July 04, 2018
the interview | Mirko Filip, Managing Director, Filip GmbH
Starting in the role in June 2017, Mirko has said that alongside the company’s family motto “To always deliver the best of the best” he also strongly supports the mantra “Marketing is good – but real testing under real conditions in the mill is better!”
How does it feel being the fourth generation of your family to run this company with your sister?
Managing our fourth-generation family business is a great honour and equally an exciting challenge for me and for my sister Tatjana, with whom I run the company together.
Since its founding in 1919, FILIP has specialised in the development, production and distribution of cleaning equipment for the milling industry. So, we are not a newcomer, but a proven specialist in the area of sieve cleaning - and that for almost 100 years. That is a very motivating incentive.
Is being a family business and located in Germany important to you and the businesses identity?
Yes, indeed it is. As I have already noted elsewhere: with the attribute “Made in Germany”, many of our customers associate safety, reliability, tradition and the highest quality.
These are precisely the values that the traditional brand FILIP stands for. Our customers have always been able to rely on our products and our service.
Would you say that you’ve been training for this your whole life, did you train in the industry much before taking on the position of Managing Director?
Prior to managing the business with my sister, I was responsible for marketing, business development and product development in various external companies, leading large teams. The experience that I was able to gather there helps me enormously today to conduct business in a sustainable and growth-oriented manner.
So, my previous experience was - if you will - a perfect preparation for my current role as Managing Director in our family business.
What do you hope to see in terms of progression for the company over the coming year?
International and sustainable growth. We have extremely sophisticated products that have proven themselves in the mills worldwide and over many years. Among other things, it is about developing new territories and establishing our products in the markets where we are currently underrepresented. That’s exactly what we’re working on very hard at the moment. We currently supply many potential new customers with samples and have them tested in daily mill operation.
Marketing is good – but real testing under real conditions in the mill is better! Thus, the miller himself can get an idea of our products and be convinced of our very high quality. The feedback we receive is enormous, so we are sure we are on a very good path here.
In this connection: You are proud of your products commitment to being safe and complying with regulations – why should this be something other companies in the industry should strive to achieve?
In the mill, FILIP products come into direct contact with the product to be sifted – thus with foodstuffs. For this reason, we pay great attention to ensuring the raw materials we use are food-safe. With our products we fulfill the corresponding FDA requirements and EU regulations.
As the end user usually attaches great importance to food safety and reliability as well, this point should be considered at every stage of the production process. And as our customers also attach great importance to safety, this product feature is extremely important to them.
You have said that the company’s motto is “To always deliver the best of the best.” How do you continue to fulfil this promise?
That’s right: that was the motto of our great-grandfather back in 1919 when he founded the company, and it’s exactly this philosophy that keeps us managing the business. Before our products leave our warehouse, they go through a series of strict quality controls.
We attach great importance to the perfect processing of our products, because we know that a high yield in the mills can only take place if an excellent sieve cleaning prevails. Inferior cleaners often lead to sticky sieves and reduce the product yield in the mills.
In addition, poor-quality cleaners often need to be replaced, resulting in unnecessary time and expense. However, Filip cleaners have a long service life and excellent sieve cleaning due to their shape, weight, material composition and processing - including the hard to reach corners of the sieve frame.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing the industry in the next five years and what will you and Filip be doing to aid these challenges?
Not only in Germany, we note a strong consolidation within the mill industry: small mills are disappearing more and more from the market and replaced by large, often internationally active mill groups. We assume that this development will continue. Here it is important to be excellently networked and win the purchase of the mill groups with strong arguments for our products.
You’ve recently installed a new warehouse; do you have any other big projects your working on for the year?
Correct. We have recently built a new warehouse and are now located on a 2,000 square metre plot in Gütersloh, Germany. After the big project “new building and relocation” the topics marketing, distribution and product development are now on our roadmap: we are currently refreshing our logo, our claim, our website and all sales documents.
We are also currently acquiring new sales representatives around the world to significantly expand our geographic catchment area. The Internet is a great help to us. Here too, we are expanding our visibility and investing heavily in online marketing. In essence, 2018 will be about international brand building, which will be the basis for new growth.
Regarding product development: we are in close contact with our customers and regularly receive feedback. In the course of this, we also inquire about the wishes of our customers and ask about new requirements for our products. In this context, we will go very soon with exciting news in the market. Give us a little more time.
What would you consider your favourite product and why?
Our Double-Cleaner with tongue for the generation plansifter sieves without back wire. This type of machine has become established worldwide and more and more mills process their products in this way. Our corresponding cleaner is one of our bestsellers and receives worldwide highest recognition.