The outlook for 2018
We are looking forward to the new year! After many years of serious economic worries in the plant-construction and mechanical engineering sectors, the prospects for the economy are finally indicating high-level stability once more. There is, in the light of all the political, climate-related and security questions concerned, a pent-up demand for investment, particularly in terms of energy technology, infrastructure and global environmental technology. This demand has grown to such an extent that we can now hope for good capacity utilisation even in the longer term.
The transformation of industry into a lean, global phenomenon, as reflected in Industry 4.0, has likewise not escaped our attention. Pressure is helping to create solutions in our highly specialised individual and small-series production, which we can use to improve our long-term performance. Many of our customers are counting on the fact that we, as a major supplier of their key components, will not only go along with them during this period of organisational and technical transformation, but actually help them to bring it about.
It is for this reason that we brought Kuhn Special Steel and M. Jürgensen together under one roof a year ago, as part of our efforts to join forces for the sake of future development and work together in order to find better solutions. The first year of cooperation started off extremely successfully at the beginning of 2017 with the establishing of many important fundamentals.
The positive economic situation in the capital goods sector and the boom in decentralised energy supply systems are likely to lead to further pressure on our delivery times, so we are pleased to report the rapid and necessary expansion of our capacity at both locations, which is set to take place in the course of 2018. On the other hand, the still-persistent shortage of skilled workers in Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein regions is making it increasingly difficult to find and recruit good employees.
Good employees continue to be the key to success, so our standards of selection are correspondingly high. We therefore have long-term plans to continue with the expansion of our in-house training facilities at both our Radevormwald and Sörup sites, and have already increased the number of training places at all locations in the course of 2017.
We are happy about and grateful for the high level of dedication of many employees. This has greatly strengthened our supply performance in this period of sharply increased demand. The inventiveness and commitment of these employees continue to constitute the key success factor in our further development, and are thus vital to our long-term prosperity in 2018 and beyond.
“The family company of tomorrow will be different, or it will cease to exist” was the title of a speech delivered by Prof. Peter May to the INTES conference on entrepreneurship held in November 2017. The values of our family-company group remain the same, despite all the changes going on in the background. We supply performance and good cooperation based on experience and know-how, while acknowledging that peak performance can only be achieved by working together. A human approach and sustainable productivity are inextricably linked as far as we’re concerned, and it is on this basis that we confidently face the year to come.