Over 90 years of Coko success – the timeline of an eventful history with many twists, turns, inventions and advancements. From these beginnings it has since made the transition into the 21st century, and thanks to a sustained and growing success, the company has become internationally established in its field.
The discovery of plastic, saw its heyday in the 60s and early 70s and Coko capitalised on the trends of the time and, thanks to the commitment and the efforts of an ambitious group of colleagues, began to drive the company forward. Flexibility and the aim to always deliver the highest quality have allowed Coko to continually grow its customer base by acquiring prestigious companies and have contributed to the firm’s continued success.
Discover the exciting history of Coko and learn about how a mid-sized company from Lippe has developed over the course of almost a century in business.
1926 was an eventful year. Germany obtained a permanent seat in the League of Nations, the people of London were presented with the television and the approaching global economic crisis was looming large over Germany. But sustained economic success was only assured for a lucky few. It was during these difficult years of recession that Conrad Koch made a virtue of necessity and founded Coko in Kassel in 1926. He created the company name by combining the first two letters of his forename and surname and the origins of the homespun company name are still recognisable today. The business specialised in producing and selling electrostatic cleaning devices.
The company was successful, even at a very early stage. Products made from celluloid saw a massive upturn. But in the late 30s marked a further milestone in the company’s development. Following the outbreak of war, it was only possible to process celluloid on a smaller scale.
What is more, Coko’s production was so severely restricted due to increasing damage caused by the military air strikes that Conrad Koch was forced to move his business to Metz in 1941. In newly appointed premises, he built a production facility for items manufacturing using plastic injection moulding.
The facility in Metz was ultimately moved to Schötmar in 1944 right before the war came to an end. The surrounding areas of Bad Salzuflen had meanwhile become renowned as a hub for celluloid production and secured a highly qualified, specialist workforce. In Schötmar, Conrad Koch started up in a number of buildings in Uferstraße.
Conrad Koch correctly predicted that celluloid would decrease in popularity and set to work on processing modern substances.
Every (new) beginning is hard. During the first few years in Uferstraße, the setup of the Coko factory was rather makeshift. But the positive business growth that followed at the end of the war quickly called for more than creative use of a rented workspace. It was time for a new headquarters!
In the same year that the Federal Republic of Germany was founded, the company secured a property in the industrial quarter in Otto-Hahn-Straße.
In 1951, Conrad Koch and his staff celebrated breaking ground for the new production workshop. With ever increasing success, Coko produced its products and sent them out into the world. The “unbreakable nylon comb” quickly became a best seller and made a name for itself all over the world. In 1952, the machine plant and the company’s range of services was further expanded with the addition of our tool workshop.
The margarine figurines made using injection moulding, essentially the Kinder eggs of post-war children, became a huge success. As of 1952, this branch of production formed the basis for injection moulding all kinds of thermoplastic materials.
An important milestone in 1969 in the growth of the Coko factory was the groundbreaking ceremony for a new modern operation facility on the newly acquired industrial site in Holzhausen where initial construction took place, measuring a total of 2,500 square metres. Using new production methods as well as different patents and samples were the basis for the company’s continued expansion, and for the many years to come.
Typical Coko products in the 60s included furniture components for the domestic industry and then marketing items for customers such as HB, Brinkmann, Reemtsma, Beiersdorf and Schwarzkopf as well as blown plastic bottles and containers for cleaning products for Colgate Palmolive (Ajax), among others.
Reinhard Spieker, who had been employed at the Coko factory after completing his studies from 1962, took over management of the factory following a short break in 1971. In 1972, Willi Koerner joined the company as an authorised signatory and sales director. Then in 1973, Manfred Saarmann joined the company as commercial director and lastly came operations manager Klaus Dreskrüger in 1980, completing the executive board.
From then on, the new management team used their decisiveness and expertise to determine further success of the company. This enabled Coko to produce both technical housing components in the 70s and to develop the first computer housings for Nixdorf and the first Philips keyboards. At this time, operations were also expanding due to producing large components for TSG including finishing services for the Lippe furniture industry, which ensured that the Coko plastics works continued to see significant growth.
The new management team was repeatedly able to acquire prestigious corporations from various markets as clients. For example, this is how the computer housings for the very famous Commodore Hemicomputer C 64 were produced. IBM, NCR and HP also entrusted the company with producing their housing components. Companies such as Buderus and Wolf Garten lawnmowers too.
And here’s yet another milestone in the company’s history: thanks to constant growth, in 1985 the business had no other option but to commission two large production plants along with an administration building 9-11 Porschestraße in Holzhausen.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the acquisition of markets in the new German states offered the industry even more sales opportunities. The economy received a kick-start, but clients also became more demanding.
The satisfaction of our clients is paramount. The constant pursuit of perfection is always Coko’s objective. The company’s clients should never have to settle for less.
Continuous efforts to improve quality through the DIN ISO 9001 certification and the higher qualification of VDA 6.1 in addition to ongoing employee training courses are just two examples of the day-to-day operations at Coko. Protecting the environment and recycling are not foreign concepts at Coko. In 1997, the company passed an eco-audit and also received a DIN EN ISO 14.001 certification.
At Coko, we are well equipped to effectively handle any challenges the future may bring. The company is among the most modern in its field. The business, which is still seeing dynamic growth, now boasts a space measuring 35,000 m². From plastics engineering consultation, bespoke tool production and surfacing treatments or assembly of components all the way up to the finished product, Coko is a one-stop shop systems provider. As a matter of course, we hold ourselves to strict total quality management procedures in accordance with international standards.
Continually growing sales performance fully reflects the above-average growth of the company and is making history. In 2000, the company surpassed the lofty heights of 100 million Deutschmarks.
Opening of the Poland branch (shop-in-shop) and VDA 6.1 advanced certification in Bad Salzuflen.
In 2007, it was decided that SAP was to be used as the new ERP system on site at Bad Salzuflen and this was installed a year later. Coko also invested in the MoldFlow simulation software.
The same year, a showroom was built at the Bad Salzuflen site where the sales department also set up its offices. Here the diverse product range can be viewed by clients and other guests alike.
Coko established a painting and finishing plant.
In keeping with ongoing globalisation and in order to directly supply our largest client, Bosch & Siemens Hausgeräte, which already owns plants in Turkey, in 2010 the management decided to open a new facility in Turkey which began to carry out the painting and finishing work just one year later.
Shortly before the end of 2010, with production sites in Bad Salzuflen, Lodz (Poland) and Cerkesköy (Turkey), Coko exceeded the 100 million euro threshold.
The new plant in Turkey began production.
The market in Poland has seen enormous growth in recent years. This is one of the reasons why, in 2011, Coko’s management realised that was essential to build an additional production site in Poland as the current site in Lodz had reached its maximum capacity.
A suitable location was found near Lodz airport and it was there that a facility was built that was roughly the same size as the first.
Production has been undertaken there since September 2012.
Completing and opening a fully-automated high-bay storage warehouse at the Bad Salzuflen site. Due to ever increasing customer requirements and the focus on optimising logistics processes, in 2013, 5 million euros were invested in construction of a new logistics warehouse.
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