The entire work of Zedler-Group is focused on the main idea of promoting the bicycle as energy-efficient and sustainable means of transport and sports equipment. We are of the opinion that cycling is the easiest and healthiest way to travel short and medium distances. We believe that our work directly contributes to a sustainable lifestyle and a more livable world.
We assume social responsibility, not only with our business tasks, but also directly and permanently in our daily work routine and with numerous activities for the benefit of the general public carried out on our initiative and with our support. Our main focus is the well-being of our staff, the honorary promotion of the bicycle as a means of transport, environmental protection, the support of training and further training in the field of bicycles as well as charitable work.
The success of Zedler-Institut is based on a strong and motivated team. Therefore, we are highly interested in providing agreeable conditions for our staff members. Our cooperation is characterised by mutual respect and communicative frankness. It is important to us that the work performance of each staff member including his/her personality is appreciated. For this reason we see to it that our employees find the perfect balance between job and private life. Zedler-Group offer the options of flexible working time models as well as part-time jobs. This applies in particular to mothers who get the chance to return to work sooner.
Our employees are offered the possibility of further training at congresses and seminars. We promote this training by contributing to the costs. In order to maintain and create new jobs we make long-term and economic decisions. This builds up framework conditions for long-term employee retention.
In our opinion, a good working atmosphere is essential. We therefore invest a lot in large working spaces to create a pleasant ambience for our team members. This includes for example silent computers with two big, low-radiation monitors. A high share of real wood desks and plenty of plants around the entire working area create a friendly working environment.
Enthusiasm for the bicycle
We welcome the bicycle enthusiasm of our team members also in their leisure time. They hereby gain practical experiences for their work and boost their health. For this reason we support in many ways our employees who commute by bike. There are test bicycles and pedelecs for commuting available for everyone in the company. In return the employees document the route, irregularities, wear and in the case of pedelecs every battery charge. These bicycles are regularly serviced in the company own workshop to ensure that they are safe and comfortable at any time. Free helmets and locks can be used, as well as weather protected bicycle parking close to the company’s entry. There are clean shower facilities and regularly washed towels available inside. Everyone has a locker and access to drying rooms for his/her cycle clothing and personal stuff.
Those who participate in sports competitions can also count on our support: For their employees Zedler-Institut pay the start fee for the cycle tour Ludwigsburger Barockrundfahrt, the Sachsenheim Lichtenstern-Tour as well as for the running events Citylauf Ludwigsburg and the company run of Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung.
We know how important an adequate training for the future life of every single human being is. We therefore support adolescents and young adults on their way into the world of working by giving them the opportunity to develop. In addition, we are committed to the qualified offspring of the sector, as we are convinced that training will improve the work quality in the cycle industry.
In 2004, Sachverständigenbüro Zedler was the first company in Baden-Wuerttemberg to take on trainees for the job as bicycle mechanic. Since then, numerous special care adolescents from a disadvantaged social background have successfully finished their training in our company. Furthermore, we strengthen this low-threshold access to the cycle industry by sending examiners into the respective board of examiners of the CCI Stuttgart region. In addition, we have been training two-wheel bicycle mechanics in our workshops since 2014. In the field of this apprenticeship Zedler-Group are also one of the first to offer such training in Baden-Wuerttemberg.
Educational partnership with three schools
To stimulate curiosity for the jobs in the cycle industry and to teach pupils the significance of safe and reliable bicycle technology, they can get an insight into our activities already during the compulsory basic education. In March 2013 we entered an educational partnership with three schools in Marbach upon Neckar. For these pupils a bicycle workshop was established at our own expenses at the school premises. Once a week one of our two-wheel master mechanics is on site together with the school social worker to teach the pupils. In addition, we offer the introductory internships BOGY and BORS and regularly open workshop, laboratory and bicycle museum to school classes.
Dirk Zedler as consultant in the master class
We support the professional training of the offspring of the sector with managing director Dirk Zedler holding lectures at the master class at Bundesfachschule für Zweiradtechnik (federal school for two-wheel technology) in Frankfurt.
