“We work very closely together with our customers and are continually adapting our products to meet the latest requirements in the mills. We are investing in international brand building right now. We are currently working on expanding our marketing activities. Our goal is to strengthen our standing and establish ourselves as a reliable supplier of high-quality products for cleaning plansifter sieves – on a global scale.”
Tatjana Filip - Mirko Filip
FILIP GmbH - Managing Directors
German company FILIP GmbH has almost 100-years experience in the mill brush business. FILIP has focused on the manufacturing of brushes and sieve cleaners for the milling industry with a high degree of experience in export worldwide. Dieter Filip, who carried on business for the last decades, passed the management of the family-owned company to his children - Mirko Filip, and Tatjana Filip. Mirko and Tatjana are managing the business in the fourth generation now. They answered Miller Magazine’s questions about the generation change in the company, their business tradition and future plans to develop the business.
They emphized on FILIP’s high-quality sieve cleaning products with a long lifespan. Giving details about the currently developing new company facilities in Guetersloh, they told us they were seeking for foreign representatives in countries such as Spain, Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Peru and Venezuela. “Even if we are already exporting worldwide and can consider ourselves well established in certain countries, we want to enter new growth markets in regions where we are still underrepresented – for example, Spain or Africa.” Mirko said.
Here are our questions and Mirko and Tatjana Filip’s answers:
Your company has existed for almost 100 years – you are a family company with a true tradition of your own. Can you tell us something about your company’s history in the milling industry, and in particular about how your company developed over the years?
Tatjana and Mirko Filip: It’s true – in 2019 we will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of our company, which we are extremely proud of. Our great-grandfather Vincenz Filip founded the company almost 100 years ago in Zeitz (former East Germany). At the time, he had already specialised in the production and sales of brushes, cleaners and brooms for use in the milling industry.
Following the founding of East Germany, the company had to move to West Germany for political reasons. That is when Martin Filip, our grandfather, took over the business. Then when he retired, our father, Dieter Filip, took over. Under his management the company grew enormously in the last 20 years. It is thanks to him that our company enjoyed the success it did. He has an excellent network of contacts worldwide in the milling industry and has an unbelievable wealth of knowledge when it comes to sieve cleaning.
The founder of the company lived and worked according to the motto: “nothing but the best is good enough”. That is what it says in his product catalogue dating back to the year 1923 which we still have in our archives. And this is what we have adhered to over the years, right up to the present day: the name FILIP stands for excellent sieve cleaning, fulfils the highest quality expectations and offers first-class service.
Your company recently underwent a generation change: your father, Dieter Filip, is retiring from active business and has handed over the management of the company to his two children. What are your future objectives in your field of operation? What are you likely to be investing in?
Mirko Filip: That is correct. My sister and I are now managing the business in the fourth generation and are paving the way for further international growth. My sister Tatjana has been active in the company for 25 years already; I joined the company last year. We can still consult our father, Dieter Filip, whenever we need to. He is happy to provide advice on product development and management.
And on the topic of investment plans: we are currently developing new company facilities here in Guetersloh, including production facilities, a warehouse and an administration building, and are investing both in machine capacities as well as in product development. Even if we are already exporting worldwide and can consider ourselves well established in certain countries, we want to enter new growth markets in regions where we are still underrepresented – for example, Spain or Africa.
Apart from that we are also investing in international brand building right now. We are currently working on our website, brushing up our company logo, and expanding our marketing activities. Our goal is to strengthen our standing and establish ourselves as a reliable supplier of high-quality products for cleaning plansifter sieves – on a global scale.
You have already been significantly successful in that you have developed the profession your forefathers set out to pursue. Can you tell us what you experienced along the way? For example, about the trends in the business and in the milling industry?
Tatjana Filip: We work very closely together with our customers and are continually adapting our products to meet the latest requirements in the mills. In the course of so doing, we streamline and upgrade our portfolio on a regular basis. A good example of this: when we became aware of the trend towards plansifter sieves without back wire, we responded promptly and designed our triangular-shaped “Double-Cleaner with tongue”. This tilts and rotates in the sieve frame, cleaning the sieve mesh and the base of the sieve at one and the same time. A real double cleaner! Since it was launched on the market, we have continued to develop and improve the product. Our “Double-Cleaner with tongue” has become one of our bestselling products.
A further trend is that nylon is becoming increasingly more popular as brushing material – as opposed to natural hair. Which is why all our brushes are available with white and black nylon bristles. This offers major benefits when it comes to hygiene. But of course we also offer brushes with natural hair.
Can you give us some information about the products you have in your range?
Tatjana Filip: FILIP’s prime focus is on the development, production and sales of cleaners for plansifter sieves – that is all we do, which is why we are recognised as specialists in this field. We manufacture and sell sieve cleaning brushes, sieve cleaners with studs, and cleaners for the base of sieves (bottom cleaners) for all standard types of plansifters. Our portfolio can roughly be divided into two main areas: cleaners for plansifter sieves with and without back wire.
What distinguishes your products from others?
Tatjana Filip: At FILIP, safety is our highest priority. That is why our sieve cleaning brush housings are made of polyurethane which only contains substances that are considered not to give rise to safety concerns and are intended to come into contact with foodstuffs. All our products comply with the relevant FDA requirements and EU regulations. Given that our customers place great importance on safety, this feature of our products is extremely important for them. The materials used in our manufacturing processes are hard-wearing even when subjected to extreme temperatures and humid atmospheres. They protect the sieves from becoming clogged, and are resistant to fats and enzymes. Another point to watch out for when deciding on purchasing an effective sieve cleaner.
FILIP takes into consideration the operational environment of the cleaners in the plansifters: the shape of our cleaners (typically triangular), the way the brushing material is arranged and the weight of the cleaner are aligned so that they clean the sieve cloth and base of the sieve to an optimum – while treating the frame of the sieve and the sieve cloth with care. It is no use at all if your sieves and the part where items sifted out of the flour are collected work fine, but the frame of the sieve or the wire mesh is damaged during the cleaning process.
Where do you export your products to? How many countries are you exporting to right now?
Mirko Filip: As we already mentioned: we export our cleaning equipment to countries all over the world – direct to milling groups and individual mills as well as through our global network of foreign representatives. In the latter case, our customers have the advantage that we can serve them in their own language. Apart from that we also supply well-known mill builders around the world and, of course, manufacturers of sieve cloths and frames.
What reputation does your company have in Germany and worldwide?
Mirko Filip: FILIP products are known in Germany and worldwide as highly efficient sieve cleaning equipment with a long lifespan. Customers who opt to purchase our products are making a conscious decision to go for the highest quality, which – admittedly – has its price. They know full well that they will only achieve a high yield in their mills, if they can ensure excellent sieve cleaning and do not have to put up with unnecessary machine downtimes because of having to replace poor quality cleaners time and again. We are therefore well positioned, which makes it all the more important that we continue to develop our products to maintain our standing: we have a great love of detail, for example with regard to the way the bristle bundles or studs are arranged in order to clean corners and rims to an optimum, plus the choice of material, and the shape and weight of the sieve cleaners. You wouldn’t believe how much time you can invest in developing sieve cleaning products – especially when this is your prime field of expertise and you set yourself very high standards.
Is there anything else you would like to communicate to our readers?
Tatjana Filip: Within the framework of our growth strategy, we are currently on the lookout for foreign representatives in countries such as Spain, Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Peru and Venezuela. And we would also like to expand our presence in Africa. If there is anyone out there who is interested in marketing our products in any of these countries or regions, they are most welcome to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Otherwise, we would like to thank you very much for this friendly interview.