Berghof has been dealing with testing technologies for around 40 years. Thomas Brueggemeier has approximately 30 years of experience in this field – since 2015, he has been part of Berghof Testing's sales team and in April 2020, he has become their Sales Manager. In an interview, the native of East Westphalia explains why this topic fascinates him again and again after this long time, where he gets the best ideas and why he thinks of China above all when it comes to internationalization.
1. You have been dealing with testing technologies throughout your entire professional life. Was that your plan beforehand?
Like so many things in life, actually it was rather a happy coincidence. During my studies in mechanical engineering, I dreamt of a career in engine development at one of the major automobile manufacturers. But then, for private reasons, it was rather difficult for me to leave home. In addition, in East Westphalia no large automobile manufacturer is located, but a specialist for testing technology, which is mainly active for the automotive industry. That is how I ended up in this field of activity – and I am still grateful for this coincidence.
2. Why is it, that you are so grateful?
Of course, engines in the automotive sector have evolved enormously over the past 30 years. In my view, however, this is no comparison with the development in the field of test systems and test modules. Honestly: Back then, as a university graduate, I could never have imagined the complex issues we face today at Berghof Testing in many projects. That is why this topic fascinates me time and again even after this long time.
3. From your point of view, what is the reason why testing technology has changed so extremely?
This is clearly due to the enormous change that the vehicles have undergone in recent decades. Starting with servo motors to make it child's play to operate the brake and steering wheel, comfort features such as electric windows, mirror adjusters or sliding roofs, up to modern cameras, actuators and sensors that enable ever more sophisticated driver assistance systems such as lane-keeping and blind spot assistants or distance warning devices – if you compare a vehicle from the 1990’s with an actual model, technologically there are worlds inbetween. And all these comfort and assistance systems must of course be thoroughly tested by our customers before they are delivered to the respective vehicle manufacturer. In addition, there are the test tasks that are to be performed directly in vehicle production at the end of the production line, abbreviated in technical terms with EOL (end-of-line) – such as testing and calibrating the seat occupancy mat with our “Force Application Machine” (FAM). And all this with the growing demand for fast and efficient solutions – keyword: unmanned systems. To cut a long story short: I actually can't think of many areas that have expanded in complexity to the same extent as the area of testing technology for the automotive sector.
4. Extensive complexity – that sounds like you need new ideas all the time as Berghof Testing sales manager. Where do you come up with the best ideas?
Sometimes, of course, in the office or directly in conversation with our customers. But often also on a mountain bike or when hiking with my wife. I can really let my thoughts wander – and then all of a sudden I come up with the longed-for ideas and solutions for issues about which I have sometimes racked my brain for days or weeks.
5. Speaking of wandering thoughts: As already said, you have been working in the field of testing technology for about 30 years and know the market very well. Why did you consciously choose Berghof Testing a few years ago, what makes this team so special from your point of view?
Berghof Testing is practically a prime example of what is known all over the world as "German Engineering": here, experienced and first-class experts work as a dedicated team on the best individual solution – and understand it as a sport to always positively surprise our customers anew. That is why Berghof Testing has built up a first-class reputation, especially in the automotive industry.So when I had the chance to become part of this team a few years ago, I didn't hesitate for long.
6. As a sales manager, you are above all measured by one indicator: sales growth. Where do you see the greatest growth potential for Berghof Testing?
Even though the Corona pandemic has turned global economic life upside down – like many experts, I am firmly convinced that China will regain its place as the emerging power in the automotive sector in the medium to long term, as it did before the Corona crisis. Of course, we have already adjusted to this and are very well represented in the market by our Chinese partner Rayyi-Tech. Their team is well trained on our products, so that we can now, in times of worldwide travel restrictions, optimally support our projects in China – and of course in all other countries – thanks to remote services.