Styrian company KNAPP AG concludes a very successful fiscal year 2013/14. Turnover reached a new record at 383.75 million euros. KNAPP’s success as innovative intralogistics provider is in the core business areas Pharma, Fashion, General Retail and Food Retail. Constant investments in research and develop-ment and the promotion of company know-how at the Styrian locations are the building blocks for this success.
KNAPP brings the latest technology to warehouse logistics. For more than 60 years the internationally active company with roots in Styria has stood for innovative system solutions. Customers from all over the world, such as the German pharmaceutical wholesaler Noweda, the supermarket chain Spar, or Leineweber with its fashion label Brax, rely on the competence and industry solutions from the KNAPP Group. The trio of Managing Directors, Gerald Hofer, Franz Mathi and Christian Grabner give a positive summary of the past fiscal year.
Styrian location strengthened
“Styria is the home of KNAPP AG, and we have significantly strengthened our Styrian locations with not only production halls in Leoben and Graz, but also a day care facility. By now with Grambach and Dobl, we have four Styrian locations. Our employees perform exceptionally, and therefore we want to create a positive environment in which they can further develop their strengths,” explains KNAPP CEO Gerald Hofer. Awards received this year for family friendliness and corporate culture confirm the commitment of the company in this direction. The positive trend is reflected economically as well – order receipt was raised by about 15 percent in comparison to the previous year, and reached about 454 million euros, the highest amount in company history. The EBIT was raised by 5.2 percent to 15.4 million euros.
Highest number of employees and the search for further talent
The KNAPP Group worldwide has increased to 2,500 employees – a growth of about 200 em-ployees in comparison to the past fiscal year. More than 1,800 are working in Austria. The large number of academics and graduates of specialized schools or colleges among the KNAPP staff clearly shows the high qualification of the team: Approximately 45 percent of all employees have a university or college degree or a specialized school diploma. In searching for the best minds, KNAPP is proving creative. Next to the established programming competition for pupils and students, the KNAPP Coding Contest, the company has for the first time sponsored a PLC Challenge over the course of one semester. Repeat challenges for both competitions are planned.
Project for raising employee qualifications
In September 2013, KNAPP started a unique higher qualifications project for employees with many years in the production area. This training programme was initiated and developed under the management of Jörg Salicites, Head of Apprenticeship Training at KNAPP, and the Economic Development Institute Styria (WIFI). After intense preparation, on July 15, 2014 all 15 colleagues successfully completed their apprenticeship exams in mechanical engineering. 450 theoretical units were completed at WIFI Graz, and the practical parts of the training were held in ongoing operation together with the in-house apprenticeship programme. “With this project we want to encourage the talent and motivation of long-term experienced employees and help them tap into their full potential. For the employees, the completion of this training translates not only into the higher qualifications of a skilled worker, but is also personally enriching,” states CFO Christian Grabner.
Numerous new and further developments
In fiscal year 2013/14 KNAPP invested more than 7 percent of the turnover – that is 27.7 million euros – in research and development. More than 400 people work with new and further devel-opments in all the core business areas. “New developments often arise from new market de-mands. Our Pack2Patient is a successful new solution for direct delivery to the end customer in the pharmaceutical sector but is also a response to the new legal frameworks. There were also further developments within our KiSoft Vision product group where we reduce errors in every process step from goods-in to goods-out by using intelligent image recognition technologies,” state COO Franz Mathi.
Western Europe remains the strongest sales region
With a constant high export rate of 98 percent, the Western European economic region is again the strongest sales region with a turnover share of almost 70 percent. The sales figures for the CEE countries, which are slowly recovering from the recession, were tripled with a turnover of over 15 million euros. The turnover in the North American region was cranked up to a record level of over 57 million euros, thanks to the rising turnover figures in Canada. The Latin Ameri-can economic region was also a driving force for growth – the share of turnover increased from 8 percent in the previous year to more than 10 percent. The Asian-Pacific market area remained at the same level as the previous year at about 11 million euros.
Expansion of international locations
For an international company like KNAPP it is very important to think locally to best realize the local requirements of the customers. Since one new location was founded in Australia, KNAPP is represented by a total of 20 subsidiaries and 13 representatives in all parts of the world. KNAPP has located further potential for growth in the USA, South America, China and Great Britain. These existing company locations should be strengthened with on-site production. The decentralization of value creation across the globe strengthens the locations in Austria and Europe over the long run, ensures competitiveness and generates growth. Development and production are initially done in Austria and then rolled out to the subsidiaries world-wide, profiting all locations.
Further turnover growth found
“For the next year, we intend to reach a growth in turnover of 10 percent. On one hand we would like to achieve this with proven and tested solutions, but we would also like to score with new system solutions. We have a lot in store and look forward to an exciting and successful new fiscal year,” declares CEO Gerald Hofer.