Furthermore, team member Karsten Michalska volunteers in the board of examiners at the Munich Chambers of Crafts and at the CCI Stuttgart region for cycle mechanics. At the CCI Stuttgart, Dirk Zedler also has been active as voluntary examiner since 2007.
Lectures for professionals
On the occasion of lectures held at conferences of the cycle industry we share our knowledge and experience gained during the past 20 years with professionals. This includes among others lectures at the cycle conference vivavelo in Berlin and at events of the German Association for Materials Research and Testing DVM (Deutscher Verband für Materialforschung und -prüfung e.v.). To students we offer the opportunity to write their theses in our company. We have already supported numerous graduates of bachelor and master studies as well as technicians and graduate engineers.
Eco-friendly mobility is not only a job-related topic we support. We also aim to design the basic conditions of our professional commitment as sustainable as possible. Based on this conviction Zedler-Group focus in particular on environment and resource-friendly activities in their different business fields.
Whenever possible we try to leave environment and resources untouched. The core issue of our work is our support of reparable products made to last. From the beginning of his career as bicycle expert, company founder Dirk Zedler has been explaining consumers in specialist articles and TV reports that it makes no sense buying cheap “disposable bicycles” from specialist stores, because you do not save money and harm the environment.
Economical use of resources
In our top segment we place value on the economical use of resources. In this connection special attention is paid to frames and carbon components: The production of them consumes a lot of energy and at the end of their service life the carbon-reinforced plastic is difficult to recycle. With the thorough analysis in our test laboratory prior to series production we contribute to ensuring that less short-life products are launched on the market. Our test procedures help find out whether used parts sustained damage after a fall. The unnecessary replacement of sound frames and components can hereby be avoided. Thanks to our scientifically substantiated evidence, it is also possible for specialised companies to repair damaged carbon frames in accordance with liability laws, which lengthens their service life and hereby saves additional raw materials and energy.
Energy-saving travelling – resource-friendly mobility
In daily business as well as on the occasion of extraordinary operations for our customers we deliberately make sure that energy and raw materials are used efficiently. And this regardless of the fact whether they are low-priced or expensive. Business trips are made by rail whenever possible. For this purpose the employees are given a Bahncard (railcard) by the employer. With this card they travel to their business meetings in an energy-saving way by producing low emissions and by reducing the risk of congestion and personal stress. That works: About three fourths of all business trips of Zedler-Group are made by public transport or by bicycle. Our business partners are also involved in our resource-friendly mobility. Visitors are picked up at the station with the company tandem.
Employees commuting by bike benefit from numerous advantages, such as a free use of the bicycle and pedelec fleet, shower and locker rooms, protected bicycle stands close to the main entrance and free drinks and juice made from regional fruits.
When selecting business partners Zedler-Group also decide in favour of short distances and prefer the cooperation with local companies that also appreciate eco-friendly work processes. Exemplary are the cooperations with a machine engineering shop located in the neighbourhood and a print shop in the Stuttgart region that uses sustainable FSC®-paper for our basic user manuals. The vincinity to our subcontractors reduces CO2 emissions and promotes the diversity of trade and working places in our region. If necessary, we even accept higher costs than those offered for example by a cheaper supplier in the Far East the sustainability of which we cannot check.
Energy-saving and low-emission work processes
In our headquarters we attach great importance to energy-saving and low-emission work processes: We only use for example, power from renewable sources originating from the hydroelectric power plant Schönau in Germany’s Black Forest. In addition, we try to use electricity and warmth in an efficient way. Each testing system running in our test laboratory needs large amounts of compressed air that is generated by compressors. Normally, 80 % of the power used is lost as waste heat. Thanks to a specially developed recuperation system we are able to use the waste heat as heating for our building, thus saving a lot of energy. Furthermore, we decided against a power-guzzling air condition in our offices. Thanks to a sophisticated plan there is always someone of our team on site who lets in fresh air into the building ensuring agreeable temperatures at our working places in summer.
