Jürgen Köster joins the management board

Paul Köster GmbH successfully continues the generational change

Medebach. Paul Köster GmbH is consistently and successfully continuing the planned generational change at management level: After Christopher Köster in September 2022, another member of the third generation, Jürgen Köster, joined the management of the special mechanical engineering company from Medebach on October 1, 2023. The 31-year-old precision machinist and technical business economist is responsible for the production division together with his uncle Ernst Köster.
"We are delighted that we have now successfully taken the second step in the Managing Director succession with the arrival of Jürgen. With his specialist knowledge, he will not only continue to develop and take responsibility for the Production division in a future-proof manner, but as Managing Director he will also make a significant contribution to working with us and our employees and managers to courageously drive forward future-oriented structural developments in a rapidly changing economy," says Friedrich Köster, who completes the management team.

In the interview, Jürgen Köster explains the challenges of his area of responsibility and the need for a clear mission statement for the company.

Management of Paul Köster GmbH
Management of Paul Köster GmbH
Working together for the future of Paul Köster GmbH: (from left) Christopher Köster, Ernst Köster, Jürgen Köster and Friedrich Köster

Mr. Köster, you have been the new Managing Director for almost 7 months and have already held a position of responsibility at the company since 2017. Time for an initial assessment. What has changed for you?
There is fierce competition in our industry with a lot of time pressure and even more dynamism in the development of ultra-modern special machines. As a manager, you have to deal with this and it is precisely this challenge that appeals to me. The new and greater responsibility that comes with it is not a burden. On the contrary, it inspires and motivates me. It is a great incentive for me to play my part in continuing to lead the company successfully and to develop it in line with the requirements of the future. Up to now, my responsibility has been explicitly in the area of fixture construction as head of the department. Now I am looking forward to taking on overall responsibility for the company, which is in an excellent position, together with Christopher, Friedrich and Ernst Köster. This naturally involves a little more office work and regular management meetings. We are in close consultation on decision-making processes and know what is coming up, what we want and what the next steps will be. I will continue to be close to my colleagues in production. That is and remains a great advantage.

Paul Köster GmbH has been successful for decades. What exactly will the new management tackle in terms of structural changes?
Paul Köster GmbH is very well positioned. We are currently well on the way to successfully shaping the generational change in management, which we expect to complete in 2027. We are aware that the world, its people and the economy are developing rapidly. We also want to and must take this transformation into account. That is why it is important for us to develop a new mission statement together with our managers. We know our goal and the strategy behind it and are continuously working with our colleagues to set the right course to achieve this goal in the best possible way. It is always primarily about the customer and the respective project with optimal implementation across departments. If we continue to succeed in this, as we have done over the past decades, then the company, its employees and their families will prosper and we will continue to have satisfied customers in the future.

Speaking of the workforce, the area of personnel management is also developing rapidly. Key points are flexible working hours, work-life balance, etc. How are you dealing with this?
The mission statement and the minor structural changes in the specialist areas and departments also take this point into account. It is important to take all employees along on the journey and involve them. Personnel management has indeed changed dramatically. The days when specialists were employed by a company for decades are increasingly over. People want more flexibility in their daily work, they often have a precise life plan and pay more attention to their work-life balance. Integrating all of this requires lively communication. Our colleagues should be consciously involved in decision-making processes, help develop their day-to-day work and, in the best-case scenario, feel the resulting positive effects in their departments. We want to awaken a pioneering spirit in everyone and combine this with the reliability of a secure job. In short: together, we are facing up to the future requirements of a modern company in our industry.

Your area of expertise and responsibility within the company is fixture construction in particular. What are your goals in this area?
The focus in fixture construction is naturally on leak testing. When it comes to the further development of new testing procedures, it really always comes down to the classic question: tight or not tight? Behind this question, however, are state-of-the-art testing procedures in times of constantly changing components and customer requirements. The best example of this is the automotive industry's switch to electromobility and the associated innovations in components. What used to be the classic oil tray, clutch housing or cylinder head is now the battery or stator housing. And this requires innovative and efficient solutions in quality assurance. Our engineers are challenged to use their know-how to achieve technical advances in existing testing procedures in an era of constantly changing parameters. And this is also a kind of innovation, because every special machine has its own potential for innovation.

So it's not always about new processes, but about creative solutions, even with established processes?
That's right. And we are happy to take on this challenge. The bottom line is that we are required to offer intelligent leak testing concepts and automated turnkey solutions, which then have to be adapted and applied to individual customer requirements and projects. As mentioned, this is not about inventing completely new testing procedures, but about the continuous further development of existing solutions in the interests of our customers and the possibility of using our solutions in conjunction with our other two focal points of assembly technology and automation. We will not cease to constantly optimize our portfolio. In addition to the aforementioned further development of processes in the field of leak testing, we also want to constantly expand our competitive advantage in the other two key areas with individual, reliable and future-oriented concepts and demonstrate the pioneering spirit that we inspire in our employees on a daily basis.