In our anniversary year: HARTING Technology Group holds its own
The HARTING Technology Group in Espelkamp (Minden-Lübbecke district) held its own in the 2019/20 (September 30) business year despite the corona pandemic and the associated global economic plunge. Sales of the international active family-owned company were up slightly by 1.2 % to € 759 million (prior year: € 750 million).
"We stood up to the global corona pandemic. We are satisfied with the result," as CEO Philip Harting stated. As the COVID-19 situation will continue to determine economic and social life, the CEO expects a challenging fiscal year 2020/21 for the Technology Group.
Diverging developments in the regions
The regions in which HARTING is active worldwide developed differently in the 2019/20 financial year. Besides declines, we also achieved significant growth. Sales in Europe (excluding Germany) and the Middle East and Africa, also known as EMEA, remained stable at € 278 million (previous year: 278 million). In the Asian region, HARTING sales rose vigorously by 9 % to € 202 million (previous year: EUR 186 million). Growth in the Americas region was even more pronounced, recording a 15 % increase to € 82 million (previous year: 72 million). In Germany, sales were down by 8 % to € 197 million (previous year: 214 million).
A total of 205 new jobs created worldwide
The number of employees (including trainees) rose to 5,473 in the course of the 2019/20 financial year (previous year 5,268). This corresponds to an increase of 3.9 % or 205 jobs. In Germany, nine positions were not filled again (- 0.3 %), while 214 employees were hired at the foreign production facilities and subsidiaries (+ 8.0 %). Consequently, a total of 2,869 people were employed abroad on September 30, 2020, and 2,604 in Germany. Growth in the Americas and Asia is reflected in these figures.
Rapid and flexible response to the pandemic
Right from the outset, the Technology Group reacted quickly and flexibly to the ensuing pandemic. From the very beginning, the protection of employees as well as the supply of customers took top priority. This applies in particular to well-known manufacturers of medical and respiratory equipment with customer-specific cable assemblies which HARTING supplies. "We are and remain a reliable partner," as Philip Harting emphasized.
This applies in particular to customer and market communication, which was duly converted and expanded to digital formats. Since spring, events and web seminars have been held in a dedicated studio and streamed to customers, distributors and media worldwide. "Since we are globally networked we can react very quickly to changing conditions - and we are close to our customers," emphasized Philip Harting. Based on this new form of communication, HARTING is positioning itself for the future, as the CEO underlined.
The Technology Group will closely monitor the further course of the pandemic. A corona pandemic team evaluates the developments on a daily basis and recommends or takes measures, as Dr. Michael Pütz, member of the Board of Management responsible for Human Resources, underscored. As examples he mentioned the free corona tests in certain clinics in the Minden-Lübbecke district or the free mouth-nose masks for employees. "The extended home office regulation in cooperation with our IT also worked very well and is being very well accepted by our employees", said Dr. Pütz.
Focus on future topics DC industry, Single Pair Ethernet and E-Mobility
The HARTING Technology Group has clearly recognized the future topics of Single Pair Ethernet (SPE), DC industry and e-mobility and is driving them forward at full speed. HARTING coined the term Connectivity+ in summarizing these three topics.
HARTING is focusing on the topic of DC infrastructure and is working on the next revolution in industrial power supply in the DC industry research project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. Enormous energy costs can be saved by opting for direct current and HARTING is developing the appropriate connectivity for this purpose. Extensive areas of renewable energies and also storage technology are DC dominated. In conjunction with energy recovery measures, the growth in renewables is leading to an overall decrease in energy consumption from the AC grid. Industrial companies harnessing DC generation are saving energy costs and contributing to meeting CO2 emission targets. At present, around 40 industrial companies are involved in the DC-INDUSTRY joint project. "Central requirements for future interfaces will be derived from the work in the joint project," emphasised Dr. Kurt D. Bettenhausen, Board Member for New Technologies and Development. This is an approach that creates added value for customers.
