Theo Rauch is an engineer with heart and soul: The more complex and tricky the task, the more appealing the project is to him. It is no wonder that he has successfully completed projects at Berghof Testing – the specialist for intelligent testing technologies – throughout his entire career. With its special history and culture, Berghof is “a dream company” for every thoroughbred engineer. After many successful years as a project manager, the electrical engineer has been the driving force behind the Berghof Testing division since mid-2018 as division manager.
1. The Berghof Testing team is characterized by continuity. Apart from a brief interruption, you yourself have been with it for around 30 years. In your opinion, how important is the human factor for Berghof’s success?
From my point of view, it is one of the most important factors. When a project team is optimally compiled, this very special, positive dynamic is created, which is the perfect breeding ground for extraordinary results. At Berghof, we have always had this urge to make products and solutions different – and therefore better – throughout the entire Berghof Group. This makes us very strong when it comes to engineering and it is the reason why we are always far ahead of our time with our developments. And that is exactly what our customers appreciate so much about our work: We don’t just sell them off-the-shelf products. We work together to develop optimal solutions that give them important advantages. And that is why not only our employees, but also our customers are very loyal to us.
2. Speaking of developing: The automotive sector is currently undergoing a tremendous amount of change, not only due to the growing importance of e-mobility. What does this mean for Berghof Testing?
That we enjoy our work even more, because today our tasks are more complex and tricky than ever before. All kidding aside: We observe that the requirements of our customers are increasing more and more, especially with regard to the parameters of “testing depth” and “degree of automation”. For example, we don’t just have to keep up with the times when it comes to the latest technologies – for example, measurement and analysis methods or software. More than ever, we have to try to understand the processes of our customers in a holistic way. This is the only way we can ensure that our test systems and test modules also optimally meet these requirements, some of which are completely new and becoming ever more complex. However, we see this change less as a threat and more as an opportunity, because Berghof has always been known for the fact that we are not afraid of difficult tasks and like to forge new paths. This now benefits us in times when the entire automotive industry is reinventing itself to a certain extent.
3. Keyword, new paths: The individuality and variety in the automotive sector is constantly increasing. What influence does this trend have on the work of Berghof Testing?
In general, this naturally increases the demands on the flexibility of the test equipment, also because the complexity of the test specimens is increasing more and more. The expectation today is still an absolutely reliable quality control, which is, however, also absolutely independent of boundary conditions such as the human daily form – and can also be adapted quickly and easily to changing test specimens. This sometimes requires radically different approaches – such as the one we recently took on a successful project – and of course, as already mentioned, the right team.
4. With all the change, in your opinion, are there also important aspects that outlast every technological leap?
Yes, absolutely. In our field, trust has always played a key role – certainly also because, as an important strategic partner of the major automobile manufacturers, we are initiated in the strictly secret future plans at a very early stage. Personal trust in the skills and reliability of the project team is of course extremely important. But in addition to this interpersonal component, the issue of trust, in my view, also involves a very fundamental aspect: Our test systems and modules ultimately decide whether a component or subassembly is acceptable in terms of quality and safety and whether finds its way directly to the end customer. We are very aware of this serious responsibility – and it is the reason why we work with the greatest possible precision and care in everything we do, and why we put even the most promising new technologies through their paces before using them. Because as Otto von Bismarck said: Trust is a delicate plant. If it’s destroyed, it won’t come back anytime soon.
5. You started at Berghof right after completing your studies. Why should today’s young graduates take the same step?
Of course a lot has changed in the last 30 years, even at Berghof. But one thing has remained the same: Berghof is a dream company, especially for graduates. We were already working in agile teams before this term existed. With us, every voice carries weight and we consciously give our junior staff the freedom to contribute their own ideas. Because we know from experience: it is precisely the mixture of experienced staff and the “young guns” that makes a project a success. And because this has always been the case, even the “old hands” don’t question it – after all, many of them, like me, also started out as “young guns” at Berghof.
6. Solving complex and tricky tasks constantly is fun, but it also takes a lot of energy. What do you draw new strength from?
I love to ride my bike, both in everyday life and in my free time. For me, this even movement in nature has an almost meditative, calming effect. A few years ago, my wife and I have also discovered a common passion – dancing. We were less attracted by the classical couple dances, but more by the modern social dances. The thrill of it: here, everyone on the dance floor has to adjust to the other person again and again. That means you always have to be on the ball. For me, there’s nothing better for turning it all off.