Setting course for the future

Lara Kufferath (30) joined the company on March 1, 2019, as the first representative of the fourth generation of the owner-run family business GKD – Gebr. Kufferath AG (GKD). The global market leader for metal and plastic technical weaves and spiral mesh was founded in 1925 in Düren, Germany. Today, GKD has six plants as well as branches and agencies around the world, in close proximity to the relevant markets. In view of the increasing internationalization of the GKD Group, Lara Kufferath will, in addition to thoroughly familiarizing herself with the new position, take on tasks in corporate development and hence head strategic projects across the Group.

In 2013 she completed her Master's degree in business administration at EBS University for Economics and Law in Oestrich-Winkel with an M.Sc. in Management. During her studies, she gathered international experience studying abroad at Copenhagen Business School and Columbia University in New York. She now has several years of professional experience in the fields of corporate development, process and production optimization, supply chain management, organizational design, and digital transformation. Lara gained this experience at companies in the production industry and through her work for a respected Swiss business consultancy. Alongside her professional career, she completed a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt training course, which qualifies her to manage cross-divisional lean management projects under her own authority. Furthermore, Lara has strong intercultural skills, speaks five languages, and is a real entrepreneurial thinker.

Aligning processes and structures internationally
She is now using this rich wealth of knowledge and experience to continue the success and performance of her family's long-standing traditional company. After familiarizing herself with the four business divisions – industrial mesh, process belts, architectural mesh, and transparent media façades – she will take on tasks and projects for corporate development at GKD, which she will shape and drive forward along with the Group strategy. The objective of this new functional division is first of all to achieve greater standardization and harmonization between the sites. As such, Lara Kufferath will, for example, contribute to promoting digital transformation of the business processes and greater cooperation in the Group at international level. Designing safe Group-wide knowledge transfer and the roll-out of IT and communication systems in the GKD Group will also be part of her main tasks in the first year.

Future viability in mind
Lara Kufferath is the eldest of commercial director Dr. Stephan Kufferath's two daughters. During her studies and as she gained professional experience, she became increasingly keen to join the family business. "I am inspired by the combination of tradition and innovativeness with which we have succeeded in continuously reinventing ourselves without losing our roots in the nearly 100 years since our foundation. GKD is a prototypical example of portfolio diversification: the breadth and diversity with which we are positioned internationally for a huge range of markets offer immense scope for creative action in the future," she said of her decision. The current board of directors is comprised of Dr. Stephan Kufferath and his brother, qualified engineer Ingo Kufferath. Lara's joining the company raises confidence that the leadership of the firm will remain in the hands of the family in the future. Her father and uncle are looking ahead with corresponding optimism: "Based on her valuable experience, Lara meets all the requirements for securing the future viability of our company, its products and processes, and for further international expansion.”

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