International Relationships:
Back in the “mother ship”

A decisive step in Brügge­mann’s success story is its accel­er­ated inter­na­tion­al­iz­a­tion. Michael O’Shaugh­nessy and Michael Cheng, leaders oft he subsi­di­aries in the USA and in Hong Kong, visit Heil­bronn once a year and have big plans for the future with them.

Strategies from Over­seas

“Let’s go, we do not have much time.” No, there will be no relaxing week for Michael Cheng and Michael O’Shaugh­nessy. One appoint­ment follows closely on the heels of the one before. One conver­sa­tion after another. The Managing Director of Bügge­man­nChem­ical Asia, Ltd. and the Pres­ident of Brügge­mann Chem­ical U.S., Inc. are rare, albeit welcome guests in Heil­bronn, in the mother ship, as they them­selves say with a wink. Despite a tight schedule, the mood is upbeat between the two branch exec­ut­ives from Hong Kong and North America. The first name, glasses and the slightly thin­ning hair were hiring criteria at that time, jokes Michael from the USA. Once a year, the Brügge­mann company universe comes together in this constel­la­tion. The two subsi­di­aries must account for their respective finan­cial year. Not least, newly developed strategies are submitted for inter­na­tional review. Neither considers himself “merely” to be an exten­sion of sales. “I dedicate myself more and more to busi­ness devel­op­ment and explore with the product managers in Heil­bronn which new products might fit into the Asian market. I watch the market and initiate devel­op­ments,” says Michael Cheng.

Poten­tial for Further Growth

In July 2006, he set up the Hong Kong branch, starting small, creating customer profiles, analyzing the market and making stra­tegic decisions on which Brügge­mann can reli­ably build today. Michael O’Shaugh­nessy has been with the company for over two years. He took over the office at Newtown Square in 2016 from Ed McDade, who founded the US subsi­diary in 1990 – in a garage, it is said. “Brügge­mann is one of the most inter­na­tional and cultur­ally open chem­ical companies I have worked for”, O’Shaugh­nessy says, by which he means: “The company is very progressive and open to new approaches and new people. All of this is primarily about creating value in order to advance things no matter which loca­tion someone is working at. When it comes to these issues, we’re all pulling together.” Swabia, the USA and Hong Kong go well together in one direc­tion, agrees Michael Cheng: “Busi­ness is busi­ness as long as it is thoughtful and reas­on­able. What is good for Heil­bronn is also good for us in Hong Kong.” And of course also vice versa.  Important stimuli for busi­ness devel­op­ment always come from over­seas – including in the field of research and product devel­op­ment. If there is any time left between the turbu­lence, Michael O’Shaugh­nessy uses it for one of his infamous “Friday After­noon Exper­i­ments” at the company’s research lab. One of his papers in emul­sion poly­mer­iz­a­tion that grew out of this, “Redox for the Main Poly­mer­iz­a­tion of Emul­sion Poly­mers,” was recently awarded the Pflaumer Honors Award at the Eastern Coat­ings Show in 2017. “That makes us very proud,” says Michael O’Shaugh­nessy. At other times, then, the restraint prevails again. Neither likes to talk about numbers. They know they make a signi­ficant contri­bu­tion

to the output of indus­trial chem­icals and plastic addit­ives, with each accounting for about 15 percent of total sales and the trend is rising. The niche that BrOne conver­sa­tion after the  Büünce a yearUSA und in Hongkong haben große Pläne für die Zukun­ft­gge­mann serves is also very much in demand inter­na­tion­ally. “Our customers in the USA do not neces­sarily buy a German product, but one that offers added value for their manu­fac­turing process,” says Michael O’Shaugh­nessy. Today, Brügge­mann supplies customers in more than 50 coun­tries and records an export quota of over 65 percent. With its inter­na­tional branches, the company is moving a good deal closer to its customers. Espe­cially the Asia-Pacific region which holds further growth poten­tial. “Vietnam and Indonesia are very inter­esting markets for us,” says Michael Cheng.

There is a knock, the smart­phone is whirring, the next appoint­ment is calling.  Michael and Michael make their way back through the Swabian “mother ship”. Here there is a smile, there, a pat on the back. Home is where the headquarter is.

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