The Harting Technology Group in Espelkamp maintained its trend of positive growth in the 2019/20 (September 30) business year despite the global pandemic. The active family-owned, international company accomplished a growth of 1.2% compared to the previous year achieving $850 million / €759 million in global sales (previous year: $846 million / €750 million).
While the company grew overall, there were variances between regions where Harting is active worldwide in 2019/20 financial year. Some areas saw significant growth, where others saw declines. Sales in Europe (excluding Germany) and the Middle East and Africa, also known as EMEA, remained stable at $341 million / €278 million (previous year: $341 million / €278 million). In the Asian region, Harting sales rose by 9% to $247 million / €202 million (previous year: $227 million / €186 million). Growth in the Americas region was even more dramatic, recording an astounding 15% increase to $100 million / €82 million (previous year: $88 million / €72 million). In Germany, sales were down by 8% to $241 million / €197 million (previous year: $262 million / €214 million).
The number of employees (including trainees) rose to 5,473 in the 2019/20 financial year (previous year 5,268). This is an increase of 3.9% or 205 jobs. In Germany, nine positions remained unfilled (- 0.3 %), while 214 employees were hired at the foreign production facilities and subsidiaries (+8.0 %). Consequently, 2,869 people were employed by Harting outside of Germany as of September 30, 2020 and 2,604 within Germany. Growth in the Americas and Asia is reflected in these figures.
Right from the onset, the Harting Technology Group reacted quickly and with agility to the coronavirus pandemic. The Technology Group’s top priorities were the protection of employees as well as the supply of customers that support critical markets, especially well-known manufacturers of medical and respiratory equipment with customer-specific cable assemblies that Harting supplies. “We are and remain a reliable partner,” Philip Harting emphasized.
This approach was applied to customer and market communication, which was duly converted and expanded to digital formats. Since spring, events and web seminars have been held in a dedicated studio both globally and at a local level and streamed to customers, distributors and media worldwide. “Since we are globally-networked we can react very quickly to changing conditions — and we are close to our customers,” Philip Harting stated. Based on this new form of communication, Harting is positioning itself for the future, the CEO underlined.
The Technology Group will closely monitor the further course of the pandemic. A coronavirus pandemic team evaluates the developments on a daily basis and makes recommendations or takes measures, as Dr. Michael Pütz, member of the Board of Management responsible for Human Resources, underscored. Examples include free coronavirus tests in certain clinics in the Minden-Lübbecke district or the free masks for employees. “The extended home office regulation in cooperation with our IT also worked very well and has been well-received by our employees,” said Dr. Pütz.
The Harting Technology Group has identified the future topics of Single Pair Ethernet (SPE), DC industry and e-mobility and is driving them forward at full speed. Harting coined the term Connectivity+ to these three topics.
Harting is focusing on the topic of DC infrastructure and is helping to drive the next revolution in industrial power supply via the DC industry research project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics. The project focuses on the enormous energy costs that can be saved by using direct current, and Harting’s role is the development of the appropriate connectivity interface for this purpose. DC is used extensively in the areas of renewable energies and energy storage. In conjunction with energy recovery measures, the growth in renewable energy is leading to an overall decrease in energy consumption from the AC grid. Industrial companies harnessing DC generation are saving energy costs and contributing to meeting CO2 emission targets. At present, around 40 industrial companies are involved in the DC-INDUSTRY joint project. “The central requirements for future interfaces will be directly derived from the work in this joint project,” said Dr. Kurt D. Bettenhausen, Board Member for New Technologies and Development. This is an approach that creates added value for customers.
Harting has also continued to push forward with e-mobility: As a pioneer for reliable, clean and environmentally friendly e-mobility, the company offers tailor-made solutions and components for all relevant markets, as well as developing and producing charging equipment for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The Harting Technology Group provides charging solutions for Volkswagen’s modular e-drive system (MEB), the Audi e-tron and the Porsche Taycan. Harting also offers a wide range of connectivity solutions in the periphery, i.e. decentralized energy storage for mobile applications, which contributes to the sustainable, CO2-reduced mobility of the future.
Further advances are also being made with IIoT and the associated Ethernet connectivity topics. Harting recognized developments in this area at an early stage and created connectors for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE). This connector was selected as the chosen interface for Industrial Single Pair by standards bodies IEEE, IEC, and ODVA. Partnership is a top priority here: Harting is cooperating with the SPE Industrial Partner Network for a universal SPE Eco-System and creating the powerful infrastructure for the digitalization of industry. SPE enables barrier free communication from the cloud down to the field and application level and back again for the first time.
In the financial year elapsed, the Harting Technology Group once again committed considerable investments. “With a total of around $73 million / €65 million, we have almost reached the record volume of the previous year,” as Maresa Harting-Hertz, Chief Financial Officer, responsible for Finance, Purchasing and Facility Management, underlined. In the 2018/19 financial year, capital expenditure reached a record level of $74 million / €66 million.
In the 2019/20 business year a large share of investments was funneled into the digitalization of production at the subsidiary Harting Electric in Espelkamp. In Romania, capacities were expanded in Agnita for Automotive, while the Connectivity & Networks area was extended in Sibiu. The plant in the United States (Elgin) has now also expanded production facilities in order to supply markets and customers faster. “We are now even more flexibly positioned worldwide to better respond to regional needs. With these investments we are clearly staying on course for growth,” said Andreas Conrad, Chief Operations Officer.
This year’s highlight was a milestone anniversary: The Technology Group celebrated its 75th anniversary on September 1 in the Botta Building in Minden with a unique, festive, and socially distanced ceremony in the presence of former Federal Presidents Dr. Joachim Gauck and Christian Wulff. Guests from business, politics and administration had accepted the invitation of the Harting family, the owners of the company. Philip Harting emphasized that the company would have liked to have celebrated this highlight even more elaborately together with customers and employees in order to thank them for the long-standing partnership and support — but the pandemic had prevented this from happening.
“We want to create values for people” is the third part of the corporate vision formulated in 1996. The entrepreneurial family has always felt particularly committed to social responsibility – and lives up to their commitment. The company has been working for over four decades to reconcile ecology and economy and had introduced an internal environmental award as early as 1989. In addition, the Technology Group consistently focuses on the energy transition and is a founding member of the Association of Climate Protection Companies.
Since 2012, Harting has been harnessing 100% CO2-free energy in the manufacturing area. The construction of two biomethane-fueled cogeneration plants for the plants 2 and 9 in Espelkamp represents additional steps taken to reduce the CO2 footprint. This will further improve our energy balance and efficiency. “Sustainability and climate protection are the DNA of Harting; we are consistently sustainable by conviction,” Philip Harting underscored.
Philip Harting was cautious with regard to the further developments of the current 2020/21 financial year. In view of the COVID-19 situation, the prospects are clouded. The business climate is very much dependent on the further global development of the pandemic and how quickly vaccinations will reach large sections of the population. “As a result, global demand varies from region to region. We will continue to navigate by sight,” says Philip Harting. Nevertheless, he believes that moderate sales gains in the low single-digit range are possible. “We have convincing products, customer-oriented positioning and a first-class team — so we can do it.”
Harting Technology Group