The South Tyrolean family business is one of Europe’s leading window manufacturers and is also considered a leader when it comes to innovation. A look behind the scenes reveals the surprisingly fascinating world of windows and an inspiring corporate culture.
Even Finstral founder Hans Oberrauch admits that he at first viewed windows as boring. “But now I know different: windows are an inexhaustible subject.” You can see what that means when you visit a Finstral Studio for the first time: the company showrooms let you experience windows in a new way, seeing all they ways they can be used as a home’s interface between interior and exterior. Whether it’s a question of daylight, insulation values, frame materials, installation methods or recyclability – there is practically no area that isn’t illustrated by a sample at the showroom’s presentation counters. “We’re just real window nerds!” says Florian Oberrauch, nephew of the founder, Vice-President of the Board of Directors and Head of Production and of the Contract Service Unit for Major Projects. “We do almost everything ourselves. Because, if you want to do something right, you have to do it yourself: from development and production through to assembly and marketing. There are only a few players on our market who do things as comprehensively as we do here at Finstral.”
With 14 plants in Italy and Germany, the company not only operates one of the most modern window production systems in Europe, but also deploys an impressive range of skills. These range from the extrusion of PVC frame profiles, the manufacturing of insulation glass, in-house woodworking and powder coating for aluminium, right the way through to assembly. This benefits product development, which itself can influence the vast majority of the window components – rather than having to resort to using semi-finished parts from suppliers. “We have consistently developed our range in a modular way. Almost everything can be combined with everything else”, explains Joachim Oberrauch, son of the founder, President of Finstral’s Board of Directors and Head of Product Development. “So customers have real freedom of choice when it comes to composing their desired windows. That is not how things usually are in the window market.”
Finstral employs around 1,600 people in its plants, head office and sales organisation. More than half of its employees have been with the company for over ten years, while almost 300 have been there for 25 years or more. Finstral pays careful attention to ensuring that its employees enjoy good development prospects: opportunities for further training, from language learning to computer courses and dual study programmes, are offered as a matter of course. It is therefore not surprising that many of the employees who now hold managerial positions once started their working lives at Finstral. Founded in 1969, the company is now in its second generation of family ownership and, with annual turnover of around €200 million, it is one of the largest in the industry. “What makes Finstral so special are its flat hierarchies and the high degree of cooperation with which we all here pursue one clear entrepreneurial idea”, says Lucas von Gwinner, who for a long time worked a management consultant before taking over the marketing management at Finstral. “It simply makes a huge difference to be working in an appreciative culture that is genuinely interested in the matter at hand.”
Joachim Oberrauch describes the company’s goal: “We want to grow and become the leading premium manufacturer of windows, entry doors and conservatories in Europe. And to do all this with a product that offers beauty and creates genuine well-being, but is also a sustainable part of the solutio to the challenges of our time.” Finstral is investing tens of millions of euros in the sustainable expansion and conversion of its production facilities: thus a new, €20 million production hall for windows and insulation glass is currently being built at its Oppeano plant, near Verona. Sales have also seen strong growth in recent years: Finstral now has 25 of its own Studios and over 250 Partner Studios in Europe. It really does seem as if windows are an inexhaustible subject.
To see current job offers or submit a speculative application go to: finstral.com/jobs