Innovation and Stability Equal Success for KNAPP

Press information: Published on in Company, Locations, Technology

For the KNAPP AG, the past fiscal year, though challenging, was once again extremely successful. Despite the difficult economic situation, the technology company’s turnover continued to grow as it had over the past years. The excellent outcome of the fiscal year 2022/23 allows the company to continue investing in new technologies and to expand its subsidiaries in Austria and worldwide.

Changes in how people work and demographic developments have led to a worldwide labor shortage. Increased automation provides a solution. The continuing demand for automated warehouse solutions and logistics software was reflected in a very successful business year for the technology company KNAPP. As of March 31, 2023, the group reported a turnover of 1.96 billion euros, marking an increase of 18 % from the previous year’s figure of 1.66 billion euros. Turnover in the North American economic area made an important contribution, which was made possible through several new reference projects and major expansion of the US subsidiary. The order situation also developed positively in Europe, with eastern Europe growing in prominence along with western, northern and southern Europe. In eastern Europe, KNAPP is the technology partner of regional online pioneers, including, HP Tronic and in the Czech Republic and eMAG in Romania. Another factor contributing to KNAPP’s success is long-term collaboration with long-term partners, which recently secured KNAPP orders to automate four Würth locations in Germany, Italy and France. Together, the German provider of fastening and mounting equipment and the KNAPP group have implemented 18 automation solutions in eleven different countries.

Major orders in the US, Latin America and Australia

Turnover figures in Latin America rose slightly compared to the previous fiscal year. One regional highlight was the automation solution for fashion logistics in São Paulo that KNAPP implemented for Lojas Renner, the largest fashion and lifestyle company in Brazil. Turnover also increased in the Asia-Pacific region, where KNAPP received another major order from the Australian supermarket chain Woolworths. Despite a worsening economic situation, KNAPP achieved an order intake of 1.95 billion euros, only about 10 % under the record level of the previous year. The profit or loss on ordinary activities amounted to 173.4 million euros (previous year: 167.2 million euros).

Setting trends with innovation 

Keeping in touch with global master trends, KNAPP constantly innovates to set trends in intralogistics. “Our solutions range from intelligent picking robots to fully automatic systems for supplying grocery stores and self-driving robot fleets for internal transport. This is how automation can compensate for the labor shortage,” says KNAPP COO Franz Mathi. At Fronius in Sattledt, Austria, KNAPP’s autonomous mobile robots transport pallets and containers through the warehouse completely independently. At SPAR’s central warehouse in Ebergassing, Austria, an automation solution by KNAPP ensures that over 200 stores are provided with fresh groceries.

Another way to hire and retain employees is by providing an attractive work environment. “We are working hard to design the interface between humans and technology in industrial contexts to appeal to the young, tech-savvy generation. Besides the right environment, people need the right tools to handle, manage and control the highly integrated systems easily. Today, these tools are mostly digital,” continues Mr. Mathi.

Developments in software, especially in artificial intelligence, are one of the defining master trends in technology. They open up new ways of thinking about how to organise the dynamic and complex processes in value chains. One current example from KNAPP is the D3 system, which is a fully automatic solution for producing patient-specific blister cards for medications. This new technology paves the way for a new business model while also helping to relieve personnel in healthcare and increase patient well-being. “For me, it is an example of how innovation and automation successfully come together to benefit people. As a value chain tech partner, we see it as our duty to provide solutions that generate added value for all stakeholders for decades,” concludes Mr. Mathi.

A strong partner for all stakeholders

In the past years, there have been many challenges in the industry – first the pandemic, then massive growth caused by the boom in online retail, and supply chain instability. “In a world filled with uncertainty, being a reliable partner for all stakeholders is absolutely essential,” emphasizes KNAPP CEO Gerald Hofer, who goes on to explain: “Technologies come and go with time, but partnership remains. Yes, we are a tech company, but above all, we are a strong partner in the background for successful enterprises and brands. In these testing times, strong partnerships are all the more valuable – because partnership means trusting in each other, speaking openly to each other and overcoming new challenges together. Partnerships like this do not just happen – they are formed over time and make us successful.”

Above all, KNAPP strives to be a reliable partner for their employees. At the end of March 2023, the KNAPP group had 7,231 employees worldwide, 4,070 of whom worked in Austria. “We not only want to offer our employees a place to work, but a place where they feel at home and can perform at their best,” says KNAPP CFO Christian Grabner. The necessary infrastructure for this is under construction at the headquarters in Hart bei Graz and will further develop in the course of additional investments in Austria and at the international locations. “We want to offer workplaces that last and are very active in training and promoting young talents: Currently, we are training apprentices in six different professions with a focus on MINT subjects, from mechatronics and programming to careers in administration. In addition, we offer spots for 200 interns per year. Our goal is to give young people insight into the opportunities on the labor market and attract the brightest minds,” concludes Mr. Grabner.

KNAPP AG (group) 2022/23* Change 2021/22*
Turnover in TEUR 1,963,237 17.8 % 1,666,144
Order intake in TEUR 1,944,819 – 12.4 % 2,220,738
EBITDA in TEUR 231,303 9.1 % 212,099
EBIT in TEUR 190,031 6.8 % 177,931
EBT in TEUR 173,446 3.7 % 167,195
Investments in TEUR 86,603 9.6 % 79,003
Equity in TEUR 425,777 28.1 % 332,323
Employees 7,231 15.5 % 6,261

*Business year April 1 to March 31