The Espelkamp-based HARTING Technology group (Minden-Lübbecke district) remains on a clear path for growth: sales during the recently ended 2015/16 fiscal year (September 30) rose by 3.4 % to €586 million (previous year: €567 million). Excluding negative currency effects, growth would have amounted to 3.9%. That said, total sales nevertheless reached a new record high. Growth at the company is thus in line with the cautious forecast made by HARTING Board Chairman Philip Harting at the last annual press conference, held in December 2015.
“It was a challenging year. Since our growth was exclusively organic, the entire HARTING Board of Management is satisfied with the surplus. Consequently, we converted our announcement of the past year into a reality,” says Philip Harting, Board Chairman of the technology group.
The company’s business developed differently in the various worldwide regions where HARTING operates. In Europe, excluding Germany and the Middle East (EMEA), sales rose by an outstanding 9.8% to €201 million (previous year: €183 million). The jump in sales was first and foremost the result of orders from Southern Europe and Russia. By contrast, total sales in the other regions remained at the previous year’s level, e.g. in the Americas region. Sales there totalled €60 million (previous year: €61 million). Sales in Asia rose slightly, to €130 million (vs. €129 million). Germany also notched up slight sales growth, with the figure climbing to €195 million (previous year: €194 million). The HARTING Technology Group continues to generate two-thirds of total sales (around 67%) abroad.
“We had to fight for every order, for every euro in sales. In a market which is growing only slightly, prices are inevitably under pressure. Consequently, we’re looking to gain market shares via numerous new products,” said the Board Chairman.
Cautious optimism for the 2016/17 fiscal year
“The technology group has entered the new 2016/17 financial year strong,” Harting further emphasised. “A significantly stronger fourth quarter makes me confident that we’ll achieve stronger growth again in the current financial year – thanks to new products and solutions, too,” he continued, citing the examples of the new modules for the Han-Modular® and the new HARTING ix Industrial, M8 and HARTING T1 Industrial® mating faces.
In April of this year, HARTING won the prestigious HERMES AWARD for its HARTING MICA. This victory has given the entire technology group a boost, Philip Harting explained, citing joint projects with such prestigious companies as IBM, Microsoft and DEKRA. “The market introduction of the HARTING ix Industrial® connector, developed by HARTING together with Japanese technology company HIROSE, has also been very well received by the market and attracted significant attention from the competition. We have taken a big step forward,” Harting continued.
Global production footprint strengthened
The HARTING Technology Group is continuing its international growth strategy and strengthening its global production footprint. In July, a production facility in Silao and a sales office in Mexico City were opened in Mexico, while an initial expansion effort was completed in Romania, where components for the charging infrastructure for electromobiles are manufactured.
“Demand in the electric mobility sector is on the rise. A few weeks ago, we were selected as a direct supplier for VW Group for the first time for our specific e-mobility solution. Consequently, we are expanding our location in Sibiu, Romania,” explained HARTING Production Head Andreas Conrad. The location in India’s Chennai is also slated to be strengthened. A new production facility is planned for the current financial year which will mainly manufacture products for the transport, power generation and machinery sectors.
Digital transformation continues apace
The company’s digital transformation will also continue to be driven forward at a rapid pace, Conrad affirms. “Digital transformation is not an end in itself. We want to be faster, more efficient and improve our performance. The digital transformation of the technology group ensures the future viability of the company,” Conrad says. The company’s employees need to be brought along in tandem with the process through targeted training and continuing education, Conrad stressed. “They are key to the success of the digital transformation,” Conrad added.
Shaping technological change together with partners
HARTING will continue to work closely with partners on technological change, explained Dr. Frank Brode, Head of the Board of New Technologies. HARTING has been represented for many years in numerous national and international bodies, associations and organisations. In this context, Dr. Brode cited memberships in the smartFactory KL, the Industrie 4.0 platform, the Industrial Internet Consortium and the CoR-Lab (Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics), as well as co-operative efforts with the universities/technical institutes of Osnabrück, Bielefeld and Hannover. The partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is also part of this. Thus the technology group can, on the one hand, drive forward technological developments as a pioneer while, on the other, HARTING also benefits from the experience of other companies in the industry.
Strongly rooted in the region
HARTING is clearly committed to the three locations of Espelkamp, Rahden and Minden in the district of Minden-Lübbecke. “We invested some €47 million during the past fiscal year, a large part of which went to the location here. This is a clear commitment to the region,” says Maresa Harting-Hertz, Head of Finance and Purchasing.
Thus a large proportion of the total investments made during the previous 2015/16 fiscal year was invested in machinery and equipment (around €13 million) as well as in preliminary work for the new European Distribution Center (EDC) logistics centre in Espelkamp.
Some 50 million euros are slated to be invested during the current 2016/17 financial year – a new record sum! The lion’s share will flow to the EDC. Only a few days ago, final talks were held between the technology group and the city of Espelkamp. The building permit is expected within a few weeks.
58 new jobs added worldwide
Employee totals have also continued to develop positively. As at the end of fiscal 2015/16, the number of employees (including trainees) was 4,286 (previous year: 4,228). This represents an increase of 1.4%. HARTING thus created 58 new jobs over a 12-month period. Of these, 29 positions (a gain of 1.2%) were created domestically, and another 29 jobs (1.6%) were created abroad. At the three locations of Espelkamp, Rahden and Minden, HARTING employed a total of 2,396 individuals (including apprentices) (previous year: 2,367) as at September 30, 2016.
Recruiting the professionals and executives of tomorrow
HARTING continues to focus on youth. Training and education have been a major priority for the technology group for decades. In the new HARTING (NAZHA) training centre, which was expanded in 2015, commercial and technical-commercial apprentices as well as dual-study students are prepared for their future careers. As at 30 September, a total of 162 (previous year: 152) apprentices and dual-course students were being trained in 22 professions in the NAZHA. A new category added during the year is “Electronics technicians for automation technology”.
“Given the digital transformation, we need to introduce our young trainees to this process early on. They are the future shapers of digital change,” says Dr. Michael Pütz, Head of Human Resources, Plant Equipment and Law. As a result of the ongoing digitisation at HARTING, the technology group not only rigorously adapts training and personnel development to requirements, it also has the NAZHA itself focus strongly on digitisation.
Among new items is e.g. the NAZHA check-in. This online competition will replace the written recruitment tests starting in March of 2017. “This enables us to permit a large number of applicants to take a test at home. This makes our recruiting process significantly faster and more effective than before,” Dr. Pütz says. Also new is the Industrie 4.0 training unit. This is a demonstration facility that illustrates to HARTING visitors the various technological possibilities of digitisation. In the future, students will be able to connect to the machine with their smartphone and then individually fill tin cans with different mini chocolate bars.
HARTING trainees among the best
Margrit Harting, Senior Vice President and Partner, was also delighted that the NAZHA will continue to keep pace with these contemporary innovations. For decades, HARTING has been well-known far beyond the local region for its outstanding training. Only a few weeks ago, two HARTING trainees who had been trained to become IT specialists in application development were honoured as being among top trainees by the North Rhine-Westphalia Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Düsseldorf. “The fact that two HARTING apprentices have advanced so far at the national level is a great achievement,” said Harting.
2017: HARTING celebrates 70 years at the Hannover Messe trade show
The end of the annual press conference saw Philip Harting reveal yet another highlight for 2017. “At the next Hannover Messe a good four months from now we will have been consistently represented at this, the world’s largest industrial fair for 70 years. The Hannover Messe is by far the most important marketing tool for us, and we will be giving due attention to this event,” the Board Chairman announced.
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