Hagen Berger: Shaping the Future of Battery Inspection Industry

Hagen Berger: Shaping the Future of Battery | The Enterprise World

An exceptional leader is the driving force behind an organization’s success. He needs to have a clear vision for success and growth, while also motivating the team to achieve all the goals. He should possess a great skill set of strategic thinking, effective communication, and the ability to build strong relationships to run the organization.

Hagen Berger, Managing Director at Exacom GmbH, is one such leader who has taken the initiative to provide the best x-ray solutions tailored for battery cells and make changes in the industry for the better. He aims to foster a safer, greener, and more resource-efficient future. 

An Inspiration-Led Journey

Hagen Berger is based in Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany. He graduated from the Technical University of Braunschweig and worked as a Business Development Manager at Viscom for nine years. In these years, he had already started working on battery cell inspection. It took a while until the first solution was developed and sold, which established its market presence and led to the growth of the business.

Hagen Berger hired Philip Eisele to develop CT inspection methods to have an inline solution that can handle the cycle times in battery production. This teamwork was so successful, that a broader customer base with higher demands was built. This led to the conclusion to spin-off own company from Viscom AG to react faster to the market demands and make decisions much faster. Ever since the spin-off company has been growing.

Shaping the Future of Battery Industry

Exacom specializes in designing, developing, and manufacturing X-ray solutions tailored for battery cells. The people at Exacom are driven by passion, innovation, unconventional thinking, honesty, reliability, and a focus on rapid, practical outcomes. Its cutting-edge high-speed X-ray imaging solutions are aimed at fostering a safer, greener, and more resource-efficient future. It has a young and dynamic team, that is highly focused on delivering solutions. What sets Exacom apart is its vibrant mix of individuals who enjoy their work, ultimately benefiting its customers immensely. It ensures that its battery solutions provide safety, outstanding performance, and long-term stability.

The core focus of Exacom involves the X-ray inspection of battery cells against specific quality and performance criteria. It sells these sophisticated systems and also provides comprehensive maintenance and support.  This ensures that the clients receive not only top-tier technology but also ongoing assistance to maintain optimal operation and performance of the equipment. This full-service approach helps guarantee that the systems function at their best, thereby enhancing both the safety and efficacy of battery cells used in various applications.

At Exacom, staying attuned to the market and listening closely to its customer’s needs is fundamental to its strategy. It continuously refines its processes and incorporates more rigorous controls based on where the majority of the customers are headed. The approach involves not just reacting to the market, but actively shaping the development through customer feedback. The direction of the company is largely influenced by the client’s needs, and the team strategically chooses which customer insights to follow to align its offerings.  This commitment to market observation and openness towards customer feedback ensures that the company remains flexible and responsive, adapting technologies and services to meet evolving demands.

Company’s Beliefs and Principles 

Hagen Berger says that self-organization and personalization play an important role at Exacom. Managers and colleagues strive to identify with customers’ problems and deliver solutions, hence, trying to serve as role models to them. The company constantly changes the organizational structures for the better, reacting to customer demands and internal insufficiencies. It is important for the team and organization to not only teach the people how technical or organizational things work but also educate everyone on how a company works. Transparency is highly valued, and all actions are carried out to be as transparent as possible.

Overcoming Hurdles

The biggest challenge Hagen Berger and his team face at Exacom is finding the right people with the necessary qualifications who are as committed and enthusiastic as the original few who started with the idea. Furthermore, turning these efforts into profitable ventures has been equally crucial. Notably, they have built operations without any external financing; they don’t rely on loans or investors. This independence from external capital has required meticulous financial planning and execution, making their achievements in innovation and market penetration even more significant.

Accelerating Growth 

A Company’s growth is crucial for its success. Exacom has been established a few years back but has experienced rapid growth in several key areas. The increase in its workforce has been notably steep, demonstrating expanding capabilities and the industry’s recognition of its value. Alongside this, it has seen a significant rise in both the number of orders received and overall revenue. This upward trend underscores its success in meeting market demands and solidifies its position as a key player in the industry, despite its relatively short history.

