31 March 2022
The first 100 days at FABRI
On 21 December 2021, the FABRI Group acquired Heger Energietechnik GmbH from Großostheim near Aschaffenburg as a new partner. We caught up with Andreas Heger after his first 100 days with FABRI to find out about his experiences.
Christina Happich: Mr Heger, allow me to please take you back for a moment. Selling your life’s work is not a decision to be taken lightly. What made you opt for the FABRI Group?
Andreas Heger: The decision to join the FABRI Group was very much down to the concept. The companies continue to operate as independent units, retain their names yet also benefit from a valuable transfer of knowledge. It was also very important to me that this step would signal the start of a long-term relationship. Other interested parties made it very clear to me in our meetings that they would soon resell their purchased businesses at a profit. This was out of the question for me. I wanted my employees to have a degree of continuity – that the working life they had grown used to in the past years and decades would simply carry on. After all, I am still part of the company management and can only work with a team that is committed to the business and its strategic direction.
CH: You informed your staff about the change relatively quickly. How did they receive the news? Did you face a lot of questions?
AH: It was of utmost importance to me that my employees find out about the decision from me personally. Naturally, the first reaction was silence, and I did see a degree of scepticism on everyone’s faces. However, since I’m already over 50, my staff could certainly understand my decision. Ultimately, this move does offer my employees the certainty and security that the company will continue to exist even after I eventually retire – which will be at some point in the next 10 years. All questions were answered there and then, and all employees are still very much on board.
CH: You have now spent 100 days as part of the FABRI Group. Are you still happy with the decision you made in December? How has your daily routine changed since joining FABRI?
AH: To date, my day-to-day working life has remained the same. Personally, I am very happy that I made this decision rather than dragging it out for years. And the feedback I have received from some self-employed colleagues, who admire and applaud my decision, has confirmed to me that I made the right choice.
CH: The solar industry is experiencing something of a boom: Energy self-sufficiency with renewable resources was already popular in 2021, and demand has grown considerably as a result of the energy crisis. How are you coping with the growing interest and increased demand for solar energy?
AH: Initial signs of an upturn in our sector were already visible back in 2019. Due to the massive increase in energy costs and the ongoing Ukraine crisis, we have been inundated with enquiries. We are trying to grow with these developments by expanding our capacities in project planning and assembly. Yet “quality over quantity” remains the clear focus of our business – sometimes we have no choice but to turn down work.
CH: Let us look to the future now. What do the next 100 days look like, or the next 12 months even? What challenges do you expect to face?
AH: Supply bottlenecks are a big issue at the moment. We already took steps in 2021 by pre-ordering the materials we would need for 2022. This has at least allowed us to complete our projects relatively successfully. However, I expect this problem to persist until at least mid-2023. Good supplier relationships are essential in this regard.
CH: What about the skills shortage in general? What are you doing to find good employees/trainees and attract them to your industry?
AH: Finding good people in the open market is difficult. Many are reluctant to switch to the solar sector, as this area has become rather complex over the years. Since 1994, we have been training young people as electricians, for example, by visiting schools and offering internships. In some cases, we will even approach candidates directly if we consider them well suited to the profession. Young people in particular attribute great importance to a company’s digital presence.
CH: What motivates you personally to get up every day and “get to work”?
AH: The love for my job and the team that I get to work with every day. The appreciation and positive feedback from our customers or colleagues also inspire me in my daily work. Making an active contribution to the energy revolution for so many years is something that I am very proud of, and this also spurs me on.
CH: Mr Heger, many thanks for this interesting retrospective and outlook. We are glad to have you as part of the FABRI Group.