Electrical engineering company Weidmüller posted sales of EUR 640.3 million for the 2013 financial year. With an increase of more than three percent, the electrical engineering specialist with headquarters in Detmold grew more than the industry average (-1.9% according to ZVEI) for the fourth year in a row. “In 2013 we were once again able to compete successfully in our market environment,” said Weidmüller CEO, Dr Peter Köhler, at the press conference at Hannover Messe 2014. “The good result was achieved through product innovation and our focus on expanding markets,” continued Köhler. Although forecasts for 2014 suggest a difficult year ahead, Köhler feels that the first few months provide grounds for optimism: “The order book is full and we have plenty to do,” said the Chairman.
Good results in Eastern Europe and Asia
The Asia-Pacific region proved once again to be a dynamic market in 2013 (+7%) and sales in Europe also increased slightly (+2%). Countries that yielded particularly high growth in 2013 were once again Russia (+43%) and China (+5%). Sales in Germany also increased slightly last year. “Besides steep increases in sales in the well-known growth regions, we also recorded strong sales growth in other markets,” said Köhler. In Japan, sales increased by over 50 percent, while in South Africa the figure was over 130 percent: “This is due to investments in the expansion of renewable energy,” explains Köhler. “We are particularly pleased about this, as we were able to score successes with innovative products and solutions, not to mention a portfolio that bodes well for the future”. Overall, worldwide sales of photovoltaic components and solutions almost doubled.
Expanded sales and development network
“In the current financial year we will continue to accelerate our activities in the growth regions and industries.” Last year Weidmüller already began to invest in the expansion of the sales and development network: “Our new sales and representative offices in Denmark, Finland, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Thailand, place us in closer proximity to selected growth markets,” explains Chief Marketing & Sales Officer Volpert Briel. “As part of the launch of our innovative u-remote product we also established a development centre in Singapore and a new ‘Electronic Interface Technology’ division at our headquarters in Detmold.”
New tasks in education and training
At the end of 2013 Weidmüller employed 4,600 people, thereby increasing the workforce by around 200 men and women. CEO Köhler is especially proud of the large number of trainees: “200 young men and women were training at Weidmüller in 2013,” said Dr. Köhler. With a training ratio of 7.5 percent, Weidmüller has more trainees than the industry average and in fact trains more people than it actually needs. The central facility for providing the first steps into the professional world is the ten-year old Weidmüller Academy, which last year received the ‘Place of Progress’ award from the NRW state government. “It is precisely in the globalised world with its new technological demands that the Academy helps us to train much-needed junior employees and establish networks amongst young people,” explains Köhler. “The topic of ‘Systems Engineering’, i.e. the bringing together of skills at an early stage, ideally during training, is becoming increasingly important, and not just against the backdrop of the development of Industry 4.0.”
Elke Eckstein joins the Weidmüller Executive Board
During the press conference, the new member of the Weidmüller Executive Board, Elke Eckstein, was also introduced. She was appointed Chief Operating Officer in December 2013 and is responsible for the expansion and optimisation of the supply chain, purchasing, production network as well as quality and environmental management. “This is the first time I have worked for a medium-sized family business and I am thrilled by the culture of co-operation and constant improvement,” explains Ms Eckstein. This is also an area in which she identifies the key to future success: “Optimum supply with the highest level of quality is no longer a unique selling point for companies, as this is now taken for granted by customers,” continues Ms Eckstein. “During my first 100 days at Weidmüller I experienced that innovative passion and strength, a willingness to critically review and optimise processes is a very pronounced characteristic of medium-sized companies.”
Growth stimulus from energy management and Industry 4.0
On the back of its long-standing commitment to energy efficiency, Weidmüller is presenting an all-round solution for energy management in Hannover. “We provide an almost unique solution by offering an integrated system of hardware components combined with tailored software and consulting services,” explains Weidmüller Chief Financial Officer, Harald Vogelsang. “The energy management system gives customers the ability to measure and evaluate their energy consumption, develop options for taking action and energetically optimise their processes.” Energy management has already proved its worth at Weidmüller's production facilities. Weidmüller also expects additional market stimulus from the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” or Industry 4.0. “Industry 4.0 is no longer a vision confined to the drawing board; it has increasingly become a reality,” explains Köhler. It is now time to ramp up the pace of development. “Other countries have also recognised the opportunities of development and are stepping up their efforts in matters concerning Industry 4.0,” says Köhler. “What we absolutely need to have in place for maintaining the credibility of Industry 4.0 is systematic further development and continuous implementation of concrete applications.”
The Weidmüller Group Executive Board: Harald Vogelsang (Chief Financial Officer), Elke Eckstein (Chief Operating Officer), Volpert Briel (Chief Marketing and Sales Officer) and Dr Peter Köhler (Chairman of the Executive Board)
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