
Rheinberg, Germany: Franz-W. Aumund, Proprietor, Chairman of the Advisory Board and long-time Chair of the AUMUND Management Board, passed away on 4th February 2023 after a short but serious illness, at the age of 78. With the passing of Franz-W. Aumund the AUMUND Group has lost the most influential personality of its 100-year history. It is thanks to his more than 50 years of lasting and untiring commitment to the company, that AUMUND products and services today enjoy a reputation for innovation, excellent quality and reliability all over the world.
Franz-W. Aumund’s strategic acumen, his ability to anticipate the requirements of customers and his professional expertise were valued by everyone with whom he came into contact.
Franz-W. Aumund had a natural gift for sales, was strategically forward-thinking, had a good sense of proportion, and extraordinary personal commitment. With these qualities and supported by a team of competent and highly motivated employees he managed over a period of around 55 years to develop the Group into a globally operating medium-sized enterprise, and to establish AUMUND as a world-leading brand for high-performance storage and conveying technology for bulk materials. With around 28,500 references in 150 countries, the AUMUND Group, today comprising approximately 500 employees from more than 30 nationalities, is one of the top global players and technology leaders.
On board since 1966
After training in banking and studying finance in England and Switzerland, Franz-W. Aumund joined the company which his grandfather Prof. Heinrich Aumund had founded in 1922, and was being run by his father Günter-Claus Aumund by the 1960s.
The immediate objective of Franz-W. Aumund, from when he first took over leadership of sales in 1968, was the international marketing of AUMUND equipment. He recognised that the greatest potential for the company to grow was in international business. Under his auspices in 1975 the AUMUND subsidiaries in Brazil and Canada were established. USA followed in 1980, France in 1991, India in 1996, and Hong Kong in 2005. An AUMUND Representative Office for technology, purchasing and production had been opened in 1994 in Beijing, and this was followed in 2006 by the establishment of the AUMUND China subsidiary. In Russia and Dubai AUMUND has been represented by its own offices since 2008 and 2010 respectively. In 2022 its office in Indonesia was established. As a result of the dynamic development of international business, the umbrella company AUMUND Holding B.V. was founded in the Netherlands in 2001 to consolidate all international sales activities, Group controlling and central marketing.
How great a vision it was of Franz-W. Aumund to position the AUMUND Group internationally, and not to be dependent on one market or one industry, is shown most clearly in times of economic difficulty. “The international locations guarantee optimum proximity to customers and enable the development of durable mutual trust over the years, a trust which will not be clouded by a crisis such as most recently the coronavirus pandemic, which was handled with the required care and attention,” wrote Franz-W. Aumund in 2022 in the commemorative publication “100 Years of AUMUND – Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.”
Mergers & Acquisitions purposefully implemented
Acquisitions are an important source of richness of ideas and strength of innovation for the AUMUND Group. With the acquisitions of Maschinenfabrik LOUISE GmbH in 1991 and WTW Engineering Maschinen- und Förderanlagen GmbH in 2006, AUMUND expanded its product range and its product know-how in Rotary Discharge Machines and Drag Chain Conveyors.
The purchase of the spare parts business for Silo Discharge Systems of Besta & Meyer GmbH in 2014 fitted with this portfolio, and the acquisition of the spare parts business of KoWey GmbH in 2021 was appropriate in connection with Bucket Elevators. Franz-W. Aumund assured that the customer base of each company was looked after, consolidated the service expertise and used it to enhance the in-house service offering. Relevant know-how was incorporated into the development of existing AUMUND products, and the range was extended by additional machines.
Diversification was the strategy of Franz-W. Aumund in the acquisition of Gustav Schade Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Dortmund, today SCHADE Lagertechnik GmbH, and of British company B&W Mechanical Handling Ltd, today SAMSON Materials Handling Ltd, in 2001 and 2002 respectively. Both companies serve market segments adjacent to those of AUMUND. SAMSON markets and manufactures mobile Material Feeders, Shiploaders and Eco Hoppers, which are predominantly used in ports and terminals and also in other industrial applications. SCHADE designs and supplies machines such as Stackers and Reclaimers for bulk materials stockyards and blending beds, which are particularly in demand for handling bulk materials in various key industries. The Rail Wagon Tipplers, which were originally patented and sold by AUMUND, were integrated into the SCHADE portfolio at the beginning of the 2010s and brought to market with international success.
With the acquisition of Th. Tilemann GmbH Gelenkketten- und Räderfabrik, Essen, Germany, in 2016, the AUMUND Group gained an experienced manufacturer of high-quality chains and associated components. In the integration process the company was re-named TILEMANN GmbH, and equipped with the latest production and assembly technology for the fabrication of AUMUND Bucket Elevator Chains, and also conveying chains to supply to manufacturers of stockyard and blending bed equipment and scraper conveyors, including SCHADE.
The succession plan is in place
With foresight, Franz-W. Aumund had already put in place his succession plan to ensure business continuity. In the middle of 2022 he handed over his operational management activities for AUMUND Fördertechnik GmbH, Rheinberg, Germany to Dr Pietro de Michieli, Reiner Furthmann and Uwe Altena. “I am convinced that the Group, and with it the name AUMUND, independently of my person, will continue to be successful with the current management team and that there is even more potential for international growth,” said Franz-W. Aumund on the occasion of the 100-year company celebration.
As well as being a cosmopolitan strategist and visionary, Franz-W. Aumund also prioritised contact to his deserving employees and retirees. He invited employees celebrating their work anniversaries to an annual celebration, and also held a Christmas party for retirees in Rheinberg, attending the last one on 8th December 2022.
Commitment to social issues and educational support
The name Franz-W. Aumund is associated not only with innovative objectives and timely recognition of global economic movements, but also with openness to all people and cultures, the arts and international philanthropic commitment. Franz-W. Aumund has made the philosophy by which his grandfather and father had already lived, of passing on personal and business know-how to young people, into his own obligation and guiding principle.
The Franz-W. Aumund-Stiftung was created in 2006 and supports projects in the areas of science and research as well as training and education. Its motto is “Training and education of young people is the most valuable investment in the future.” Initially the focus was on awarding study scholarships. Since the strategic realignment of the Foundation in 2014 social education projects are the focal point, and from 2020 the geographic emphasis has been on Germany.
AUMUND Fördertechnik has put the focus of its social activities on the promotion of students and the award of scholarships. Every year there is an increase in the number of students who complete a technical degree with support from AUMUND. In addition, the AUMUND Group companies offer scholarship students the opportunity to spend time overseas. As part of the social commitment of the AUMUND Group the international companies also support local projects themselves.
The year 2019 was marked by the establishment of the second of
Franz-W. Aumund’s private philanthropic entities, the Aumund Foundation, which is a strategic expansion and deals in particular with supporting humanitarian and medical projects overseas.
100 years after the founding of the company, a circle was closed in April 2022 with the establishment of the Prof. Heinrich Aumund Endowed Chair at HTW Berlin (Berlin University of Applied Sciences) with which Franz-W. Aumund erected an ideological monument to his grandfather.
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AUMUND. SCHADE. SAMSON.