Interview with Carsten Thevessen, CEO at TDKv
Business&Cranes. Interview with Carsten Thevessen CEO at TDKv. “To me the right strategy is kind of a backbone for the company which will help to go the right way”.
Cranesy: Tell us about TDKv.com, what kind of information people can find online? TDKv’s story?
Carsten Thevessen: Basically off course you find information about our core business, the production of individual equipment guides, access platform guides and corporate brochures. This service is especially intended for crane hire and access hire companies.
Beside that we offer a lot of information for and about the crane business. For example you find large lists of mobile crane specifications, crane hire directories and a long list of used crane dealers.
The intention of the website is to aggregate a lot of useful information and data for people working in and with the crane business.
TDKv was established in 1995 as a side job, starting with the publishing of the German crane hire directory. Parallel I have offered the production of individual crane guides. The feedback of the crane hire companies for this service was very good, so that I could quit my main job rather quickly. So I was able to put my focus completely on TDKv. Since then we are working for numerous crane hire companies in Germany, Europe and overseas as well.
C.: Today you are owner of TDKv. Where did you start in Crane Business?
C. T.: My first contact to the crane business was at an early dispatcher job. I was working in a precast concrete factory and we had to load big concrete manholes. So we had to order huge cranes to handle it. At that time I still thought a 100 t crane is huge. This was really fascinating me at once. From that point I started to collect brochures and handbooks in order to learn more about cranes.
Finally I made a contact to a local crane hire company and was invited to visit the company yard of Franz Bracht KG in Erwitte. This visit resulted in a job offer as a crane dispatcher in the Duisburg branch. I have been working for Bracht for one and a half year as a dispatcher before I returned to my hometown in 1995 and started TDKv as a side job.
C.: According to your opinion, what entrepreneurs should keep in mind if they want to build a company reputation?
C. T.: I am a big fan of specialization and niche thinking. In my opinion it is an enormous help to be highly specialised and focussed on solving a serious customer problem when you start a company. This will help you to get known and reputable within your target customer group very quickly. I’m not a friend of this jack of all trades attitude. Being specialized means that your potential customers get aware of you and your work. For us this specialisation is the production of individual equipment guides.
Beyond the creation of a sharp company profile one should take great care of being reliable and honest. To me a basic premise for this is having great competence of your business. As a service provider I also set a high value on the relation to my customers and suppliers. I understand the relation as a partnership and not just as a business contact. During all of the years some contacts have grown to a good friendship.
C.: Qualities required to run a company?
C. T.: I think it is very important to develop and follow a long term strategy to run a business. To me the right strategy is kind of a backbone for the company which will help to go the right way.
C.: What motivates you?
C. T.: My greatest motivation is the ambition to make things better each and every day.
C.: Rules in team-working? Rules to work more efficiently?
C. T.: Working in a team requires a good balance between self dependent working and regulation just as far as it is needed.
Most of our work is project work with duration of some weeks up to some months. In order to get this done efficiently we take care of a good planning. Our workflow is mostly structured and as far as possible standardized with help of a project management software. This gives us more time to focus on the creative parts of our work.
C.: What are the mistakes one should avoid to reach success?
C. T.: Don’t try to offer everything for everyone.
C.: UpComing projects for 2014?
C. T.: This year we have started to offer our service also for access platform hires and heavy haulage companies. Currently we prepare equipment guides for several access platform companies and a CAD based truck fleet book for a large heavy hauler from Germany.
In 2014 we want to gain ground and take a greater share in these two markets.