At the beginning of 2017, the cordial founder and longtime managing director, Mr. Heinz Schneckenaichner, died unexpectedly at the age of 79. In his commemoration, we publish an interview that his successor François Rousies has led with him on the occasion of the 20-year company anniversary.
In 1995 the Munich businessman Heinz Schneckenaichner decided to establish a cable manufacturing company: Cordial, thereby laying the foundation of an amazing success story, which has since been continued by his successor, François Rousies. In celebration of the company’s anniversary the founder met the new company owner for a highly interesting conversation about the past, present and future development of Cordial.
François Rousies: Dear Mr. Schneckenaichner, how did you start Cordial?
Heinz Schneckenaichner: Since the 1950s I had worked as managing director for the Adam company where we started to manufacture ready made cables in the mid-70s. At that time we produced our first own ready made cable using our bulk cables and connectors provided by our long-time partner Neutrik. And then the Sennheiser company came into play. They not only needed connectors for their microphones but a fitting cable as well to introduce a promising all-in-one solution to the market. Adam then manufactured these cables and called them “audio cables”. That was one of the decisive moves towards founding Cordial on January 12, 1995.
Rousies: And the name? How did you come up with Cordial?
Schneckenaichner: Well, that took us quite a while. After turning over lots of fruitless ideas we came up with the idea to utilize the English expression for cable, i.e. “cord”, and finally a colleague of mine thought up our brand name “Cordial”.
Rousies: Today, 20 years later, we’re still a driving force in our market sector – not least due to our ample experience – because we can provide a top quality that’s not so easy to clone. The brand Cordial has an excellent reputation. Our users do not just buy a cable, they buy Cordial.
Schneckenaichner: And that’s the way it should be. Quality, though, was and is not the only reason that has made Cordial the market leader…
Rousies: Right. Beside the quality of our products we can always boast of treating our customers fairly and of having maintained superb, long term relations with our trading partners.
Schneckenaichner: There’s really no other way. (contemplating) And what kind of cable is this? (picking up the white Snow cable from the table)
Rousies: This is our novel Snow cable, all in white. For Apple fans and style conscious users. It’s selling like hotcakes. „This helps us to be the first and the best in the marketplace.“
Schneckenaichner: In my times we didn’t have white cables but other than that all kinds of colours. I remember products in purple and turquoise, colours that nobody would probably cherish today.
Rousies: Could you imagine in 1995 that Cordial would develop so positively?
Schneckenaichner: Yes, I envisioned that Cordial would turn out great. When you took over as managing director after the separation from Adam in autumn 2005 I was already confident and even more so now after your management buy-out that has made you the owner of the business. It’s good to see that you have not only kept your position as market leader in the ready made and MI cable sector but even extended your lead.
Rousies: Thanks for the compliments, Mr Schneckenaichner – but let’s not forget that the ground was laid by you! And: I haven’t changed the basic company philosophy, the basic attitude. We have just evolved appropriately. Today you have to be present in social media networks, so marketing conditions have thoroughly changed. We have not only adapted accordingly, we always have our ears on the ground to react fast and keep up our close customer relationships. That is why we always get to know pretty early which products our users require, what the trends are. It helps us to be the first and the best in the marketplace.
Schneckenaichner: And – as we used to say – to offer first-rate quality at fair prices.
Rousies: In the meantime we have refined our brand presence and created an up-to-date Corporate Identity but that alone doesn’t really cut it, of course. People buying Cordial assume a high quality of the products, anyway. Instead of just looking at specs like impedance, attenuation and signal strength users more and more appreciate so-called soft facts.
Schneckenaichner: That was really different in my days. So, what are users really interested in?
Rousies: It’s really crucial proving that you are a reliable logistics partner: Today, customers are budget-conscious but also really demand prompt delivery of the ordered merchandise to exactly where they need it. Additionally, qualified customer advice, i.e. recommending just the appropriate product for the user’s needs, has become more and more important.
Schneckenaichner: Is it actually true that Cordial packaging is recyclable nowadays – at least that’s what I recently learned.
Rousies: Oh yes, it is biodegradable and can be composted. It does not contain any toxic plastic materials – that’s something that Cordial stands for today, too.
Schneckenaichner: Even then we tried to avoid using plastics as far as possible, we mainly relied on cardboard. But another question I’d like to ask you, Mr Rousies: Where would you like to see Cordial in 20 years?
Rousies: I don’t think we’ll change any essentials in the upcoming years. We are, certainly, focusing more strongly on other relevant sectors today, e.g. Pro-Audio. And though we are already market leaders in some countries my dream is to continue being so successful and extend our success to areas outside of Europe.
Schneckenaichner: Which markets are you targeting?
Rousies: The American continent, meaning not only the USA. I also think that parts of Africa will become a significant issue for us in the next 10 to 20 years. On the whole I see Cordial as a key cable partner in the light, audio and video business, worldwide. No longer will we only be active in sales and distribution but also act as a service provider for music and sound in general. That is my vision, that is my goal!"