“A real hidden champion”

US students enthralled by their visit to the Dr. Eckel headquarters – International exchange of experience and new business ideas

 It had long been relatively quiet at Dr. Eckel Animal Nutrition’s headquarters in Niederzissen, since external visits had been severely restricted due to the Covid-related precautions in place. Consequently, Production Manager Klara Eckel was all the more pleased to welcome the MBA students from Millikin University, Illinois (USA), who were visiting Germany on an exchange programme with their partner university WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Within the scope of the ‘Doing Business in Europe’ programme, students visit local Mittelstand companies and engage in an intensive experience exchange. They then develop and present an internationalisation strategy for the Mittelstand company in fulfilment of a consulting project.

Dr. Eckel is considered a hidden champion in the field of innovative feed additives for livestock and aquaculture. The company exports its products manufactured directly in Niederzissen to more than 40 countries across the globe. The students were tasked with identifying where the best opportunities for future international growth are and the resources the Mittelstand company would need to achieve this growth.

During the visit to Niederzissen, Dr Antje Eckel and Klara Eckel introduced the family business and provided the students, who work in a variety of professional areas, insight into the European feed sector. A tour of the premises in the glorious pre-summer weather left the visitors enthralled: the company grounds with their beautiful green spaces offer plenty of room for biodiversity with numerous trees, native bushes and plants, making it easy to forget the surrounding industrial estate and nearby A61 motorway.

Antje and Klara Eckel were impressed both with the depth of the analysis and the creativity of the ideas presented by four separate groups.

“It was really great to see how the participants presented their ideas in their talks,” says Klara Eckel. “Their results are even more impressive when you consider that this was done with limited information and within such a short period of time.”

The project participants excelled at getting to the heart of the challenges and identifying the appropriate solutions, and their analyses were mostly spot on. Thus, Dr. Eckel is left with both the memory of a successful visit and the valuable information gleaned from the project presentations. Klara Eckel looks forward to staying in touch with the students once they have graduated, and to pursuing the ideas together wherever possible.