As regards the contact with our customers we also maintain a reasonable use of resources. At least 95 % of the correspondence is electronical, which saves high amounts of paper every year. A further optimization of the paper consumption is achieved by the exclusive use of recycling paper for internal documents with double-sided printing. Whenever possible bicycles and components are dispatched in used cardboard boxes of a neighbouring bicycle shop. The dispatch is performed climate-neutral with the DHL GoGreen program in which we have been participating since its launch in 2006.
Help the world become a better place: As we are influenced by the spirit of environmental consciousness, we also support social projects not only as a company, but also as individuals within the scope of our economic capabilities.
For this reason we refrain from offering gifts, Christmas cards or the like to our customers or business partners. We regularly remit instead important amounts exceeding the costs for gifts by far to organisations, such as Aktion Deutschland Hilft, Greenpeace, Ärzte ohne Grenzen, SOS Kinderdorf, Unicef and WWF.
Sponsorships for children
In addition to the donations, we took on the sponsorship of children in the Third World. Since 2005 Sachverständigenbüro für Fahrradtechnik Zedler has been sponsoring the godchild Fatimata Ba in Senegal, since 2010 Zedler-Institut has been sponsoring their godchild Mangi Lal in India and since 2017 GDFS has been sponsoring their godchild Milady Jamileth Briones Macias in Ecuador
Bicycles for Africa
As regards our social commitment, our core issue bicycle is also of major importance: In Africa bicycles provide a better and more independent life for many people, because on this continent one bicycle is used by five persons on average. Since 2014, we have therefore donated 30 Cent per kilometre cycled by the “Zedler team” at the Ludwigsburger cycle tour to World Bicycle Relief. In 2014 we were able to finance and deliver ten bicycles developed for use under African conditions. That means that 50 Africans were able to organise their life better and more independent due to the joint use. In 2015 another charity partner was found with the German high school Evangelisches Lichtenstern-Gymnasium in Sachsenheim, so that the kilometres cycled added up to all in all 21 bicycles for Africa making mobile more than 100 further African people.
Bicycle workshop for three Marbach schools
Though we are aware of the fact how necessary global help is, we do not lose sight of the region: Since 2015, the bicycle workshop for three Marbach schools set up and maintained by Zedler-Institut has opened its doors also to the workgroup asylum. This gives participants of the workgroup as well as asylum seekers the opportunity to repair and maintain the donated bicycles.
Directly at the company headquarter we are active, as well: Zedler-Institut designed, built and assembled special bicycles – even with blue lights – for the ambulance men of the Red Cross. With these bicycles they can move much faster for example at major events in Ludwigsburg (City run, City festival etc.).
We all know the value of charitable work can hardly be put into bare figures. For this reason, Zedler-Group supports the bicycle as well as the pedelec for free in many ways.
Commitment within committees and workshops
The quality and safety of bicycles and e-bikes as well as the professionalism of the manufacturers and retailers are our concern. Dirk Zedler and his team members therefore share their professional expertise on a voluntary basis with other specialists having the same objectives. The voluntary commitment to the DIN-committee for bicycles is of great importance on a national level. Since 1995 graduate engineer Dirk Zedler has been involved in the further development of the future-oriented technical standards. In addition, we share our experience in the field of material reseach and testing with members of Deutscher Verband für Materialforschung und -prüfung e.V. (DVM) (German Association for Materials Research and Testing) and are involved in the development of high-quality workshops in bicycle engineering. The latest issue of Zedler – Institut für Fahrradtechnik und -Sicherheit GmbH was the joint development of the guidelines for modifications on pedelecs (guidelines for parts replacement) together with the retailer specialists of Verbund Service und Fahrrad (VSF g.e.V.) (German service and bicycle association) as well as Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV) (German Bicycle Association). These guidelines list all components on electric bicycles which can be replaced without the manufacturer’s or driving system supplier’s permission as well as all parts which need their permission for liability reasons.
