Andreas Schmidt
Andreas SchmidtHead of Business Area Strip Springs


Mr Schmidt, how did you come to KERN-LIEBERS?

Andreas Schmidt

From my parents’ company GEBR. SCHMIDT, which was founded in 1880, and where together with my brother, I was the fourth generation of management. Just like KERN-LIEBERS, we specialize in strip springs. However, as a small family business employing around 50 people, you quickly reach your limits when it comes to issues such as globalization, best cost country or raw material purchasing. To address these issues, you need a strong partner – and in 2004, we found that partner with KERN-LIEBERS.



What makes KERN-LIEBERS special for you?

Andreas Schmidt

Despite its size – with around 8,000 employees – the KERN-LIEBERS organization is decentralized. I can explain that well using the example GEBR. SCHMIDT: At our location in Wuppertal, we are responsible for the development, distribution and production of specialized strip springs such as flat spiral springs or constant force springs. This enables us to meet all customer requirements very quickly and flexibly in a small team. Another thing I appreciate about KERN-LIEBERS as a family-owned company is its strategic, long-term orientation and the associated willingness to invest.



What are your goals for the coming years?

Andreas Schmidt

We want to consolidate and expand our position as the global market leader in seatbelt springs. To achieve this, we focus on the development of long-term and strategic partnerships.



What challenges do you see for the future?

Andreas Schmidt

We keep a close eye on the effects of global economic developments, particularly concerning issues such as growing protectionism, trade tariffs, Brexit and bans on vehicles in cities. Political decisions undermine what is actually a robust economy. With a broad product portfolio combined with our global footprint, the KERN-LIEBERS group is nevertheless able to respond quickly to such changes in the situation.



What are the most important trends and where do you see opportunities and risks for our product?

Andreas Schmidt

The automotive industry is currently undergoing a major process of change. You might even compare this change to the transition from the horse-drawn carriage to the automobile. Among younger people in particular, the car no longer enjoys the status it used to. It is now only one part of a complex mobility system – from e-bikes and car sharing to public transport, the train or air travel. Autonomous driving will change mobility further still, and there is also the issue of carbon-neutral mobility. The number of electric vehicles will increase, but the automotive supplier sector will have to produce fewer components for these new cars. And the changes I mention will affect us very quickly. On the positive side for us, however, is the fact that all vehicles, whether with electric motors or fuel cells, need seatbelts with springs from KERN-LIEBERS to protect the people they are carrying.



What can customers and business partners expect from you?

Andreas Schmidt

A pronounced focus on the customer. As a result of these global changes, the requirements of our customers and business partners are changing constantly. One example is self-driving vehicles, which will require belt systems integrated into the seats. Together with our customers, we are now already developing precisely the innovative solutions that will be in demand in the future, and manufacturing them where our customers are located.