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COVER STORY: Creating Value with Innovation and Partnership. Interview with Dr. Björn Lindemann General Manager, Haver Technologies (Tianjin)
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Creating Value with Innovation and Partnership
Interview with Dr. Björn Lindemann
General Manager
Haver Technologies (Tianjin)
By Mary Liu

DSC 0049创新创造价值
Björn Lindemann博士


这一盛会对于Björn Lindemann博士来说具有十分重要的纪念意义,Lindemann博士于2012年至2015年期间在天津担任德国商会天津办事处主任,并自2016年起推举华北地区董事会成员。他亲自见证了德国商会在天津的卓越发展。Lindemann博士自2015年9月起加入哈沃科技(天津)有限公司,担任总经理一职,全面负责HAVER在华业务的运营与发展。

Business Tianjin有幸采访到了Lindemann博士,就其管理理念与管理方法以及对中德未来合作的展望展开了生动而有趣的交流。其中,Lindemann博士关于运用正念提高员工舒适度的理论引发了我们极大的兴趣。

The German Chamber of Commerce in Tianjin will celebrate its 10 Years Anniversary with a Spring Reception on Friday, February 22nd, 2019, the first and major high-level gathering of the year.

This event is also quite memorable for Dr. Björn Lindemann, who has personally witnessed the Tianjin Office’s remarkable development as the former Tianjin Office Head and presently sits as a Board Member of the German Chamber of Commerce North China. Dr. Lindemann eventually joined Haver Technologies Tianjin to manage the company in September, 2015.

Business Tianjin was honored to hear from Dr. Lindemann on his company’s strong rapid growth, the thriving German-China collaboration and his strong interest in corporate mindfulness programs as an approach to improve employee well-being and performance.

DSC 0036What have attracted you so much from China to be around for long time?

I started coming to China as an exchange student in Hong Kong in 2005. At that time, I wanted to experience a new culture and learn a new language. After Hong Kong, I went to mainland China for several projects and spent 3 years in Taiwan researching on my PhD thesis. I call Tianjin my “home” for the past 6.5 years.

Until now, I am still drawn to the dynamism and diversity of China. What I particularly like is the optimism that the Chinese show every day, as they work hard to create a better future for themselves and their country. China has given me a lot of opportunities for development as well and I am really thankful for that.

Can you describe HTT and what your company is doing?

Haver Technologies Tianjin (HTT) is the market leader for high-quality packing and filling solutions for customers in the cement, building materials, mining, chemicals, minerals and food industry. We are a subsidiary of the family-owned and managed company Haver&Boecker, with over 130 years of experience with regard to the storing, mixing, packing and dispatching of bulk material.

Haver&Boecker stands for highly efficient, dust-free, green and maintenance-friendly packing solutions. In Tianjin, we are aiming to combine the strength of Germany and China – the German engineering, quality standards and attention to detail with the Chinese market know-how, flexibility and optimism. Our experience is one of our biggest advantages: we offer knowledge about the full range of packing machines, bags and products and how they work together. Through our know-how and the testing procedure in our local R&D Centers, we can offer the perfectly customized machine to every customer.
DSC 0028 LargeWith Haver Technologies being the leader of fully-automated and ‘green’ packaging systems, in what way can your company contribute in meeting China’s 2020 environmental protection targets?

I can see the Chinese market rapidly changing. Rising labor costs, environmental concerns and technological development result in advancements towards more efficient and automated solutions. Our company help China meets its 2020 environmental protection targets by establishing the “Packing Plant of Tomorrow”, whereby we offer fully-automated, intelligent, clean and profitable packing solutions to our customers.

Our current “Blue Planet” campaign leverages on two technologies: SEAL and ADAMS. The SEAL technology guarantees closed bags and a dust-free packing process, which is more profitable as you don’t lose any of the product during packing and transportation. With the ADAMS technology we pack products into plastic bags that are sealed and waterproof, which accounts for cleaner packing and longer storage time.

China is more than just a market for us and we are geared to contribute to both economic development and sustainability.

You have indeed grown the company by 30-35% each year from 2016. What three important factors were very crucial in this achievement?

I think the most important factor is having the technology that is needed and demanded in the Chinese market and appreciated by the government.

Secondly, we look for long-term partnerships and provide premium service to all our customers and partners. As a proof, we got the market leaders and major players in the industry as our key customers - and many Chinese customers look at the market leaders and follow them.

Thirdly is the leadership that is demonstrated by our employees when they take proactive roles to address our customers’ and colleagues’ needs. You can only be successful with a strong team of leaders.

How big is your existing production/servicing capacity? How much more do you foresee it to expand in the next 5 years?

We are foreseeing a strong demand. In fact, we estimate a 50% increase in local production this year and we have already increased the number of employees by another 20%, with an extension of our workshop space in the works. We anticipate the upgrade of hundreds of lines to meet the needs of the cement industry, while other industries are also looking very optimistic in the coming years.
BT 201902 Cover 04How do you describe Haver Technologies Tianjin (HTT)’s brand of innovation? How is the change culture being embraced with your employees/workforce?

