New and further development of products is in Wöhner's DNA – as an integral part of the corporate vision, customers know the high number of strokes with which new things are developed at Wöhner and existing ones are optimized.But the market currently needs innovations of a different kind: supply bottlenecks, scarcity of resources and changes in infrastructures make it necessary to rethink business processes.  Philipp Steinberger, CEO of Wöhner, reports in an interview how Wöhner remains innovative even in challenging times and offers solutions based on partnership.

Mr. Steinberger, what developments have you observed during this time of crisis?

"When we talk about crisis, we have to start with Corona. The pandemic and the impact that could not be estimated at the beginning initially meant uncertainty and also a slight decline in sales. From 2021 onwards, we were able to record considerable growth and a high order intake. However, we had to drive 'on sight' in production because nobody knew what would happen next.

Corona has given a boost to digitization and the idea of the 'All electric society' in many companies, in which we as a society want to switch from fossil fuels to electricity as much as possible.

The hunger for energy has increased and with it the demand for safe, efficient energy distribution systems."

At first, this sounds like promising developments. What are the challenges?

"More and more companies are looking for solutions for automated, efficient systems that optimize their production and at the same time contribute to the sustainability goals. These are very good basic ideas, but mean effort and conversion everywhere. Wöhner products can help with this. Whether in measurement technology, energy storage or data transmitters – the demand for electronic elements is now increasing rapidly.

At the same time, important resources for this have become scarcer and more expensive. We have observed large price increases for steel, copper and plastics due to partly artificial shortages, which have not been improved by the Ukraine war.

As a result of the latter development, transport and production have become even more expensive, global supply chains are being disrupted – no one can make statements about deliveries with certainty anymore."

What solutions does Wöhner have for these new environmental conditions?

"We have now decided to invest our innovative strength in particular in process design and the direct handling of current challenges. The central question for us was 'What is the best way to get ahead as an industry now? How do we keep a cool head?'

As a result, we have developed various concrete measures and have already implemented them.

We plan to establish more continental production and delivery processes that function independently in local markets and are therefore less dependent on international developments. At the same time, the processes created in this way can also support other regions in the future if bottlenecks occur there. 

In addition, the expansion of our supplier network is a further building block in finding solutions. Through a wider range of possible suppliers, we want to create even more ordering options in the future.

In addition, we have further automated our own plant construction. We strive to combine the strengths of humans with those of machines even more optimally in order to be able to produce efficiently and quickly and thus deliver. 

Furthermore , we want to simplify and speed up the ordering process by introducing the webshop."

What role do Wöhner customers play in these considerations?

"Our customers are not only the focus of our considerations, we also want to actively involve them and their needs in the innovation process.

In a joint and open dialogue with customers, we want to improve predictability and expand the planning horizon in order to re-establish trust in the supply chains.

What further steps are emerging?

"We will not stop innovating even in challenging times like these. Because being innovative means being future-oriented.

As a group of companies, we will continue to support the industry with our experience.

In addition to the process developments, we will continuously search for and find answers to the questions about digitization as well as the wishes for plug-andplay and tool-free work. In this way, we can constantly drive and shape change – through complexity reduction, modularity and security."

If you would like to find out more about innovation at Wöhner, take a look at our Innovation Hub or the Innovation Days recordings.

Wöhner GmbH & Co. KG
Elektrotechnische Systeme
Mönchrödener Str. 10
96472 Rödental



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