The COVID-19 pandemic continued to dictate our day-to-day lives to a great extent in 2021. Time and again it became clear which values are important in times of crisis: solidarity, trust, and creativity. In spite of the unique circumstances caused by COVID-19, Würth was able to continue its success story in 2021. Find out here which developments were particularly important and interesting.
A new way of working has taken root as a result of the experiences during the pandemic. Würth is actively shaping this process.
Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic laid the groundwork for the New Work initiative. The home office has been established as part of the working world, allowing employees to choose their work location themselves. Offices have been redesigned and workflows redefined. The over 33,000 sales representatives support their customers professionally over the phone, and the Group has saved a total of EUR 100 million on travel and conference expenses, realizing that a video conference is 80 to 85 percent as effective as an in-person event.
Innovative solutions ensure competitiveness. A high share of new products can be observed throughout the Group.
In addition to sales and logistics, new pro-ducts are decisive for ensuring competitiveness. For example, the fact that Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG generated a fifth of its sales with products that were no more than three years old in the 2021 fiscal year is extremely promising: an astonishing amount that speaks in favor of a high share of innovative solutions in the company’s extensive product range. This development can be observed across the Group. The Group currently has over 750 active patents, 8 utility models, more than 900 registered designs, and around 8,000 active brands.
Driverless transport systems now cover the long distances in the new centralized external warehouse, thus reducing the employees’ workload.
Nine driverless transport systems (DTS) are being used to bridge long distances in the new centralized external warehouse with its enormous footprint of around 50,000 square meters in the Hohenlohe industrial park. They support employees by transporting goods from one picking station to the next. In the two-shift operation, the DTS currently transport roughly 700 shipments per day from the pick-up station to the destination station, covering a total distance of 64 kilometers.
In 2022, Würth will be opening an innovation center to serve as a knowledge cluster in collaboration with several other institutions.
As part of its innovation strategy, which Würth intends to uphold despite the corona pandemic, an innovation center is set to be opened at the Künzelsau site in 2022. About 250 employees will develop, implement, and carry ideas into the future in cutting-edge laboratories and workshops comprising around 15,000 square meters. The total investment amounts to around EUR 70 million. Partnerships with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Stuttgart will pave the way for a knowledge cluster.