The development in the electric vehicle sector marked a pivotal moment for Exacom. The emerging trend highlighted the need for safe and reliable batteries for electromobility. Significant investments from both governments, which enacted supportive legislation, and companies, which heavily funded the expansion of battery capacities, catalyzed this shift. This convergence of regulatory support and private investment was a trigger point for their business, propelling it forward. The company’s ability to meet the heightened demand for high-quality battery inspection solutions has positioned it strategically within the industry, allowing it to grow and innovate in step with the booming electric vehicle market.

The Journey to Success

As a relatively young company, Exacom has established itself as a successful player in the market. Hagen Berger attributes this success to their solution-oriented approach and strong collaboration with its customers. These core values not only set them apart but also serve as the foundation for belief in long-term success. By continuously focusing on innovative solutions and maintaining excellent customer relationships, the company is confident in its ability to thrive and adapt to the evolving landscape of technology and customer needs.

A key aspect of its success lies in the product development approach, that all the products they have introduced to the market have been developed in close collaboration with its customers. Rather than conceptualizing products in isolation, the company works directly with customers to tailor its solutions to meet the customer’s specific needs. This process involves engaging a broad customer base to ensure its products genuinely address market demands.

As a result, Exacom doesn’t just create bespoke solutions for individual clients; instead, Hagen Berger and his team have been able to develop scalable, series solutions that cater to a diverse range of customers. This strategy not only meets the direct needs of its clients but also positions the company to adapt flexibly to broader market requirements.

Leadership Approach for Better Growth

Hagen Berger has been a great mentor to his team. About the work culture and responsibilities in his organization, he said that effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful venture. It’s essential to engage with as many people as possible, as frequently as possible. Individuals vary – some require more communication, others less, and one typically discerns this swiftly. If someone needs an in-depth discussion, it’s important to give them the time to express their thoughts rather than telling them what to do. Instead, provide an outline of the tasks that need to be done.

According to Hagen Berger, it is important to start with small responsibilities and gradually escalate, delegating more responsibility. Some will thrive under this trust, others may struggle. For the latter, more direct instructions are necessary. Surprisingly excellent results often emerge from this approach, sometimes exceeding expectations. Thus, mentoring is critical. It involves honest feedback about what is working and what isn’t, delivered straightforwardly without fear of offending. If something is inadequate, it’s more effective to be direct and address the issue promptly. Rather than dwelling on past mistakes, it’s about learning from them and moving forward.

Strategic Approach for the Company’s Success

At Exacom, decision-making is a collaborative process that values diverse perspectives from various departments, ensuring that no single individual drives the company’s direction. This collaborative ethos underpins its approach, recognizing that each team member’s voice is crucial to the team’s collective success. While the initial risk assessment may originate from executive leadership, input from employees across all expertise areas is integral to refining these evaluations.

Moreover, the company strategically mitigates potential risks by leveraging its core expertise and relying on a vast network of partner firms where its knowledge might be less extensive. Relying on these partnerships helps to minimize vulnerabilities and enhances overall resilience. The company nurtures a continuous improvement culture by frequently reassessing the organizational structure. Instead of rigid workflows, Exacom embraces agile methodologies and assembles necessary improvements. This adaptability is key to the ability to stay aligned with industry changes and maintain high performance levels.

Implementation of Technology

Technology has become an integral part of every industry. Exacom offers comprehensive care with technology that detects critical defects within battery production. The company’s systems go beyond simple pass/fail assessments; these provide detailed insights that help clients refine their manufacturing processes and significantly reduce costs by increasing the yield of good cells. Its approach is not just about sorting; it’s about making a tangible contribution to process improvement, ensuring the clients not only detect flaws but also enhance overall production efficiency and quality.

Risk Management for the Company’s Betterment

Innovation is a key factor in an organization’s success. Hagen Berger believes innovation inherently involves risks; one can only be innovative with taking them. The critical aspect is to evaluate the risk level – determining whether an action could be excessive or truly beneficial to support existing initiatives. Essentially, when innovation is directed toward stability, profitability follows naturally.

However, it’s vital to embrace certain risks knowingly. For instance, a failed venture could potentially ruin the entire company or merely result in a minor financial setback. By carefully evaluating and willingly taking risks, one can drive innovations that enhance stability, and profitability will ensue almost effortlessly. Once there are innovative products, the rest tends to fall into place with minimal additional concern.

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