Mr Brandl, let’s start by looking back at the 2016/17 business year. How would you sum it up?
The sales figures make extremely positive reading! 1.9 billion euros represents a record result for our company. Compared to the previous year we achieved a growth rate of 13 per cent. Even leaving out our acquisition of the electronics specialist IKOR we are still well above the market average. Such success would not have been possible without the confidence shown by our customers.
How are you planning to maintain this momentum?
By continuing to get even better. The new distribution center that we opened in May in Hollenbach for instance represents a major improvement for our customers. Here, the latest technology and an area of 38,000 square meters enable us to ship our products around the world more quickly (page 34). With further building projects at our sites in Lauf, Mulfingen, St. Georgen and Herbolzheim we are reacting to changes in customer requirements. On top of that we are also exploring new ways of developing a greater capacity for innovation. Our sense is that the topic digitization is gaining enormously in significance for our customers. Which is why, following on from the site in Osnabrück, we are opening a second start-up offshoot ebm-papst neo in Dortmund to research into new solutions for connectivity and the like.
In the spring you urged your workforce to commit themselves to the “one ebm-papst” corporate strategy. How does that relate to these developments?
The guiding principle behind “one ebm-papst” is to consolidate our strengths still further. With a clear objective: To become an even better partner for our customers. We are currently involved in a lot of projects, all ultimately aimed at accelerating our operations and enhancing efficiency. The concrete expression of that will be a shorter time-to-market. We discover such potential areas for improvement by talking to our customers. And that helps us to remain the ebm-papst they have come to appreciate. Just that we are even better.