Schuhmacher joined the FPN marketplace in 2018. Since joining started delivering some items to Poland and Lithuania.
“We did not trade there before as I did not know any companies in this region. Now I have some new customers and we communicate via the platform about some urgent part requirements.“
Lars Benk and Stefan Schuhmacher trade in hydraulic components and have seen Schuhmacher Technologies & Hydraulics thrive in the ever-competitive fluid power market.
Starting a new business is always a challenge. In these days of novel and unusual business ideas, a start-up offering trade in traditional
industrial goods caused some surprise. We ask two German businessmen how they succeeded in overcoming the obstacles in their way.
Lars Benk and Stefan Schuhmacher, founders of Schuhmacher Technologies & Hydraulics were asking themselves many questions about
whether starting a business in the hydraulic market was the right path for them. Many people close to them were questioning why
they would consider starting up a hydraulic company when the hydraulic market was already so competitive; it was a difficult test.
Their answer was optimistically: “Because we see huge potential in speed, flexibility, reliability, responsiveness and commitment in supply and customer service.”
Starting Schuhmacher was certainly not easy. At a time when young, dynamic start-ups were popping up with innovative products
like exotic mushrooms, it was difficult for Lars and Stefan to find a bank that offered financial support to a ‘traditional’
start-up business. However, after several months, from the founding of the company to the first customer invoice, Schuhmacher found
their feet, being one of the few distributors in the region to offer hydraulic components from a variety of manufacturers.
“Our key to success has been connecting with a dozen producers and twice as many dealers, a large selection of products and prices, and very short delivery times,” commented Lars Benk.
Before founding the company with Stefan, Lars Benk worked as sales manager for a large hydraulic manufacturer:
“I’ve always been a fan of large manufacturers and I like the work in hydraulics, it’s a lot of fun. I came up with the idea to become one of these dealers ourselves.”
Stefan Schuhmacher always thought about going into business with Lars. They understood their respective strengths and weaknesses:
“We know that we complement each other. When Lars came up with this idea, it was clear we had to try it.”
Stefan is responsible for finance, accounting and controlling and Lars Benk takes care of everything else. This division of responsibility derives from Stefan’s experience with his first company, which he inherited from his father:
“Whilst we’re a small company, we’re also flexible and can access the infrastructure of a medium-sized company. We have a service contract with Schuhmacher Präzisionsdrehteile GmbH, whose management I took over from my father in 1995 and where Lars Benk worked until 2013 as a Sales Manager; that’s how we met. The two companies are separate, but the name and logo are based on each other.”
Lars has always believed that having similarities of name and logo between Schuhmacher Technologies & Hydraulics and Schuhmacher
Präzisionsdrehteile GmbH has advantages and disadvantages:
“In the age of digitalisation and start-ups, it is difficult to open doors with a traditional trading company. But since both companies are legally and financially independent, we had to look for a financing partner. We are glad that regional banking companies supported us in the start-up phase.”
The business is now thriving, with both sales and earnings developing well and on schedule. The first few months operating as a business saw positive revenues:
“When a customer breaks a machine, they need the affected spare part as quickly as possible because they cannot afford shutdowns,” commented Stefan.
“Schuhmacher customers are wide ranging, from small carpentry businesses to large corporations. Among them are also many engineering companies from the Stuttgart area. The current discussions about digitalisation is proving beneficial. It helps us to further accelerate our processes. Our goal is to respond to enquiries and orders within a few hours. Furthermore, we will expand the company and our services in the fields of oil maintenance and monitoring.”