For CEO Marc C Koeppe, PCI Augsburg GmbH’s work goes far beyond the superficial benefits. “We are not simply creating products for the construction industry,” he explains. “We are offering solutions that are improving people’s quality of life and standard of living.”
The company is a market-leading manufacturer of construction materials that is mostly active in the European market, with growing momentum in Central and Eastern Europe.
After undergoing a recent brand revamp, PCI Group is working to distinguish itself in the market with clearer brand values: to be a “complete solutions provider” for the key brand PCI, supplying the tile fixing and construction systems markets, and to be “the most dynamic brand in the industry” for THOMSIT, its second brand, tackling the floor laying market.
“We strive to be the premium company of preferred choice for the construction industry and all our key customer groups, including professional applicators, distributors, DIY customers and architects,” Marc adds.
After graduating with a business degree from WHU (Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management), a renowned private German university, Marc reached out to chemical giant BASF for employment. He stayed with the Germany-based European firm for more than 10 years, working across a range of roles in senior management, sales, marketing and strategic planning.
We try to highlight to our staff the purpose of what we are doing. Our people make up PCI Group.
Before joining PCI Group, he served as Managing Director of the refinish coatings business of BASF Coatings Services GmbH in Dortmund. Today, PCI Group is an important part of MBCC Group – which in turn belongs to the private equity company Lone Star.
When Marc was appointed CEO in 2015, he set course to bring PCI Group into its next phase of growth – and to strengthen its digital footprint.
He pushed towards developing the traditional centrally run organisation with entrenched structures into an innovative business with fresh, out-of-the-box thinking and a ‘can-do’-orientated culture. Good communication across all departments is a focus.
“Communicating effectively, both internally as well as to our customers, is key,” he confirms. “We try to highlight to our staff the purpose of what we are doing. Our people make up PCI Group. They are promoting our services and our values every single day.
“We also make sure that PCI Group’s vision and core goals are constantly addressed in all team meetings. PCI’s vision – to be a partner for valuecreating construction and preservation of living spaces – must be shared within the entire group.”
Likewise, Marc believes that a convincing vision is crucial on a management level, which means to know in which direction to develop a business. Honesty and reliability are essential qualities when it comes to running a corporation. But on top of that, it requires the ability to inspire the employees and take them along in the process.
The PCI Group’s success proved him right. It has enjoyed significant growth above market level and much improved profitability. In 2017, PCI acquired THOMSIT, the second-largest brand for floor laying in Germany.
PCI is sustainable
Sustainability has been a vital element of PCI for many years. The business seeks out environmentally compatible raw materials when developing new products as well as eco-friendly recycled materials, which are used for packaging. The raw materials used are regionally available, thus avoiding any long-distance shipping. Additionally, the finished products only travel short distances, as the PCI plants across Germany are nearby.
The three wholly owned sites in Germany – Augsburg, Hamm and Wittenberg – have been upgraded and expanded, thanks to significant multimillion-euro investments into each site.
“The acquisition accelerated this expansion and was a major step for PCI Group,” Marc notes. “All our businesses, no matter which country or location, are currently in expansion mode. We have also invested into logistics, warehouses and new technologies to ensure shipping out all our products smoothly.”
At the Augsburg location, a newly built delivery centre will enable faster, more flexible deliveries while in Hamm, a new pail-filling unit will help double the current filling capacity for powder products.
Another major step in Marc’s agenda is to push forward digitalisation within PCI Group. Among other things, it now offers an online-based technical advisory live chat, a broad range of online training including application and product videos next to selected digital marketing features.
The close relationship to its crucial suppliers has contributed to the success of PCI Group. Marc explains that both with its distribution partners as well as with selected key suppliers, there is a level of mutual trust and a great sense of partnership.
“This is an important aspect for us, same as our high service quality and a steady flow of innovations. Our strong partnerships are based on longer-term contracts so that people know what they can expect from us, and vice versa, thus creating the best solutions for PCI’s customers,” he says.
Founded in 1950, the PCI success story started with its first innovative product, a concrete emulsion. Four years on, the PCI range had already grown to 54 products, but success truly started in 1959 when a cementitious tile adhesive for thin-bed applications was introduced to the market.
Keeping with tradition
Since 2019, PCI can call itself a German traditional brand after being awarded the internationally renowned Plus X Award. The accolade honours companies that have showcased “leading and exemplary brand management for many years – for sustainable, responsible operations, proactive decisions and customer-oriented action”. Thus, PCI has joined the ranks of German companies like BMW, Bosch, Miele, Alpina and Zeiss. “This award is a special honour for us and bears witness to the strength of our brand,” says Stephan Tschernek, PCI Group’s Head of Marketing. “It confirms our achievements and provides an incentive to continue the successes we have recorded over the past 70 years. “Our objective is to provide our customers with even better support to master the challenges of the marketplace and to generate further growth together with them.”
Today, the business provides more than 300 solutions. Additionally, the firm recognises the power of innovation and has achieved an industry-leading vitality index, with more than 25% of its turnover generated from products less than five years since market introduction.
One revolutionary product goes by the name of PCI Durapox® Premium Multicolor – an epoxy-based tile grout that can be produced in almost all colours available.
Along with the industry’s first proprietary colour reading device, any colour sample provided by a customer can be read out at one of PCI’s distribution partners – and made to order in the specific colour desired down to a two-kilogram batch within a few days.
This example well conveys the innovative, out-of-the-box thinking spirit of PCI – and shows its dedication to create best value to its customers. Even a formerly simple, seemingly unspectacular grout can now literally bring colour to people’s lives.
The product was the winner of a Plus X Award in both 2018 and 2019; the accolade rates as the world’s largest innovation award for technology, sports and lifestyle products. Alongside products, innovation in service also plays a crucial role.
“We were the first in the market to offer a technical advisory live chat, where customers can contact us online through a webchat,” Marc says.
When users post questions or pictures here, PCI’s service promise is that trained technical experts will tackle their issues within minutes. As a senior executive that oversees about 1,300 employees, part of the role is that people look to the CEO for direction.
“As mentioned before, I try to get people behind an enticing, common vision,” Marc says. “While we’ve celebrated our 70th anniversary as a company, our journey is only about to begin.”