Even as a child, Urs Rickenbacher dreamt of running his own company some day. The fact that he was able to take over Lantal Textiles AG in 2004 was a stroke of luck. “There is no sector that is more diversified and colourful than the textiles industry,” says Urs Rickenbacher. He joined this industry as a newcomer, but soon realised that he could make ideal use of the experience and know-how he had gathered from his previous activities, including in the travel and furniture sectors.
I didn’t want to just be a manager. I wanted to take full responsibility.
When he joined Lantal he completed an induction programme which enabled him to gain practical experience in all the company’s production processes. “Of course I was always the slowest at setting up the weaving machine.” But he felt it was important for him to acquaint himself with the company’s processes and work directly alongside the employees. “I didn’t want to just be a manager. I wanted to take full responsibility.”
As co-proprietor he entered into a long-term commitment. You don’t run away as soon as things get tough. The past 15 years were challenging for the industry. “In this difficult environment, I repeatedly found it motivating to forge ahead with innovations and various other projects.” When he took over the company from its previous owners, he implemented the changeover with a great deal of care and sensitivity. In retrospect, this was extremely important in that it helped strengthen the trust the personnel placed in him. “Unless everyone works together and stays motivated, a company cannot be successful. Our philosophy is based on trust, fore-sight, honesty, respect, positive thinking.” Urs Rickenbacher personally ensures that the corporate philosophy is practised daily and in equal measure among the employees at all twelve business locations throughout the world.
In our industry we are able to make a valuable contribution towards socially relevant issues.
Working with different generations
He enjoys working together with different generations and cultures. In his view, combining the knowledge of young people with the experience of senior employees has a positive effect. Furthermore: “In our industry,” he confidently explains, “we are able to make a valuable contribution towards socially relevant issues.” This includes in particular the complex issue of sustainability. Here, Swiss textile companies (still) have plenty to offer. This also makes them attractive as employers for young people, who nowadays are not just looking for any job, but a job that is meaningful.
Lantal Textiles AG, which is based in Langenthal, is a leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of textiles serving the international aviation, bus and rail transport markets. It employs around 720 salaried personnel (including 17 apprentices).