Haver&Boecker has always been a leading innovator in our industry. We pioneered the first rotating packing machines in the 1960s, as well as the SEAL & ADAMS technology. We are constantly advancing to Industry 4.0 standards by connecting our equipment with mobile devices and offering digitalized monitoring systems for customers.

The change culture is passed on to our employees by way of constant learning through specialized technical trainings and HTT Leadership Workshops that encourage the teams can reflect, think creatively and develop own ideas. As most of our machines are tailor-made to the customers’ needs, we often cannot simply follow standard procedures, but highly value our employees who come up with own innovative solutions in projects.

For your Executive MBA thesis, you chose to present the effectiveness of mindfulness trainings on company performance. Can you share why you chose this topic?

The world is full of changes and I am very interested in how the work of the future will look like. In a few years, most of us will not have a 9-to-5 job anymore and the modern business environment will have increasingly flat hierarchies, more job flexibility and remote employees. Hence, there’s a greater need for emotional intelligence to handle conflict and challenges.

Given the fast-paced and digitalized world, many employees feel increasingly distracted and stressful when multitasking or facing deadlines. Empirical studies show that practicing mindfulness – which means the awareness of the present moment – can help you cope with these challenges. Mindfulness can help you to go from “autopilot” to being consciously present, thereby increasing your ability to focus, your well-being, your emotional intelligence, and, eventually, also your job performance.

In my thesis I looked at mindfulness from a business perspective, researched how companies are introducing and scaling mindfulness programs in their workplace, and presented best practices.

BT 201902 Cover 03Based on your study and your experience, how can mindfulness-based interventions be practically integrated in the day-to-day workplace? Can you recommend some best practices of companies who have adopted the mindfulness approach?

The most famous example is probably by Google, which developed their own mindfulness course based on emotional intelligence, neuroscience and mindfulness. This course has been taken by thousands of Google employees and remains as the most popular training offered in the company. In Germany, SAP has offered mindfulness practices to more than 7.500 employees with another 5.000 on the waiting list. In China, Didi Chuxing is probably the most advanced company with regard to mindfulness, providing guided mindfulness sessions through their app to employees and drivers.

In my study I looked at these 3 case studies. Interestingly, these companies often start with a so called “minute to arrive” – starting meetings with a minute in which participants focus their attention on their breath. These companies also offer rooms of silence for employees to practice mindfulness. Reinforcing these are mindfulness talks or mindful lunches. I strongly believe that in a few years, practicing mindfulness will become as common as going to the gym.

You are a very active member of the board of German Chamber of Commerce in North China. In what way do you continue to bridge and flourish Sino-German relations in terms of trade and investment?

In times of rising international tensions and a threatening trade war between China and the US, the role of the Chamber becomes even more important. The German Chamber represents the Chamber members in China and is a platform for cooperation of the Sino-German business community. My aim is to support the German companies actively in China, but also to bring Chinese and German businesses together to develop a better understanding about each other.

The Sino-German economic relations actually look good even in the current times of global uncertainty: Germany’s FDI in China made a historical high in 2018 according to the recently released official data from MOFCOM, amounting to USD 3.68bn in 2018, more than doubling the 2017’s USD 1.54bn. I am convinced that only by frequent exchanges and contacts through the German Chamber and other platforms we can create common business opportunities and develop our Sino-German relationship in terms of trade and investment.
BT 201902 Cover 05The 10th year anniversary of the German Chamber of Commerce North China-Tianjin is fast approaching. Having been part of the accomplishments in the past decade, what milestones do you consider most memorable?

There are a lot of accomplishments to be proud of. Our members in Tianjin increased by more than 50% in the last 6 years and there’s a strong support for business activities, in fact events are organized every week. Our members also find the big social events (such as the German Chamber Soccer Cup, The New Years’ Reception, the German Oktoberfest or the German Christmas Market) to be highly memorable.

With the 10 years anniversary, we celebrate our achievements and the strong position of the Chamber in Tianjin today. Our Board of Directors North China will also join the celebration and I am looking forward to meeting the CEOs and Managers of our member companies.

What do you consider as your greatest achievement?

One of my greatest achievements was finishing my PhD successfully, particularly because it took more than 3 years of perseverance to start from zero and get all research data by conducting numerous interviews with experts and officials up to the ranks of ministers and ambassadors. In the end, it was a great honor to be recognized by the University for all my effort.

How do you wind off at the end of the day?

Sport has always been my passion since I was a child. I was a tennis coach during my time in high school and university and I still like to play, however, I end up in the gym after work. My mindfulness practice is also a great tool to unwind, relax, and focus attention on the important things. Moreover, I enjoy meeting up with friends for dinner. Tianjin, especially in the Wudadao area, currently has a lot of new and interesting restaurants to try.

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