GKD: Entry of the next generation into the company

by David Fleschen

With Lara Kufferath (30), the first representative of the fourth generation of the owner-managed family business GKD - Gebr. Kufferath AG (GKD) joined the company on March 1, 2019. The world market leader for technical fabrics made of metal and plastic as well as spiral braid was founded in 1925 in Düren in the Rhineland. Today, GKD is active worldwide with six plants, branches and agencies wherever the relevant markets are. Against the background of the increasing internationalization of the GKD Group, Lara Kufferath is responsible not only for a thorough training, but also for tasks in corporate development and thus for the group-wide management of strategic projects.

In 2013, she completed her master's degree in business administration at the EBS University of Economics and Law in Oestrich-Winkel with the M.Sc. in management. During her studies she gained international experience in semesters abroad at Copenhagen Business School and Columbia University in New York. She now brings several years of professional experience in the fields of corporate development, process and production optimization, supply chain management, organizational design and digital transformation. She acquired her position in manufacturing companies as well as through her work for a well-known Swiss consulting firm. At the same time, she completed a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training that qualifies her to head up cross-departmental lean management projects on her own responsibility. In addition, Lara Kufferath characterizes high intercultural competencies, multilingualism - she speaks five languages ​​- as well as a distinctive entrepreneurial mindset.

She now uses this profound knowledge and experience spectrum to continue the success and performance of her family's long-established family business. After familiarizing herself with the four business areas - industrial fabrics, process belts, architectural fabrics and transparent media facades - she will take on tasks and projects for corporate development at GKD and will help shape and drive these as well as the group strategy. The goal of this newly created functional area is, as a first step, an increased standardization and harmonization across all locations. For example, Lara Kufferath will be jointly responsible for promoting the digital transformation of business processes and the increased cooperation of the group on an international level. The design of a secure group-wide transfer of know-how as well as the rollout of IT and communication systems in the GKD Group are among her main tasks in the first year.

Lara Kufferath is the older of two daughters of the commercial board Stephan Kufferath. During his studies and with increasing practical experience, the desire to enter the family business evolved more and more. "I love the combination of tradition and innovation that has enabled us to reinvent ourselves over the almost 100 years since it was founded, without losing our roots." GKD is a prototypical example of portfolio diversification Diversity, in which we are positioned internationally for a wide variety of application markets, offers a lot of room for maneuver for the future ", she explains this decision. The acting board consists of Dr. Ing. Stephan Kufferath and his brother, engineer Ingo Kufferath, together. With the entry of Lara Kufferath into the company, there is growing confidence that the company's leadership will continue to be filled with family members in the future. Accordingly, her father and uncle are optimistic about the future: "Based on her well-founded experience, Lara has the best prerequisites to secure the future viability of our company, its products and processes and to further expand it internationally."

Source and Photo: GKD Group

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