BUSINESS IN THE REVIER MAGAZINE – mibostahl

Developing and explaining

For 30 years now, mibostahl has been developing extraction tools for the automotive industry. Thanks to loyal customers, the company emerged from insolvency stronger than ever in November 2010.

mibostahl CEO Axel Giershausen and Assistant Managing Director Muratya Ucar in an interview with the Revier Manager Magazine.

During assembly, i.e. when bringing together complex cable harnesses, it happens again and again: mistakes are made when establishing the cable connections. Without special tools, these modern plug connections cannot be disconnected, and entire cable harnesses would have to be taken apart and put back together again. In times of modern just-in-time production, this would be a disastrous scenario. While there were only 15 different tools 30 years ago, today there are over 700, and the number is rising.

“Have a look at this ‘fork’ here,” says mibostahl CEO Axel Giershausen, showing a highly delicate extraction tool which bears a certain resemblance to a snack fork used for eating chips. “If this is inserted incorrectly or with too much pressure, the tool is ruined and the incorrectly established connections have to be destroyed and re-established. Delays in production are inevitable.” For this reason mibostahl uses only the best steel, and in many cases relies on highly qualified craftsmanship. “We can only guarantee the quality required by the exceedingly safety-conscious stakeholders in the automotive industry with our own production here on site in Gevelsberg,” explains Giershausen. Certification in accordance with DIN ISO 9001:2008 can practically be taken for granted.

Development and service strength

When car manufacturers and cable producers develop new cable harnesses and locking systems, they often cooperate closely with mibostahl right from the very start. In this sector, it is not only a question of developing new extraction tools, but also of deciding which extraction tools are required for which application. The employees of the cable producers are supported with training videos which explain how to disconnect plug connections. Or they read it up in extensively illustrated catalogues. “This service distinguishes us from many other manufacturers,” says Muratya Ucar, Assistant Managing Director at mibostahl. “Without good instructions, there’s little you can do with extraction tools. Except perhaps … eat chips.”

Emerging stronger from insolvency

mibostahl was founded in Witten in 1982 by Harmannus Bouwman, who was the first to address the problem of the non-destructive extraction of terminal connectors at a professional level.

In January 2010 Axel Giershausen joined the company as the new CEO after working for 20 years with BOSCH/Marconi, the last ten of these as Project Manager in the telecommunications division for the customer RWE in Essen and Dortmund.

It soon became clear that the company could not continue operations at that point in time. Insolvency was inevitable. Insolvency was filed in September 2010 and on 2 November 2010 Giershausen, as the new owner, was able to take over the company from the insolvency administrator. mibostahl became a limited liability company (GmbH) again on 1 January 2013. “We were able to deal with the insolvency in just two months,” explains Giershausen. “We did not have to lay off any employees and were able to continue supplying our customers. The best thing was that we did not lose a single customer through the insolvency. We are very grateful for this!”

Recently we have even been able to acquire several important customers, including Hyundai, Leoni and Volvo. Business abroad are also expanding rapidly at the moment. In particular, Giershausen is expecting growth in the markets in North America, Russia, India and Turkey. The company is already well established in North Africa – 18 of the company’s approximately 180 customers have their headquarters there.

The business has experienced an additional boost through the increasing roll-out of hybrid and electric cars. After all, these models use high voltage and will require completely new plug connectors and corresponding extraction tools. “The prospects are good,” says Giershausen. “Now it depends on what we make of it.”