2017/03/24 Corporate News

Wilo: leading the way to the digital future

Dortmund-based pump expert achieves seventh record turnover in succession and sets new standards as an innovation and technology leader

Dortmund/Düsseldorf. The Wilo Group looks back at a successful year in 2016. This is how the world market leader from Dortmund grew profitably once again. With sales turnovers of 1.33 billion euros, the record value of the previous year was once again exceeded. This resulted in an increase in revenue for the seventh consecutive year. On a currency-neutral basis, sales rose by 3.9 percent. Profitability was high at an EBIT margin of 8.1 percent. “We have invested heavily in the future. With almost 110 million euros, investments reached a new all-time high,” explained Wilo CEO Oliver Hermes at the company’s annual press conference in Düsseldorf. We have also consistently substantiated our claim of setting new standards as an innovation leader and digital pioneer,” continued the 46-year-old. In total, 65 million euros were invested in research and development which is more than ever before.

Wilo sets new standards in the pump industry

The Wilo-Stratos MAXO, the world’s first smart-pump*, is just one example of the successful research and development work of recent years. “We have also taken a major step forward in the area of digital transformation and accomplished major projects for implementing our digital strategy,” said Oliver Hermes. With the formulation of Ambition 2020+ the company strategy was further developed in the financial year 2016, adapted to the changed economic and technological conditions, and therefore the basis for accelerated profitable growth was strengthened.

Wilo is strongest industrial brand in Germany

The specialist for pumps and pump systems 2016 did not only know how to impress on a product level: the prestigious German Design Council and the German Brand Institute honoured Wilo with the German Brand Award in Gold as the strongest industrial brand in Germany. For the first time, companies that recognise the “importance of brand management as a crucial success factor” and implement this in a particularly distinguished way are honoured with this award. Oliver Hermes confirms the consistent efforts to strengthen the Wilo brand: “We have succeeded in developing from a ‘hidden’ to a ‘visible’ champion thanks to a rigorous, worldwide implementation across all communication channels.”

Intensified globalisation

The regional diversification, which is an expression of an intensified globalisation strategy at Wilo, was also a key success factor for the Wilo Group’s positive economic development in 2016. Substantial growth was achieved in China, Korea and also in Russia, as well as in some emerging economies of Africa and in the Gulf States. In Europe, business activity has been expanded in a sustainable manner in the German-speaking countries, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean region. “Overall, the heterogeneous developments in individual countries have mutually counterbalanced. Furthermore, we were able to compensate significantly negative currency effects,” said the CEO. Important investments into future sustainability of the Wilo Group were carried out consistently and as planned. In June last year, the tradition-steeped company opened a new plant and office building in the Moscow region in the presence of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The new plant allows the Wilo Group to localise its business activities in Russia more intensively and to increase its added value.

Dortmund to become number 1 digital location

The Wilo Group is implementing the biggest site development project in the company’s history at its headquarters in Dortmund. The groundbreaking ceremony for the official start of construction on the new smart factory took place in October 2016. At the beginning of this year, the foundation stone was laid in the presence of Ms Hannelore Kraft, Prime Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. “Dortmund will become the Wilo Group’s number 1 digital location, and it is our goal that it will set new standards in the Wilo world and the pump industry as a whole,” declared Oliver Hermes.

Wilo on track for the future

The 2016 financial year again showed that digital transformation, alongside the difficult geopolitical and macroeconomic developments, is the greatest challenge in the world today. “A company has to take on this change with far-sighted action,” said Oliver Hermes. “In order to survive on a competitive market characterised by technological upheaval, we as a group have planned out a clear direction and a common path,” he added. In addition to the revision of corporate strategy, eight specific growth initiatives were defined and digital transformation was integrated even more specifically into Ambition 2020+. Thus, the goal of being the digital pioneer in the pump industry has been explicitly established in Ambition 2020+.

The Wilo Group crucially emphasised digitalisation in the past 2016 financial year. “Because we know that anyone who does not play a leading role here could well vanish from the market. This is a defining characteristic of the change we are currently witnessing,” said Wilo’s CEO. He continued: “In 2015 we expanded our corporate strategy with the addition of a digitalisation strategy. Now we are in the process of implementing it.”

Wilo-Stratos MAXO sets new standards

WILO BRINGS THE FUTURE. This is the theme of the current Wilo campaign. The flagship for new digital products, systems and solutions is the Wilo-Stratos MAXO. This digital high-end product is once again a pioneering development that will set benchmarks in terms of energy efficiency, installation, customer convenience and user-friendliness. The Wilo-Stratos MAXO, the first smart-pump in the world*, will be manufactured at the new smart factory in Dortmund moving ahead. “In developing the Stratos MAXO we have highlighted our aspiration to be the technology leader in our industry as a premium, international provider of high-tech pumps and pump systems,” explained Oliver Hermes.

Think tank established

Wilo is continuing to press ahead with the digital transformation of the Group in 2017. With the establishment of our internal think tank, the Wincubator, at the EUREF-Campus in Berlin, we have taken another important step towards becoming a digital pioneer in the pump sector. The name Wincubator combines the words “Wilo” and “incubator” and describes an incubator for innovative ideas and entrepreneurial commitment in the digital world and the start-up scene.

Well positioned into the future

The world is facing particular challenges, with geopolitical risks growing and nationalist and protectionist tendencies on the rise. All of these factors will continue to have a sustained impact on the global economic development. Wilo is countering these tendencies with intensified globalisation, continuing to advance the digital transformation and anticipating new developments and trends in order to stay on a successful track. In the financial year 2016, we laid the foundations for accelerated profitable growth and purposefully expanded them in the present. This strong basis gives me confidence that we will continue on our successful path in 2017 despite all the adverse geopolitical conditions,” said Oliver Hermes convincingly at the company's annual press conference in Düsseldorf. The key figures for the first quarter of the financial year 2017 also confirm this. The Wilo Group successfully continues its profitable growth and continuously expands its strong market position.

There is already a special highlight in 2017 for the Wilo Group: The acquisition of the pump manufacturers Weil Pump Company, Inc. and Scot Pump Company as well as the Karak Machine Corporation. Within the scope of an asset deal, WILO USA LLC, a subsidiary of WILO SE, took over the operative business of the three companies with altogether approximately 140 employees in March. With the acquired production capacities, Wilo can meet customer requirements on the US market in a timely and appropriate manner and offer a wider range of high-quality products “made in USA”. “The target of this company acquisition is to increase regional presence and to accelerate our market development in North America. With this transaction, we are implementing an important part of our intensified globalisation strategy,” explains Oliver Hermes.

With regard to digitalisation Wilo’s CEO also looks positively into the future: “The digital transformation offers an abundance of new opportunities. At Wilo, we are excellently positioned to seize these opportunities: We have a future-oriented strategy, smart products, intelligent solutions and, above all, the right team,” as Wilo’s CEO concluded the annual press conference.

*We understand a smart-pump as a new category of pumps, which goes far beyond our high-efficiency pumps or pumps with pump intelligence. Only the combination of the latest sensor technology and innovative, autonomous control functions (e.g. Dynamic Adapt plus and Multi-Flow Adaptation), bidirectional connectivity (e.g. Bluetooth, integrated analogue inputs, binary inputs and outputs, Wilo Net interface), software updates and excellent usability (e.g. thanks to the Setup Guide, the preview principle for predictive navigation and the tried and tested Green Button Technology) make  this pump a smart-pump.