Helmut Fliegl, general manager
„The motivation, to want more, is the big secret.“
1991: In Triptis an agricultural repair center was carrying out renovation work on axles and steering gear. Josef Fliegl an entrepreneur from Bavaria, who had been successfully building and selling agricultural trailers, together with his son Helmut was searching for a suitable project to get a foothold in the new federal states. By chance came across LIW Triptis, which they then took over from a trust. However the business was difficult: The ownership structures in the the agriculture areas were often unclear and there were many officials who blocked free commerce. The Triptis plant was also deeply in debt. In September Josef Fliegl needed to act – he sent his son to Thuringia. For the 22 year old and his partner Margit (19), who accompanied him, this meant leaving their Bavarian homeland, but they took on the challenge.
Helmut Fliegl arrived in Triptis to mixed reactions: “Suddenly the was this youngster from the west saying how things should be done, and ruling with a rod of iron.” In the first month 100 jobs were cut and the demands made on the workforce were increased, however Fliegl Junior set about his task.
At the beginning of the nineties the HGV trailer market was booming. Helmut Fliegl took vehicles, that the parent company in Bavaria had produced for the agricultural sector and made them roadworthy. The idea was good, but difficult to implement at the start: There was a lack of product familiarity, customers and suppliers. “We had to avoid parts that were not suitable for our individual requirements. Our very reputation depended on this”.
The breakthough came in 1992 – with the construction of the first low loader trailer that was capable of carrying pallets and containers as well as construction machinery. The competition laughed at fliegl, but it was not long before other manufacturers were making their own versions of the vehicle.
In 1993 the general demand for utility vehicles drastically diminished. The advantage: Well known suppliers made contact, and Fliegl was able to make better components, consequently the quality of its products rose.
In the mid 90s the branch suffered once again from a decline in turnover. While the big competitors fell by the wayside, Fliegl focuses on innovation, making its first platform semi-trailer and container chassis. Internally Helmut Fliegl has to fight against further resentments. “There was an East-West conflict. Some just saw me as a foreigner and tried to prevent everything new. Even a change of location was not out of the question. This consideration finally broke the blockade attitude: The staff took the initiative and made sure that the blockers left the company.”
With the steadfastness and adhesion of a family company the vehicle manufacturer continues on its way, optimizing its products and establishing itself at the top of its branch.
After 20 years Helmut Fliegl can reflect positively: “The quality of our vehicles has reached a very high standard and East-West is no longer as issue. My children are from the East, having grown up here and I have become more and more like a Thuringian local. I have never regretted the decision to move to this area”.