Mühlau – They possess extraordinary inventive genius, exemplary innovation processes and successfully bridge the gap between initial ideas and market success: these are the qualities of the most innovative SMEs in Germany. On 22nd June, Ranga Yogeshwar presented these companies with the seal of quality “Top 100” at an event in Friedrichshafen. Kathrein Sachsen GmbH of Mühlau is one of the honourees.
Innovation is a group task at Kathrein Sachsen. The research and development departments are not the only ones involved in the creation of ideas; creativity is part of each and every one of the 151 employees’ target agreement. The manufacturers of high-frequency technology for the automotive and general industry have implemented a so-called “innovation road map” which allows them to systematically manage and follow individual projects. Regular reviews of the project status ensure that everyone is up to date on the latest developments. How a team finally approaches and completes a task is up to them. It’s the result that counts. “Our employees’ self-responsibility shapes the innovation climate", stated Managing Director Andreas Zwißler. Free thinkers are welcome at Kathrein Sachsen.
Part of the fertile innovative climate is the aspect that everyone has the possibility to be creative, even beyond the boundaries of the set road map. The only condition is that the result of the project must be a freely-marketable product.
A total of five per cent of the budget and ten per cent of work time may be used for independent projects, without bureaucracy or inspection. A resourceful developer at Kathrein Sachsen took advantage of this offer: At home he was annoyed about the amount of water being wasted since it took so long for running tap water to become warm. The solution for this problem was the creation of a retro-fit set for hot water regulation. Head of Development Walter Behnke values the creative environment at the company: “From my point of view, only innovation allows a secure perspective. Particularly in the field of RFID technology, Kathrein Sachsen offers a lot of space to introduce new ideas and implement these into market-conform products.” This inventive talent is one of the qualities that makes Kathrein Sachsen GmbH the technological leader in their line of business.
Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke and his team from the Vienna University of Economics and Business audited the innovation management systems of 281 SMEs. The best were awarded the seal of quality “Top 100”. Andreas Zwißler was very pleased about the distinction and especially underlined the importance of team performance. “This seal of quality is a special acknowledgment for our employees – particularly at the site in Saxony. After the feat of receiving two regional innovation prizes and making it to the finals of the ‘Top 100’ 2009, we regard this distinction as recognition for the path we have taken. Innovation is the future of our company. This year innovative products have a share of more than 50 per cent in our turnover.”