Startup ambience at an SME24. July 2019
A structured day at work where you can expect what the day will entail? This isn’t the case for Dominik Treber, a Developer at fischer’s in-house startup for direct fixings. During our interview he told us how he balances being an “odd-job man“ and developing cost-optimised serial products.
My job as a Developer
My main task is to develop drive solutions for direct fixings in concrete and wood applications. More specifically, this means we develop solutions for placing fixings in concrete and wood without requiring prior drill placement. We work in close cooperation with research institutes and external partners who provide us with excellent support. This allows us to benefit from the specialists’ external knowhow in the field of drive solutions while developing handheld devices for direct fixings.
(Grins) I’m also an “odd-job man“, which is typical for startups. My job description is Product Developer at fischer’s in-house startup for direct fixings – but in reality I take on almost all tasks that come up. We are a very small, agile team and we support one another. In principle, every one of us covers the entire range of tasks – from product development and purchasing to planning and serial production. What more variety could you want? I also take on the role of Project Manager – I keep a constant eye on both internal and external tasks while coordinating and combining them.
The highlight of my day at work
I experience many highs and lows in a startup, but the highs far outweigh the lows. For me, one of the biggest highlights is when the prototype of a drive solution concept works exactly as it is supposed to. When months of brainstorming, product development, drafting, construction and coordination with production come to fruition. Then it’s like Christmas and New Year came at once (laughs).
The most important requirements
Just like in any job, the best ideas and products emerge when you have a certain degree of passion for your work. In a startup environment you have to be open to new ideas and changes and demonstrate interest and enthusiasm for new technologies. This involves carrying out regular research or attending fairs and technology conferences – this is the only way that allows you to stay up to date.
It is also beneficial to be open-minded and expand your horizons. This not only refers to standing out with technical knowledge, but also to being able to take on other tasks. When I was studying to become an engineer I never would have thought that I would one day carry out the duties of a purchaser (laughs).
The trickiest task
… Is transforming innovative concepts and technologies into cost-optimised products that are suitable for serial production. When it comes to the research-focused development of new technologies we have budgets that allow some leeway. The resulting products must later be ready for serial production and therefore be marketable and competitive. This can prove to be a real challenge. The balance between adapting relatively complex prototypes that are mainly supposed to fulfil their function so that they can be series produced in a cost-effective manner while being marketable and competitive is a real challenge.
The question a Developer is most frequently asked
I am most often asked about the difference between a startup and our in-house development at fischer. They want to know why we are a startup for direct fixings rather than a development department. The answer is simple: it’s because we are not only further developing existing products, but rather developing new products that do not exist yet as such at fischer. We see ourselves as a speedboat whose skills lie within the Business Unit itself, in other words, with its own Product Manager or Purchaser. So we only draw on existing department structures such as product management or purchasing in limited amounts. One of the advantages of being a startup is that we report directly to the Executive Board, which means that decisions can be made and implemented more quickly.