Assistance for magazines and test institutions
In addition to remunerated work, Zedler-Group persistently support renowned magazines and independent test institutions which on their part are in a position to inform interested consumers objectively and meaningfully about the advantages and deficiencies of current products on the market. Following the highly controversial pedelec test of the German product testers at StiWa’s in 2013, Dirk Zedler invited the responsible test and business unit managers to visit his test laboratory in order to analyse with them the mistakes made during the test setup and how to avoid these mistakes in future. The Zedler team invested all in all six man-days to bring StiWa into the position to create more informative laboratory tests for pedeles in future.
Two days per year Dirk Zedler speaks at the master class of Bundesfachschule für Zweiradtechnik (federal school for two-wheel technology) in Frankfurt, where he teaches up-to-date knowledge in material characteristics and construction in the field of materials, i.e. carbon-fibre compound materials (carbon). Besides these two obligatory days in the learning program, Dirk Zedler commits another whole day to presenting the test laboratory in Ludwigsburg to the future two-wheel master mechanics. This is to cross the bridge between theory and practice.
As supporter of the German branch association VSF we do not only support the work of the trade association financially, but also by offering technical training, i.e. on the occasion of VSF-Akademie or the cycle conference vivavelo as well as by providing individual counselling for VSF members.
Specialist presentations in the sector
Furthermore, we strengthen the competence of manufacturers, distributors, specialist retailers and bicycle and e-bike mechanics with independent specialist presentations during seminars and on the occasion of further training, i.e. "Basic knowledge of pedelec technology" (Battery University, Karlstein), "Liability pitfalls in the cycle industry" (Business Brunch, Schweinfurt), "Responsible lightweight constructions" (practical seminar, Lucerne), "Expert walk e-bike" (Eurobike Show, Friedrichshafen ), "Damage incurred in practice on carbon components" (Fahrrad-Entwicklerkongress (bicycle developer conference), Munich) or "CE-marking in the case of pedelecs" (Stevens Vertriebs GmbH, Hamburg). These kinds of training are often given free-of-charge or at considerably reduced rates to ensure that as much interested specialists as possible are able to participate.
In the industrial area around Baden-Wuerttemberg’s state capital Zedler-Group is voluntarily engaged in the professional training at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) Stuttgart region. Dirk Zedler has greatly contributed to establishing the recognised apprenticeship trade "bicycle mechanic" in the region. Together with Karsten Michalska (two-wheel master mechanic and bicycle expert in the Zedler team) he works on a voluntary basis as expert in the board of examiners.
In the region Zedler-Group also supports sustainable mobility and in particular the recognition of the bicycle and the e-bike. Since 2011 we have been participating in the Working Group "Electromobility" of the City of Ludwigsburg (member of the test region electromobility Stuttgart) together with other specialists from industry, research and trade in projects like "Ludwigsburg elektrisiert!" (Ludwigsburg electrifies!).
As we take part in events like "Radkulturtag" (an event celebrating the bicycle) and the open-house event of the local industrial zone and as the work and the community commitment of Zedler-Group are often subject of media reports in the press, awareness for both the bicycle and the pedelec are created in people’s minds thus strengthening its reputation as reasonable alternative to the established public means of transport. Thanks to numerous articles on our bicycle commitment in regional daily newspapers (Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung, Bietigheimer Zeitung, Marbacher Zeitung, Neckar-und Enzbote, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Stuttgarter Zeitung) and business magazines (179-Wirtschaftsregion Stuttgart, Ludwigsburger Wirtschaftsbrief, Magazin Wirtschaft of CCI Stuttgart, Nemo) we have been able to draw the attention to the bicycle in the large Stuttgart region more than any other private company.
Historical bicycle collection
Already in the very beginning of working as bicycle expert Dirk Zedler started to build up a collection of extraordinary bicycles from the past 200 years together with the Ludwigsburg-based bicycle lover Helge Schultz. Today, this collection comprises about 300 objects and is thus one of the biggest collections in Europe. To date the historical bicycles have been presented in the rooms of the company or used for tours only on the occasion of special events, such as “Radkulturtag 2015”. The new headquarter which will be finished just in time for the 200th birthday of the bicycle in 2017 will provide space to present the comprehensive collection also to a broader public.