Beckhoff Automation posted annual turnover of 620 million euros in 2015, an increase of 22 %, following a similarly successful 2014 financial year in which sales rose by 17 %. Managing Director Hans Beckhoff is very satisfied with the company’s development: “We won market share and grew much faster compared to the market as a whole. Our PC Control technology is increasingly the acknowledged market standard, and we are winning new customers worldwide with this extremely powerful technology.” Beckhoff explains that the favourable euro exchange rate naturally helped increase growth, as with all German manufacturers who export a large share of what they make, but added that, even after revising the figure to compensate for exchange rate influences, the resulting growth rate is still an impressive 17 %.
Beckhoff is well-represented in more than 75 countries with 34 subsidiary companies and distributors. Exports in 2015 accounted for 65 % of total sales. “Asia is contributing strongly to our growth,” says Hans Beckhoff. “However, subsidiaries in southern Europe and North America are also performing quite well.”
Hans Beckhoff has an optimistic outlook on 2016 and anticipates continued double-digit sales growth: “We have strong and growing levels of incoming orders.” In order to prepare the company for this expected growth, the campus at our company headquarters in Verl will be expanded by a further 27,000 m2 in 2016. Existing neighbouring industrial buildings have already been leased for this purpose and, after being renovated, will provide additional storage and production space in the second half of the year. “This appropriately prepares us for two further years of strong growth in terms of production output,” says a confident Hans Beckhoff.
Investment in research, sales and development
The Beckhoff sales and distribution network will also expand further in 2016, according to the Managing Director: “We aim to make our national sales network even larger with further regional offices in Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. Additionally, our global presence will be strengthened with new Beckhoff representative offices in Argentina, Colombia and Thailand.”
“We will again invest heavily in research and development in 2016, allocating funds of roughly 45 million euros. Technology is our business, but it is also a source of joy for us,” says Beckhoff, a graduate in physics. On the technological side, the hardware and software portfolio will be expanded in all Beckhoff PC-based control technology product groups. “Industrie 4.0 is becoming a reality. Ideas are being transformed into real products that enable machinery to be used far more productively, manufacturing more goods in higher quality,” states Hans Beckhoff. The first operational Industrie 4.0 and Internet of Things (IoT) products were presented at the end of 2015, with other solutions to follow at Hannover Messe 2016. As a result, existing systems, and of course new machines, can be connected to the global cloud in order to extend their locally available functions to include cloud-based services, such as comprehensive analytics features to increase data insight.
Expansion of successful talent development programmes
Beckhoff currently employs approximately 3,000 people worldwide. Of these, almost 2,100 work in Germany, with around 1,900 of those at the company’s global headquarters in Verl. Trained engineers account for one-third of the workforce. Hans Beckhoff is especially pleased about how keenly interested young talents are to work for the company: “Our unwavering commitment to develop junior staff and apprentices focused on industrial and academic disciplines is resulting in considerable success.” The company offers various technology subject areas as part of industrial training, and continues to expand this concept of on-the-job study. For example, an onsite master’s course will be offered in the future at the Gütersloh branch of Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences in addition to the current bachelor’s degree course.