“Jürgen Heindl has demonstrated that you can still ride a wave of success even with a commodity product like corrugated board. He’s managed to do this with the clear vision and entrepreneurial courage you need to succeed,” said Dr. Vera-Carina Elter, Chief Human Resources Officer and Managing Partner for Family-Owned Businesses at KPMG, in praising the Progroup founder’s life’s work.
Family business entrepreneur with a clear set of values
Jürgen Heindl is a passionate family business entrepreneur. Personal connections are at the heart of everything he does: “Ultimately, what Progroup sells is not first and foremost a product. What Progroup sells is reliability.” This is why right from the start Heindl’s innovative business model was very much focused on catering for his customers’ needs. Even today, all production facilities are only ever constructed on “greenfield” sites and they are always state-of-the-art. Progroup manufactures its products so that its customers can purchase even very small quantities reliably just in time. What is more, they can link up with the company online. They place their orders digitally and can then check the status of their orders at any time. In the 1990s, two decades before anyone was talking about “Industry 4.0”, this was a revolutionary approach.
Sustainable production processes and a circular economy to conserve resources and benefit generations to come
Heindl is notable for the close links he has with his customers. This is very apparent in his company's innovative packaging parks. This is where Progroup builds a facility alongside its customers. Thanks to a joint process and flow of goods, the company is not only able to guarantee reliable and flexible deliveries, but can also minimise costs and CO2 emissions.
“As a family entrepreneur, you think very much about the generations to come and everything you do is geared to ensuring that you bequeath them a world worth living in,” stresses Heindl. For example, he consistently invests in state-of-the-art technologies – not just for machines but also in general by embracing a circular economy that conserves precious resources.
Successful handover to the second generation
At the turn of 2022/2023, Heindl’s son and previous deputy Maximilian Heindl took over as CEO of Progroup. His younger son is also bringing his expertise to the industry. Jürgen Heindl emphasises: “It fills me with great pride that my two sons have inherited my passion for the business and are taking up their new roles with real enthusiasm.” The aim is still the same for the second generation: to continue to lead the family company with vision and expand it to secure its future.
Admission to the Handelsblatt Hall of Fame for Family-Owned Businesses is a fitting way to acknowledge the outstanding achievements of Jürgen Heindl during a lifetime in business. As well as praising the successful contribution to managing the company, the jury also praised the family’s significant role as the principal owner in successfully shaping the company’s strategy. Other criteria that are used include consistently securing and creating new jobs through innovation and exceptional productivity, environmentally sound business practices, and also a commitment to social and cultural causes.
In addition to Jürgen Heindl, Natalie Mekelburger (CEO, Coroplast Group) and posthumously Professor Götz W. Werner (founder of dm drugstores) were also honoured.
Progroup AG, located in Landau, Germany, is one of the leading manufacturers of containerboard and corrugated board in Europe. Since it was founded in 1991 in Offenbach/Queich, the company has been pursuing a consistent growth strategy which, in addition to technological leadership, is also based on the use of innovative and environmentally friendly production technologies. Progroup operates production sites in six countries in Central Europe. These currently include three paper factories, twelve corrugated sheetfeeder plants, a logistics company and a waste-to-energy power plant. With 1,554 employees, the company generated sales of around 1.3 billion euros in 2021.
Dana Walter, Corporate Communications
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