In the past business year 2014/15, Styrian KNAPP AG increased turnover by 20 percent to 466.3 million euros and achieved a profit (EBIT) of 21 million euros. This extremely positive result is part of the long-term growth strategy.
The intralogistics provider KNAPP with headquarters in Hart bei Graz recorded strong growth in the past four years. KNAPP is strategically well-positioned in the world market thanks to innovative system solutions for the core business areas in pharma, fashion, food and industry. The export quotient is consistently high at about 98 percent. Europe is again the strongest sales region with a turnover share of almost 75 percent. Management Team members Gerald Hofer, Franz Mathi and Christian Grabner are looking optimistically into the future. For 2015, KNAPP has planned to expand the Styrian location as well as to invest in the international subsidiary and production networks.
2,000 employees in Styria, Austria
“As planned, all the companies of the KNAPP Group made an important contribution to company success,” explained KNAPP CEO Gerald Hofer. Of the 25 subsidiaries, in addition to headquarters in Hart bei Graz, there are three other locations in Styria. “We are working steadily on location expansion and are investing about 25 million euros this year. New office space is planned, as well as the expansion of the company cafeteria and kindergarten,” said Hofer. Of the 2,700 employees worldwide, 2,000 are located in Styria. Appreciation for the employees expressed through the design of attractive, family-friendly work environments is just part of the company culture at KNAPP. Starting this year, KNAPP has been involved in an integration project with the group, alpha nova. People with disabilities and impairments are being provided with long-term assignments in the company in proportion to their capabilities. The company received the Trigos Styria award in May for its integrated CSR commitment.
Pharmaceutical supply chain partnership
KNAPP, with innovative power and industry know-how, brings the newest technologies to warehouse logistics. For pharmaceutical wholesaling in the 1970s, KNAPP was already a partner for development and a pioneer in automation solutions. Today, KNAPP serves the entire pharmaceutical supply chain with its solution portfolio – from manufacturer to patient. An important step towards becoming a complete supplier was the investment in the German KHT Apostore Group in the past year. KNAPP’s new autopickers for pharmacies and pharmaceutical wholesalers offer the pharmaceutical sector future-orientated solutions for sustainable success. “We are seeing strong growth, especially in the pharmaceutical supply chain. The numerous innovative solutions are being increasingly recognized and appreciated,” stressed KNAPP COO Franz Mathi.
Innovation and tradition
KNAPP is not only scoring with innovation in the pharmaceutical industry. The logistics specialist is developing goods-to-person picking for food wholesale. Pick-it-Easy Move is a unique pallet picking system developed for SPAR that is already in operation in the regional warehouse in Maria Saal in Carinthia. Goods are picked with optimized ergonomics direct from the original pallets to the target load carriers. For the warehouse worker, this provides tremendous relief from moving heavy products since lifting is replaced by pushing. In 2016, Pick-it-Easy Move will be up and running in the brand new distribution centre in Ebergassing in Lower Austria, and will play its part optimally supplying the Lower Austria and Vienna regions. “Research and development belong to our tradition. This year we have again invested about 30 million euros in this area, which is 7 percent of our turnover. We need fast thinkers and bright minds to further boost research and development, so, of course, being able to increase our workforce by 300 individuals is more good news,” said KNAPP CFO Christian Grabner.
For projects with a B2C share, KNAPP is experiencing a real boom. Online commerce is showing extremely strong growth across all sectors and, depending on the sector, comprising more than 70 percent. The e-commerce business is strongly driven by the purchasing behaviour of customers. Constant availability and a wide assortment of articles are in demand along with faster delivery, and customers have a low tolerance for errors. Our development is focussed in two directions: our low complexity warehouse and our zero-defect solutions. Both of these approaches detect and correct any errors within a single process step. This is how we ensure the delivery of the right goods at the right time at the right place,” explained Gerald Hofer.
Fashion solutions trending
KNAPP recorded very strong growth in fashion and lifestyle and the cooperation with the German subsidiary Dürkopp Fördertechnik is working brilliantly. “Taking a walk through a shopping mall shows many of KNAPP’s brand customers, such as Hugo Boss, Olymp, Marks & Spencer or Clarks,” reports Franz Mathi. For fashion solutions, KNAPP has polished shop-friendly delivery to perfection. “Here, bringing tremendous throughput and strict sequences together is what counts. For this purpose we have further developed our software and put it successfully into operation. We also equipped our automatic storage system OSR Shuttle™ for storing cartons and are now able to ensure double-deep and triple-deep storage depending on the carton dimensions.
New market segment – industry
YLOG Industry Solutions in Dobl, founded in October 2013, is the newest KNAPP subsidiary in Styria and opens up a whole new market segment: industry and production logistics. This is the fifth core sector that KNAPP is committed to along with pharma, fashion, retail and food. In the first business year, order receipt of 6 million euros was reached and projects were successfully carried out with domestic customers such as the injection moulding machine manufacturer ENGEL and the automobile supplier MSG. The free-moving and flexible YLOG-Shuttle is ready for production and has been integrated into the KNAPP solution portfolio.
Growth course continues
KNAPP started the new business year with very good order level. “When it comes to prognoses for the future, we are always careful. Causes for concern are excessive regulation in working time models or the general loss of competitiveness for the location, as reinforced by the IMD study. We planned for moderate growth and would like to gain in the market share,” said Christian Grabner. The locations in Styria are being further solidified but we are also pressing ahead in the global direction, which means investment security for the customer. “We will continue to keep things moving in intralogistics.”