For the first time in its almost 42-year history, automation specialist Beckhoff Automation has exceeded the one billion euro mark in turnover in the 2021 financial year. With a total worldwide turnover of 1182 billion euros, the company increased its turnover by around 28 percent compared to 2020.
“This is a great result that we are very proud of,” reports Managing Owner Hans Beckhoff, whose company recorded an unprecedented level of incoming orders. “We could definitely have seen even more growth last year, but the shortage of components along with the limits on our own capacities has held us back in some areas,” Hans Beckhoff clarifies the tense situation in many areas of industry.
For the German market, Beckhoff achieved a sales increase of around 27%, while the number of incoming orders more than doubled. The company also recorded similar trends in many other countries where it sells its products. “With one or two exceptions, we made significant gains in 2021 in almost all countries with our own sales branches – often in the double-digit percentage range,” the Managing Owner sums up. He goes on to explain: “Our two largest subsidiaries (in China and the US), also reported double-digit growth.” Similar to Germany, incoming orders abroad were mostly significantly higher than actual sales growth.
Automation technology is currently experiencing a real boom across all industries all over the world; however, demand is exceeding the production capacities of suppliers, who have been weakened further still by the effects of the global pandemic. For Beckhoff, this is particularly evident in the shortage of semiconductors and other electronic components. “This bottleneck is likely to continue throughout 2022,” predicts Hans Beckhoff, adding, “nevertheless, we need to prepare for better raw material availability so that we can fulfill customer orders as quickly as possible. This is why we are working tirelessly to expand and optimize our entire company – from administration and development through to production.”
The rapid and dynamic growth of the technology company presents it with some major challenges. Production capacities have already been expanded and personnel resources increased. By the middle of the year, Beckhoff will have expanded its production capacities in Verl and the surrounding area by more than 50% in comparison with the beginning of 2020. “To this end, we are mobilizing the last space reserves we have and acquiring even more,” reports Hans Beckhoff.
Beckhoff recently acquired a 15-hectare site in the immediate vicinity of existing properties in an inter-municipal industrial park now being planned by the cities of Verl and Rietberg. “We plan to create an industrial park here that will provide space for further expansion in the future for both Beckhoff Automation and our wholly owned subsidiaries Smyczek and Schirmer, which are also growing dynamically along with us,” he continues. At least an additional 1000 jobs will be created here over the next ten years,” continues Hans Beckhoff.
At the same time as the expansions in Verl, Beckhoff is also expanding both nationally and internationally. The company already has its own subsidiaries in 40 countries, and this expanding support network for Beckhoff customers is showing no signs of slowing down. A new building is currently being constructed in Balingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany for the sales office located there. This is set to be entirely self-sufficient in terms of its energy needs and will be ready to move into at the beginning of 2023. In Marktheidenfeld in Lower Franconia, the drive technology production facility of the Fertig Motors subsidiary located there is being expanded.
The 2021 financial year also saw the automation technology specialist open an office in Kaunas, Lithuania, to serve the market in this part of the world. The subsidiary Beckhoff Austria is building a new headquarters in Bürs. At the same time, Beckhoff Sweden is building a new headquarters of its own, while the first production facility outside Germany is to be built near Shanghai in China. The main reason for this is to expand the Chinese market from within the country itself, since this is one of the strongest markets in terms of sales for Beckhoff Automation with a share of more than 22%.
In the past financial year, Beckhoff hired more than 500 new employees worldwide. This means that, as of March 2022, the family company now employs 5000 employees (previous year 4500): 3400 of them in Verl and the surrounding area, 3850 in Germany as a whole and 1450 abroad. “Having the expertise we need in-house is a major success factor for us. Beckhoff manufactures sophisticated high-tech products that are developed by a wide array of the brightest minds working together within our company,” notes Hans Beckhoff, explaining the comparatively high total of 1900 engineers currently numbered among his employees.