The story of turning wood into form at Niedermeier GmbH is a success story. It tells of a family-owned company of carpenters – forward-looking, full of practical ideas and now in its third generation – which has always looked for market niches and today mainly works in the business-to-business area.
Their passionate approach continually drove them to try “to exceed the limits of what is feasible, in order to finally make the supposedly impossible possible”.
It all started in 1935, when the grandfather of Rupert Niedermeier, master carpenter Josef Niedermeier, founded the company on the little Ahornweg road in Warth. At that time it was still a conventional carpentry workshop.
Son Willhelm took over the family business in 1967 after completing his master’s exam. He bubbled with creativity – which hasn’t changed even now. So he began to design and build his own machines in order to realise his ideas. His passion was for design. That’s why he continued his course in room design and colour for a few semesters after graduating from the school for master craftsmen and then devoted himself intensively to interior fittings and the task of bringing more spark into wood design and “introducing high-quality accents with round shapes”.
In 1975 he developed his first arch press and worked for many years with a Munich architect. At this time one of his projects was the furnishing of the office of Franz-Josef Strauss. When the first computer-controlled CNC machines for carpenters came onto the market, it was again time to look for new approaches in order to secure long-term competitive advantages for the company. For, thanks to CNC, each joinery could now, at least in theory, produce wood parts in any form as cost-effectively as manufacturing industry.
Wilhelm Niedermeier remembered the frequently-repeated advice of his father at this point:
“If a workpiece is larger than the joiner’s bench or round, you should steer well clear of it because it’s not worthwhile in a normal business.”
And he realised that was his new opportunity. The solution was to swim against the tide. He wanted to offer his special know-how in moulded wood to other carpenters, so that they did not have to burden their businesses with expensive one-off pieces or reserve their best workers for these difficult jobs. And so, after a detailed market analysis, in 1993 he laid the foundation for the forward-looking reorientation of the company as a supplier of semi-finished parts with his new “moulded part idea”, which was a combination of hydraulic and pneumatic technology.
Exploring paths together
After son Rupert completed his master craftsman studies in 1992 and then gained additional practical experience in Switzerland, father and son from 1993 onwards jointly accelerated the development of moulded wood technology and then offered other specialist companies their expert competence in round forms – both for small series and for intricate individual orders. Niedermeier – Wood in Form was born. A further technical quantum leap followed in 1998 with the development of their first self-made press with vacuum technology. The new business idea proved to be very successful, and so the company built a new production facility that extended over 2,000 square meters and was heated solely by wood waste from its own operations “in the middle of a green meadow” on the Schlossstrasse in Warth. It was ready for occupancy in 1999. In the same year Holz in Form GmbH was also founded, which Rupert Niedermeier took over as sole director in 2004.
And the story goes on…
Like his father, Rupert Niedermeier also develops special machines and additionally has a particular weakness for marketing and sales. So one or two days a week he regularly visits important existing customers as well as potential new ones. Currently the company fulfils approximately 1,000 individual orders per year, has 17 employees of various nationalities and is desperately looking for more committed team members. For the order books are full, as documented by the office’s ceiling-high map of Germany, studded with many colourful pins and flags.