Is it possible to make a high-tech product with a 130-year-old machine? Is ‘beer paper’ really made with beer? And what does a small family enterprise from idyllic Tegernsee lake have to do with the glamorous Academy Awards?
Last week, 15 students of the Master International Business program were able to find answers to these questions. As part of the course “Luxury Marketing and Luxury Brand Management”,taught by Prof. Dr. Andrea Bookhagen, they visited the papermill Büttenpapierfabrik Gmund, located in the village of the same name at Tegernsee lake. After welcoming the students, Sales Director Axel Schreiner, Assistant Sales Manager Anja Wackerhage and Sales Manager Katharina Riedl introduced them to the family enterprise that looks back to an abundance of venerable tradition: Gmund is the developer and producer of a large variety of high-end paper products.
The paper of Bavarian kings
The MBS master students learned some amazing facts about the traditional paper manufacturer: As early as in the 19. century, the 185-year-old family enterprise delivered paper to the Bavarian royalty. Today, the Büttenpapierfabrik Gmund is world market leader for high-end paper products.
For fastidious purposes, such as leaflets for new BMW e-cars, menus for the haute cuisine gastronomy or the golden envelopes that play such an important role at the Academy Awards: Gmund has already developed more than 100,000 paper variants, among them fancy paper with real stone dust or brewers grains from the beer production.
Time-honored paper machines
After an introduction to the company, the students took a tour through the production department. And they were quite amazed at what they saw: The paper is manufactured on two machines which were built in 1883 and in 1979. “As they explained to us, these two machines make the best paper. And somehow they fit in well here,” reports student Varsha Deo.
The experience left the students quite astonished: “Gmund has 128 employees; the entire organization seems very down-to-earth. Looking behind the scenes of this medium-sized champion was quite fascinating: the paper maker is aware of its long-standing tradition, rooted in the region – and an international brand nevertheless,” student Olga Kosik describes her impressions. “I am already looking forward to the next excursion.”