03. december 2009

HARTING defies the crisis – continuous growth in Asia

Philip Harting, Dietmar Harting, Margrit Harting und Dr. Pütz (v. l.)

On September 30, 2009, the HARTING Technology Group, headquartered in Espelkamp in Eastern Westphalia, Germany, concluded a financial year that was characterized by the effects of the global financial and economic crisis.

On September 30, 2009, the HARTING Technology Group, headquartered in Espelkamp in Eastern Westphalia, Germany, concluded a financial year that was characterized by the effects of the global financial and economic crisis.
The company generated global revenue totaling € 325 million, reflecting a year-on-year decline of a good 15 %. As a consequence, HARTING performed significantly better than sector forecasts had projected. The company's beneficial strategic position and its broad customer base in all areas of industry, as well as a sound order book position in segments such as renewable energies and rail infrastructure, made significant contributions.

Dietmar Harting, personally liable partner of the HARTING Technology Group, commented as follows: "This is by no means the first recession that I have experienced, but it was, and is, the most serious. Our rapid response to the overall conditions, and the flexibility with which we manage our companies, factors that are demanded of us in this context, are decisive in determining the long-term future of our company. We reacted at a very early stage."

Revenue at the HARTING Technology Group fell last year, mainly due to the sharp declines in the machine building, automation and the industrial devices areas. At € 118 million, sales in Germany were down by around 19 % compared with the previous year. In Europe too, sales fell by around 20 % to € 116 million. An approximately 13 % decline in the Americas resulted in revenue of € 25 million. Contrary to the global trend, HARTING expanded its sales in Asia by a good 3 % to total € 64 million. This is mainly thanks to excellent sales in the growth markets of China, which more than offset the decline in Japan.

Innovations create good foundation for business growth – investments remain at a very live high level

HARTING solutions, which are subdivided into three segments within the largest "Connectivity & Networks" segment, are deployed around the world. In the "Installation Technology" segment, and under the "Han" brand, HARTING develops and sells industrial connectors and installation concepts supplying machines, plants and systems with data, signals and power. In the "Device Connectivity" segment, and under its "har-" brand, HARTING offers innovative connectors for the connection and internal design and construction of industrial equipment and devices. In its "Automation IT" segment, and under the "Ha-VIS" brand, HARTING markets a comprehensive program for Ethernet network components and cabling across all corporate areas as well as fielding RFID systems.
The application areas in which HARTING solutions are deployed range from machine building and plant engineering to automation technology, transportation technology, power generation and distribution, industrial electronics, equipment connection technology and telecommunications, and all the way through to medical technology and applications in broadcasting, stage and events technology.

Industrial companies must realize the greatest degree of process efficiency and engage in constant process optimization, especially in periods of economic difficulty. The HARTING Technology Group develops key technologies that are tailored to these requirements, and provides manufacturing companies with solutions that also deliver a clear long-term performance reserves for future applications.
As Philip Harting, Management Board member responsible for Connectivity & Networks, commented: "Our customers are always central to our developments. Regardless of the current economic situation, we aspire to serve our customers as a reliable partner by providing them with a constant stream of innovations."

With Fast Track Switching (FTS), HARTING has pioneered a technology that once again reflects the Technology Group's claim to not only satisfy today’s customer requirements, but also shape and determine tomorrow's markets. Fast Track Switching guarantees deterministic data transmission on the field level that is fully compatible with standard Ethernet. This allows the technology to meet the high real-time demands of automation based on standard Ethernet. Automation protocols are sent by way of the cut-through technique, and are enabled to overtake other protocols. This means that, for the first time, a universal network for all of a company's applications can be realized on the solid foundation of one, uniform technology. In 2009, this new technology attracted major recognition both in Germany and abroad. At the award of the international technology prize carrying the highest prize money, the Hermes Award at the Hanover trade fair, Fast Track Switching was placed among the top five from among 70 applications submitted by international technology companies. The French specialist journal for measurement technology and industrial automation, "mesures", also singled out Fast Track Switching as an outstanding innovation.

HARTING presented a further innovation at the SPS/IPC/DRIVES trade fair in Nuremberg with the Ha-VIS preLink concept. With Ha-VIS preLink, HARTING creates the option of uniform cabling in all corporate areas. This connector technology distinguishes between the cable termination and the freely selectable mating face. The preLink replaces the conventional link. Consequently, the Ha-VIS preLink is suitable for universal deployment with a wide range of mating faces such as RJ45, rated at IP 20 and IP 67, and can be used as either pin or socket. This significantly reduces budgeting and planning costs, installation time and error probabilities.

