Beckhoff Automation turned in a very successful performance in the 2014 financial year, generating global turnover of 510 million euros, an increase of 17 % year over year. The company’s increased sales stem from a growing global market and new project and customer wins for the PC-based control technology from Beckhoff. In keeping with the growth in turnover, the number of employees increased by 12 % to 2,800. Beckhoff has an optimistic outlook for the current financial year and expects another double-digit increase in sales.
- Turnover increased by 17 % to 510 million euros
- Sales organisation expanded worldwide
- Headcount increased by 12 % to 2,800 employees worldwide
- 40 million euros to be invested in research and development in 2015
Managing Director Hans Beckhoff is satisfied: “We can look back on a successful financial year. We are especially happy that this growth pattern extended to all regions and market segments. All continents contributed with new applications in areas ranging from industrial engineering and energy generation to building automation and the entertainment industry.”
Exports in 2014 accounted for 62 % of the company’s total turnover; of that, 29 % was generated in Europe (outside of Germany), 22 % in Asia, 10 % in North America, and 1 % in the remaining countries worldwide in which Beckhoff operates. “We’ve grown in all regions of the world, but especially in Asia and above all in China (+38 %). We are pleased to see healthy growth also in other regions – for example in southern Europe, with Spain (+10 %) and Italy (+19 %) delivering significant increases,” notes Hans Beckhoff.
PC control technology wins new projects worldwide
“Beckhoff has achieved average growth of 16 % annually during the period from 2000 to 2014. This positive performance can be traced back to our leading-edge technology, which has helped build our strong reputation worldwide. Our high-performance technology platform of PC-based automation software, Industrial PCs, distributed I/O components and Drive Technology can be universally used in a multitude of applications,” Hans Beckhoff explains, detailing the company’s rising market share in a wide variety of industries. “Our product innovations contribute similarly to our sustained growth. For example, we have won many new customers worldwide with the introduction of new product groups such as e.g. our state-of-the-art XTS drive system,” adds the Managing Director.
In terms of technology, Beckhoff customers are ideally positioned through the use of PC-based control. This is also true for the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts. “Our ongoing research and development is a driver of advances in automation technology and that’s why we offer our customers a technological ‘head start’, due in large part to innovations such as the many-core control concept introduced with the C6670 many-core Industrial PC. With this high-end platform we can deliver what we believe are the most powerful control systems on the market today,” emphasises Hans Beckhoff. He continues: “With processor options reaching as high as 36 cores and 2,048 GB of RAM we offer our customers a level of performance today that will be the industry standard in 2020.”
“Technology is one aspect of our company. The other is our 35 years of experience in automation paired with a pronounced company culture of trust and stability. All these are the factors on which our sustained growth is based,” says Beckhoff.
Strengthening global sales channels
Beckhoff Automation also continues to expand on a global scale. Following the establishment of a subsidiary company in the Czech Republic and representative offices in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Indonesia in 2014, Beckhoff is primarily investing in strengthening its existing sales network in 2015. “We are represented in over 70 countries worldwide with 34 subsidiary companies and distributors. Our focus this year will be on enhancing the density of our existing sales network. This includes adding more regional branch offices throughout all countries. We are particularly pleased to establish a larger office in Silicon Valley this year. Not only is German automation technology very much in demand in California, we also want to benefit from the spirit and the speed of technological development in this area,” says Beckhoff.
Training initiative for over 180 junior employees
Beckhoff currently has approximately 2,800 employees worldwide; of these, almost 2,000 work in Germany, with about 1,800 at the company’s headquarters in Verl. Trained engineers account for almost one-third of the workforce. “We are again investing heavily in research and development in 2015, allocating funds of roughly 40 million euros,” Hans Beckhoff announces. “As a technology-driven company whose success is based on supplying its customers with new ideas and technology, we have a very great demand for skilled engineers. We are always happy to add fresh new talent to our roster.”
Current Industry 4.0 projects, which are part of the “it’s OWL” Leading-Edge Cluster, also contribute to the company’s progress. “The Leading-Edge Cluster has developed very successfully. This East-Westphalia-based alliance between companies, universities, and scientific centres of competence was only founded in 2011, but is already highly regarded as a pioneer for Industry 4.0 in Germany and even in Europe,” Beckhoff points out.
A strong commitment to developing young talent is part and parcel of the corporate mission pursued by Beckhoff. At present, 90 young professionals are undergoing apprenticeships in a total of seven occupation types. In addition, 90 students receive practical training in the fields of mechatronics/automation and industrial engineering at the Gütersloh branch of the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. The first two study intakes have already graduated and are now working in various departments of the company. “This is a very successful program for both the young engineers and Beckhoff. We will keep it going and continue to support the university’s Gütersloh location,” says Hans Beckhoff.