On October 5, Dr. Hubert P. Büchs celebrated his 70th birthday. For this occasion, the Managing Partner of the JOPP group was ready to discuss the balancing act between family business and global player, company history and current developments.
Question: Dr. Büchs, life is more than just success in the job. But JOPP is a huge part of yours. Would you call it your life's work?
Dr. Hubert P. Büchs: No. I'm not a fan of such words. I would say that I spent most of my professional life at JOPP, about 28 years. I also think that I had the greatest success here. But wheter that is a life's work, others should judge.
JOPP has evolved from a small local company to a global player, that's most impressive. Did you expect this success in the beginning?
Dr. Büchs: Once I should become a farmer. My father did not want me to do anything else. But I was fascinated by technical things and have developed my knowledge ever further. No, I did not expect what would happen then.
JOPP is still a family business. This is not common today. Are you proud of it?
Dr. Büchs: Yes, I'm proud. But it's more important, that a company survives. JOPP is a legal entity. And many people are associated with a legal person. If such a company is integrated into a large corporation, it is often no longer recognizable. You also have complicated decision-making processes. So in my view, having a family business with a person who calls the shots is an advantage.
You are this person.
Dr. Büchs: Still now, yes. But I've already given shares to my children. I will continue this, but it's not so easy because of the company and tax law.
You're from Leutershausen near Bad Neustadt. Are you glad that you can give something back to your home with your company?
Dr. Büchs: I was born here and our headquarters are here. So I think we have the responsibility to stay here. And that's what I want. But you also have to go out into the world, because the business requires that.
So JOPP is a global player today.
Dr. Büchs: Exactly. And I'm not as fit as my son Martin to run such a business. He is more global than me because of his education and career. We want to work worldwide, but we are also happy to be a company from Rhön-Grabfeld.
"I'm firmly convinced that we will find a solution."
The current economic situation is also difficult at JOPP. What gives you hope, that it will get better soon?
Dr. Büchs: I think we have three problems. There are technological changes from the combustion engine to other types as the electrical vehicle. We also have egomaniacs in the world. They don't care about exisiting market flows. And we have a recession that was overdue because we had a long-term boom. But I'm firmly convinced that we will find a solution because we are not waiting for recovery without ideas. We do something for it. But it takes time.
One of your favorite topics is e-mobility. You're president of the organization for the model city electro-mobility Bad Neustadt. Your son Martin talked about the topic "Can the electrical vehicle save the climate?" a few weeks ago. What do you think? Can it save the climate?
Dr. Büchs: As little as the conventional car alone destroys the climate, the e-vehicle alone can save it. Of course the scientists are right in saying that the climate change is in the main man-made. Other people say that we had an ice ago 20.000 years before and the ice has been melting since that time. That will continue. We have to make sure that the CO2 content does not get too high. But e-mobility is only a small part, we have to do a little more.
In this year you are not alone with your anniversary. You are 70 years old, JOPP celebrated its 100th birthday. Do you tink the company is ready for the next century?
Dr. Büchs: I think that we are technologically and globally well positioned. 30 years ago, JOPP was only a producer of machined parts. Today we have much more solutions. So we can compensate something. We have several playgrounds that will be needed in the future. Of course we are not the only company with this offer. But we trust in our capacity and innovations.
You said with a smile that you want to be there for JOPP until you're 100 years old. Seriously, are you not looking forward to retirement at some point?
Dr. Büchs: It already startet. From 14 or 16 hours I'm already back to five or six hours daily. This will continue. But I don't want to be completely inactive.