Moderate personnel adjustments – constant commitment to training and employment in the technical environment

The ongoing deterioration of our order book position, and the ensuing underutilization of production capacities, has also necessitated an adjustment of the personnel structure in areas reporting weak revenue trends. Measures introduced immediately, such as cuts in vacation and overtime working hours as early as January 2009, short-time work in all areas, voluntary pay reductions, transfers within the Group, and the expiry of temporary work contracts both in Germany and abroad, allowed the number of unavoidable redundancies to be held at a very low level. Margrit Harting, Partner and Senior Vice President, commented as follows: "We have found it very difficult to make cutbacks in the staff area too. We explored all possible ways to minimize the inevitable hardships. We must now turn to the future and brave the crisis by identifying and realizing improvement potentials. In view of the present situation, the current personnel measures, which are unfortunately forced upon us, are absolutely essential."

Also in the current economic environment, the HARTING Technology Group remains intensively committed to bringing technical careers into the focus of pupils and school-leavers, and enhancing the appeal of these job profiles. In particular, its commitment to the region of Eastern Westphalia is a key aspect of the company's activities. Through its support for numerous initiatives such as the "Girls' Day", and its commitment to, for example, the TecToYou initiative at the Hanover trade fair, or at the Ideenexpo ideas exhibition in Hanover, the company targets young people, and presents the field of technology as an exciting and diversified vocational environment. In this respect, an increasing focus is on girls and young women. Having signed the "Komm, mach MINT" pact, HARTING is aligning itself with representatives from the business world and the science and political arenas to boost the number of women leaving higher education with qualifications in mathematics, information technology, the natural sciences, and technology.

HARTING has been very successfully engaged in training for over 60 years. Numerous trainees have been distinguished over recent decades for their outstanding performance, thereby documenting the exemplary training provided by the Espelkamp-based family owned and managed company. Strong demand for various HARTING trainee positions is testament to the value placed on its training activities in the Eastern Westphalia-Lippe region. HARTING also raised its trainee numbers last year in order to enable the region's young people to enjoy an ideal start to their working lives. In order to improve preparations for professional life, HARTING further deepened its cooperation with the Waldschule secondary school in Espelkamp this year. Along with providing preparatory support to the school, HARTING is also making additional training places available to the school's pupils.

Awards for special commitment and outstanding achievements

Social commitment plays a central role not only at the Technology Group, but also in the private life of the entrepreneurs Margrit and Dietmar Harting. This year, German President Horst Köhler awarded Margrit and Dietmar Harting the Cross of Merit, First Class, for their outstanding commitment at the regional, national and international levels. In her laudatory speech, Christa Thoben, Minister for Economic Affairs, SMEs and Energy of the Land of North Rhine Westphalia, particularly praised the couple's commitment within the region of Eastern Westphalia-Lippe, which she said made a decisive contribution to creating an attractive area to live, both in cultural and overall social terms. She also made particular mention of Dietmar Harting's commitment to standardization.

In November 2009, on the occasion of stepping down from the office of President of DIN, Dietmar Harting was presented with the DIN ring of honor (Deutsches Institut für Normung, Ehrenring) for his special services to German standardization. It was noted that, during his six years of office, Dietmar Harting had been particularly committed to the establishment and implementation of the German standardization strategy, the greater integration of the medium-sized companies sector into the process of creating standards, and to the closer integration of standardization within the innovation process. As a bearer of the DIN ring of honor, Mr. Harting is now a member of the Waldemar-Hellmich Circle, the Honorary Senate of the Deutsches Institut für Normung.

The Technology Group’s German sales company was also distinguished for its outstanding achievement. The Ludwig Erhard Prize excellence initiative honored HARTING Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG as one of the best companies in the 100 to 500 staff members category. This initiative aims to motivate companies to apply comprehensive management systems, and consequently awards companies that implement such systems in an outstanding manner. In judging the competing companies, a particular focus is on competitiveness and sustainable outstanding achievements. HARTING Deutschland started as the smallest company in its category, and was entering this competition for the first time. The sales company scored points particularly thanks to its customer-orientation, which secured it a top ranking.

"Customer-orientation, convincing and market-oriented innovations, and a firm’s constant work on itself, decide the future of companies in difficult times. This does not entail creating a misperceived stability where we cling to things as they are, but where we create a sustainably viable balance through the promotion and recognition of innovations and processes of change," as Dietmar Harting emphasized at the press conference of the HARTING Technology Group held on December 3, 2009 in Espelkamp.

Development 2009