Innovation still the name of the game

The great challenges of world market leaders

At the 2nd German Congress of World Market Leaders, representatives of top German companies discussed the major challenges facing German industry.

From 24 to 26 January 2012, more than 300 high-ranking representatives of German companies met in Schwäbisch Hall for the 2nd German Congress of World Market Leaders. Under the motto “Preserving resources – Developing growth potential”, they discussed what Germany’s world market leaders will have to do to secure their competitiveness for the future. For the second time, ebm-papst was present at the event with presentations and its own stand. In addition, the company invited all congress participants to a tour of its modern factory in Hollenbach.

The content of the presentations and open discussions were orientated around the major challenges such as dwindling stocks of raw materials and the demographic change in Germany. Below we have summarised the most important trends and results for you.

Dwindling raw materials

When it comes to raw materials, independence is the big buzzword, as Dr. Bruno Lindl, Managing Director Research and Development of the ebm-papst Group stressed in his presentation. To counter the worldwide effect of ever-dwindling stocks of raw materials, it is vitally important to exploit sources “outside your own front door”. That is why the trend is moving towards biomaterials, which is eminently sensible from an environmental perspective. ebm-papst’s declared goal is to increase the proportion of sustainable materials. A first step here is the “bio-fan” made out of epylen, a wood/plastic composite..

Demographic change

German innovation leaders are increasingly lacking up-and-coming staff. That is something which is noticeable in particular among companies with rural locations. To prevent them from being left behind, it is important for world market leaders to offer attractive training packages. ebm-papst thus offers a wide range of training and study courses for graduates – with the declared intention of taking them on permanently when they have completed the course. These trainees are not just trained in their own specialised field. They are also encouraged to work independently on more intricate projects. For example, there are “energy scouts” looking for savings potential in production. Other trainees visit schools to prepare the next generation for their working life with application training. Trainees also take personal responsibility for their own website , where interested persons can learn about ebm-papst’s training activities.

Gallery: the 2nd German Congress of World Market Leaders


Many globally active companies are currently in the process of adjusting the strategic and organisational orientation of their non-domestic subsidiaries. Much is happening in particular in the growth region China. Instead of being just an “extended workbench”, the country is increasingly developing as a sales market in its own right. Instead of cheap products, hightech innovations are growing enormously in terms of importance. There are now more patent applications in China that there are in the former boom region of Japan, as Bosch executive Franz Fehrenbach noted at the congress. That means it is important to actively place value creation in the Asiatic markets, for example by investing locally in training and development there.


Innovations are and always will be the most important commodity of the world market leaders. In his presentation, Festo CEO Eberhard Veit highlighted the urgency of a structured innovation management system. Even in times of crisis, it remains important to stick to the trends of energy efficiency and process automation with new developments. With its GreenTech initiative, ebm-papst is a pioneer in this field, something which is highlighted by the large number of awards it has received.

More information and detailed reports on the 2nd German Congress of World Market Leaders.

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