Press release

“We are committed to maintaining consistency while also setting new objectives”

Interview with Christian Hohendorf and Markus Wagner, the new managing partners and co-owners of Zeutschel GmbH

In mid-2023, Zeutschel set the course for the future. The longstanding managing director and owner, Jörg Vogler, handed over the company to his successors, Christian Hohendorf and Markus Wagner. We spoke with the new managing partners about their record of accomplishment, business development, trends in cultural heritage digitization, and their plans for the future.

Mr. Hohendorf and Mr. Wagner, how do you assess the business takeover process, and how were others’ reactions to the succession plan?

Christian Hohendorf: The transition from the old to the new management was seamless. The outgoing owner, Jörg Vogler, did an excellent job preparing for this process by gradually transferring overall responsibility to us. In the end, only the ownership structure changed. We are very grateful to Mr. Vogler for his efforts. The staff gave us consistently positive feedback and at the annual partner meeting, there was a clear consensus that the next generation was taking over!

Markus Wagner: Mr. Vogler placed great emphasis on continuity in his decision. Mr. Hohendorf and I represent that continuity, having extensive experience within the company’s management team and a deep understanding of the market. We share a similar vision for the company’s development and work as a well-coordinated leadership team, making all decisions together.

How is business developing at Zeutschel, and which markets show promising growth?

Christian Hohendorf: The fiscal year 2022/23, which ended in late June, was the most successful in the company’s history in terms of revenue. In the first half of the new fiscal year, our order intake was above plan. We are experiencing growth in both the German market and internationally. Our company recently celebrated receiving the “Best of German Industry 2023” award with our employees. Selected by a renowned business jury we are one of 52 German world market leaders recognized for innovation, creativity, and resilience.

Markus Wagner: The geopolitical crises of our time have heightened awareness for the preservation of valuable cultural assets. Accordingly, there is a strong demand from government institutions. South African authorities are digitizing birth certificates in large quantities with Zeutschel overhead scanners and we are particularly proud of a notable order from Greece. Over the next few years, books, plans, and individual sheets from land registries and state archives will be digitized, totaling over 51 million pages by the end of 2025.

What are your goals and strategies for the further development of Zeutschel?

Christian Hohendorf: We are committed to maintaining consistency while also setting new objectives. Consistency means maintaining our existing business model. Zeutschel’s overhead scanners and digitization software development and production are still based in Tübingen. We remain dedicated to providing secure and engaging jobs for our employees. Sales collaboration with our partners at home and abroad will remain a top priority, but we aim to expand our partner network. We are planning to introduce new goals for our personnel management and policies. We have already had conversations with all our employees to gather their feedback on potential opportunities for improvement and optimization. We recognize that a new mindset is crucial, and we want to foster open and transparent communication while involving employees more in the decision-making process. This will create new opportunities for autonomous work.

Markus Wagner: With the shortage of skilled workers and the retirement of baby boomers, employee recruitment has become increasingly significant for many companies, including Zeutschel. Therefore, we are boosting our social media presence to target young people. Additionally, we aim to increase Zeutschel’s visibility in Tübingen and the surrounding areas. To achieve this, we are sponsoring regional sporting events and teams at grassroots and professional levels. Zeutschel recently sponsored a local football tournament and is a long-term supporter of the Hirschauer Spitzberglauf. We are also proud sponsors of the Tübinger Tigers, who have been promoted to the Basketball Bundesliga, and the women’s handball team, TuS Metzingen.

What current challenges do libraries and archives face in cultural heritage digitization?

Markus Wagner: Books and other historically valuable documents that were scanned ten years ago are being digitized again because the technology and image quality of scanning solutions have steadily improved. This entails more storage space, as a high-resolution image can easily be several gigabytes. Libraries and archives must decide what to and what not to digitize. Additionally, there is the challenge of digital long-term archiving. At some point, it becomes necessary to convert the data into other digital formats and transfer them to other storage systems.

Christian Hohendorf: We have noticed a growing trend toward digitization at multiple locations. Due to security and data protection reasons, many originals cannot be transported to a central location for conservation. Therefore, there is a demand for flexible scanners that can be used anywhere. Our new overhead scanner OS A is designed to cater to this need. With a single device, books, documents, and photographic materials up to A1+ size can be scanned. The OS A uses high-resolution digital cameras that provide high-quality images as per recognized standards and guidelines such as ISO Standard 19264-1, Metamorfoze, and FADGI. Additional features include accessories such as book cradles and a translucent table. Moreover, its compact, space-saving design makes it easy to disassemble, reassemble, install, calibrate, and transport.

What trends do you see for the coming years? And what will 2024 bring for Zeutschel?

Markus Wagner: In the future, cultural institutions will increasingly digitize objects as well. These can be valuable vases and sculptures. Currently, solutions based on cameras and stitching software are available for this application area. However, the quality achieved is not suitable for the needs of research and education. Proper 3D scanning solutions are needed to capture the entire object in high quality. A second trend is well known: ‘Made in Germany’ remains an important quality feature in the international market. Our foreign partners have emphatically confirmed this.

Christian Hohendorf: We look forward to 2024! Various partner visits are planned for the first half of the year. Open and trustworthy exchange is important to us. Feedback from our partners regarding the practical applications and respective market environment is crucial for further developing Zeutschel. We want to learn more about their wishes and further optimize the flow of information. A significant milestone for us is our participation in BiblioCon in June. Shortly after, in July, Zeutschel will host an event for its national and international partners.

About Christian Hohendorf and Markus Wagner:

Christian Hohendorf studied education at the University of the Bundeswehr in Hamburg and was an officer in the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) from 1994 to 2009. He held various leadership positions in small and medium-sized companies such as TÜV Süd Akademie, Haufe Group, and MIK-CENTER GmbH. Since March 2022, he has been working at Zeutschel, initially as a Sales Director and later as a member of the management.

Markus Wagner graduated from Berufsakademie Stuttgart with a degree in business administration. For 14 years, he held various leadership positions at an automotive supplier domestically and internationally. Since 2013, Markus Wagner has been with Zeutschel, initially as a Commercial Manager and then as a member of management.

Since July 2023, Christian Hohendorf and Markus Wagner are managing directors and co-owners of Zeutschel.

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