HARTING has also continued to push forward with e-mobility issues: As a pioneer for reliable, clean and environmentally friendly e-mobility, HARTING offers tailor-made solutions and components for all relevant markets, as well as developing and producing charging equipment for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The HARTING Technology Group provides charging solutions for Volkswagen's modular e-drive system (MEB), the Audi e-tron and the Porsche Taycan. HARTING also offers a wide range of connectivity solutions in the periphery, i.e. decentralized energy storage for mobile applications, which contribute to the sustainable, CO2-reduced mobility of the future.
Further advances are also being made with IIoT and the associated Ethernet connectivity topics. HARTING recognized developments in this area at an early stage and created connectors for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) that set new standards. Partnership is a top priority here: HARTING is cooperating with the SPE Industrial Partner Network for a universal SPE Eco-System and creating the powerful infrastructure for the digitalization of industry. SPE brings cloud data down to the field and application level and back again.
Renewed high investment volume
In the financial year elapsed, the HARTING Technology Group once again committed considerable investments. "With a total of around € 65 million, we have almost reached the record volume of the previous year," as Maresa Harting-Hertz, Chief Financial Officer, responsible for Finance, Purchasing and Facility Management, underlined. In the 2018/19 financial year, capital expenditure reached a record level of € 66 million.
In the 2019/20 business year a large share of the investments were funneled into the digitalization of production at the subsidiary HARTING Electric in Espelkamp. In Romania, capacities were expanded in Agnita for Automotive, while the Connectivity & Networks area was extended in Sibiu. The plant in the USA (Elgin) has now also expanded production facilities in order to supply markets and customers faster. "We are now even more flexibly positioned worldwide to better factor in and respond to regional needs. With these investments we are clearly staying on course for growth," as emphasized Andreas Conrad, Chief Operations Officer.
75 years of HARTING: Festive ceremony in the Botta building in Minden
Our anniversary marked this year's highlight: The Technology Group celebrated its 75th anniversary on September 1 in the Botta Building in Minden with unique, festive ceremony in the presence of former Federal Presidents Dr. Joachim Gauck and Christian Wulff. Guests from business, politics and administration had accepted the invitation of the Harting family, the owners of the company. Philip Harting emphasized that the company would have liked to have celebrated this highlight even more elaborately together with customers and employees in order to thank them for the long-standing partnership and support - but Corona had not allowed this to happen.
"Creating Values for People": Sustainability and climate protection
"We want to create values for people" is the third part of the corporate vision formulated in 1996. The entrepreneurial family has always felt particularly committed to social responsibility - and lives up to their commitment. The company has been working for a good four decades to reconcile ecology and economy and had introduced an internal environmental award as early as 1989. In addition, the Technology Group consistently focused on the energy transition and is a founding member of the Association of Climate Protection Companies.
Since 2012, HARTING has been harnessing 100 percent CO2-free energy in the manufacturing area. The construction of two biomethane-fuelled cogeneration plants for the plants 2 and 9 in Espelkamp represents additional steps taken to reduce the CO2 footprint. This will further improve our energy balance and efficiency. "Sustainability and climate protection are the DNA of HARTING; we are consistently sustainable by conviction," as Philip Harting underscored.
Sustainability and climate protection are the DNA of HARTING; we are consistently sustainable by conviction.
Philip Harting was cautious with regard to the further developments of the current 2020/21 financial year. In view of the COVID-19 situation, the prospects have clouded. The business climate is very much dependent on the further global development of the pandemic and how quickly vaccinations will reach large sections of the population. "As a result, global demand varies from region to region. We will continue to navigate by sight,” says Philip Harting. Nevertheless, he believes that moderate sales gains in the low single-digit range are possible. "We have convincing products, customer-oriented positioning and a first-class team – so we can do it."
The HARTING Technology Group is one of the world's leading providers of industrial connection technology for the three lifelines of Data, Signal and Power and has 14 production plants and 44 sales companies. Moreover, the company also produces retail checkout systems, electromagnetic actuators for automotive and industrial series use, charging equipment for electric vehicles, as well as hardware and software for customers and applications in automation technology, mechanical and plant engineering, robotics and transportation engineering. In the 2019/209 business year, some 5,500 employees generated sales of EUR 759 million. Founded on 1 September 1945, the company celebrated its 75th anniversary this year.