OPTIMAL AG & Co. KG is showcasing its products and services, which now include 25 catalogs and a comprehensive range of wear parts, at this year’s Automechanika in Frankfurt. The company, comprising the OPTIMAL power brand and Bendix premium brand, can look back on a very successful 25 years of business. Our interview with Markus Neudek reveals how OPTIMAL AG & Co. KG is well prepared for the future too. 

1) Mr. Neudek, how will OPTIMAL AG & Co. KG present its services at Automechanika 2016 in Frankfurt? What are you planning to focus on?

Our presentation at Automechanika 2016 will center on our celebrations of 25 years of OPTIMAL. Today, we can safely say that we have turned our original vision into a very successful company. This is why in 2016 we are inviting our clients and business partners to celebrate this special anniversary with us at the trade fair.

We will, of course, also shine the spotlight on our No. 1 lines of wheel bearings, steering and suspension parts, and shock absorber kits. In addition to our OPTIMAL power brand and Bendix premium brand, these products will therefore play a key part in our presentation at Automechanika.

What’s more, our partners now have access to seven new Bendix catalogs and 18 new OPTIMAL catalogs. These 25 catalogs – a fitting number given our anniversary – are a testament to the extent to which our range of replacement vehicle parts has grown over the past 25 years. It goes without saying that all the items are available to order online as well.  

Another highlight to be presented at Automechanika will be our brand-new portfolio of wear parts for electric vehicles. In fact, OPTIMAL is one of the first companies to offer a full range of wear parts for this up-and-coming group of vehicles.

2) At the start of the interview, you mentioned a vision for your company. What stands out to you the most when you look back over OPTIMAL’s first 25 years in business?

There are so many things I could mention. But one of the most striking is that when I began to sell wheel bearing kits all those years ago, I had no idea that our two-man team would one day become a global company, which – together with its ten branches – serves clients all around the world. I always feel immense gratitude and pride that, together with our team, we’ve been able to achieve such a unique level of success. 

3) Since being founded, OPTIMAL AG & Co. KG has developed enormously and is now a global player. At what point did the company’s growth turn it into an international company? 

Quite early on, actually! After the company in Garching near Munich enjoyed what I considered to be its first great success, it soon became clear that the next stage in our development would have to be to make our distribution network as global as possible. For us, it was imperative that the company did not stand still, but rather continued to grow and develop. This sentiment still rings true today. With our increasingly large team of excellent employees and partners, we set up branch offices in Poland, Benelux, Spain, the USA, England, and France. Additional branches later followed in South America, Turkey, and Asia.

4) To how many countries does OPTIMAL now export and what are your plans for the future?

We currently supply around 100 countries worldwide, a number that is continuously growing. What’s more, we now also work with Honeywell, a world-renowned partner with which we have a license to distribute products under the Bendix premium brand. This collaboration has recently opened up many new markets for us and expanded our product portfolio. We also have many hopes for the future for OPTIMAL Asia in Hong Kong, which we opened in 2015.

Our latest news comes from Spain, where, given our tremendous success, we are planning to shortly move into a new building with a much larger warehouse area. This will put us in a strong position to continue supporting our Iberian branch’s strong rate of growth.

5) In 2008, OPTIMAL AG & Co. KG moved into its new large and modern company headquarters in the centrally located Munich Airport Logistics Park in Langenbach. 
From here, you coordinate the company’s global activities. How has your company’s headquarters changed since 2008? 

In one word: enormously!
Since we moved locations, the high-tech logistics of our fully automated warehouse have enabled us to fully respond to our clients’ individual requirements. We have continuously expanded and extended our production and warehouse capacities since opening our new headquarters in the immediate vicinity of Munich Airport. We now operate around the clock in Langenbach, providing an outstanding level of service.

This guarantees very fast delivery times to our clients. What’s more, we have employed additional quality assurance specialists and have established our own test lab. Finally, at the end of last year, we extended our north wing to include numerous offices equipped with modern facilities as well as our international training academy, which is fitted with the latest communication technology.  

6) How much capacity does the central warehouse in Langenbach have now?

Our building and warehouse currently cover an area of around 15,000 square meters. This means we have enough space to store more than 12,000 pallets and 100,000 containers in our warehouse.

7) Mr. Neudek, what do you hope to achieve over the next few years? What are your aims for the future?

Let me answer that question from both a professional and personal perspective. In terms of the business, I, of course, hope that OPTIMAL continues to grow. Due to the uncertain global events and market conditions, the company has been facing some very challenging times for a while now. This situation has, however, opened up completely new horizons for the future and has forced us to think and act flexibly and quickly. I believe these qualities are the essential building blocks for long-term commercial success. OPTIMAL AG & Co. KG will achieve its aim of continuing to be a secure employer that thrives thanks to the hard work put in by its staff. From a personal point of view, I hope I’m still alive and well to see OPTIMAL celebrate its 50th anniversary. Although I’ll definitely be in retirement by then, I’ll hopefully be among one of many people associated with the company who made its success possible in the first place both personally and professionally.

Thank you very much for talking to us!

[Pictures: OPTIMAL AG & Co. KG]