Family business by conviction

After 400 years under collective ownership, Achenbach became a 100% family owned and operated business when the Achen¬bach brothers acquired Eisenhammer in 1846. The company is now in the 7th and 8th generation of family ownership.

Achenbach has the structure of small- to medium -sized business and the long-term management history of a large corporation, a combination it uses to its advantage.

As a medium-sized family-owned business, it enjoys greater value stability, staff loyalty and flexibility of action. It's not just a standard-setter – it also cultivates value.

Value stability

Reliable values include dependability and punctuality, willingness to serve both internal and external customers, giving the company a human face, a passion for technical perfection, a willingness to learn, intrapreneurship instead of bureaucracy, team spirit instead of hierarchy and credibility in making promises. At Achenbach, values such as these are prized, nurtured and supported. They help build trust and ensure customer retention and recovery as well as employee retention.

Employee loyalty

With diverse range of duties and decision-making authority that requires and encourages employees to take on responsibility combined with a comfortable work environment, our staff members see the company as their “own”; many of them are even third- or fourth-generation Achenbach employees.

Flexibility of doing

Thanks to the small business culture of the company, operational decisions can be made quickly and unbureaucratically, allowing Achenbach to respond quickly to daily needs as they arise. High effectiveness and efficiency not only benefit customers, they also make working together fun.

Remaining strategically flexible means being willing to adapt to changing conditions over the longer term. The key is not only to generate new knowledge, but to reorganize existing material and non-material resources and to reconsider or reinterpret the company's core values from time to time. An open dialog between employees with many years of experience and younger staff with fresh ideas supports the important strategic learning process. After all, we can't preserve what's important to us without a willingness to change. The average age of the Achenbach employee is less than 40 – evidence of a good balance between experience and optimism.

The concept of family business

Definition problem

The terms family business and small and medium enterprise (SME) are part of the lexicon of the private sector.

  • Small and medium enterprises are defined according to certain quantitative limits. For practical reasons, companies are classified into certain size categories mostly based on the number of employees or their sales revenue.
  • Family businesses, however, are characterized as such by their ownership and governance structures and not necessarily their size. In practice, however, these are mainly small and medium-sized businesses.

Family businesses in the narrower sense are characterized by being family-owned and operated. The owners of the company, i.e., those who own all or most of the shares or have control over the company, manage the company themselves or with outside help (per the definition of the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM)).

Family businesses in the broader sense include those companies whose ownership and management are divided but where control lies with a limited number of natural persons or families.

Economic importance

As a study by the IfM confirms, family businesses are quite common in Germany.

  • About 95% of German-based companies (3 million) operate as family businesses (in the narrower sense).
  • About 95% of German-based companies (3 million) operate as family businesses (in the narrower sense).
  • 57% of all jobs are with family businesses.