Rewarded for successful innovation management.
KHS is a top German company
KHS has been named one of the most innovative companies in the country by the 2015 German SME Summit [Deutscher Mittelstands-Summit]. The award was presented on June 26 during a festive event staged at the Colosseum Theater in Essen in the German Ruhr region. Here, KHS was awarded the coveted Top 100 seal of approval for exceptional innovative power and outstanding innovative success. At the same time well-known scientific journalist and TV presenter Ranga Yogeshwar, acting as mentor, praised the company’s outstanding achievements.
The Top 100 Award has distinguished itself over the past few years as a recognized benchmark of innovation management in Germany. When considering a company for the award all dimensions of its innovation management scheme are carefully scrutinized. The scientific management of the project is entrusted to Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Austria’s Vienna University for Economics and Business. He is one of the world’s leading experts on user innovation. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung, a famous German non-profit research organization, is actively involved as project partner.
A two-stage analysis developed by Prof. Franke and his team forms the basis of the award. During the course of the analysis the scientists investigate the innovation management and innovative success of small and medium-sized enterprises by applying over 100 parameters in five different categories. The scientific jurors also decide which companies are presented with the seal of quality.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Niemeyer, CEO of KHS GmbH, says, “We’re very pleased to receive this award. Innovation management enjoys a high status at KHS and is of great importance for our success on the world market. Here, we always also rely on the ideas and suggestions submitted by our employees. I would like to voice my thanks to them for their part in our being honored with the Top 100 Award.”
In order to continuously drive its market success, the KHS Group adopts an open corporate culture. Employees are thus selected at random to enter into direct dialog with the Executive Management Board. This allows topics to be discussed which are important to the company and its customers. Inventor compensation and premiums act as additional incentives and are intended to encourage personnel to submit suggestions for improvements and innovations.
40 years of comPETence
KHS event in Hamburg
In 1968 industry pioneers Otto Rosenkranz and Karl-Heinrich Seifert took out a patent on their innovative process for the manufacture of plastic containers. Seven years later, exactly 40 years go, they made their next pioneering achievement; the first family-sized PET bottles were produced for Coca-Cola and Pepsi on Corpoplast stretch blow molders. KHS Corpoplast is now one the world’s leading experts in the development and manufacture of PET packaging and still a pioneer in the field of stretch blow molding technology. On September 17 and 18 the company celebrated its 40th anniversary with an informative jubilee event at its headquarters in Hamburg. Many long-standing customers from Germany and beyond accepted the invitation to the city on the Elbe.
World Heritage Site plays host
The event was staged in Hamburg’s warehouse district (“Speicherstadt”), recently made a UNESCO World Heritage Site – or more specifically in the historic coffee exchange (“Borsensaal”) which is now used by the modern Ameron design hotel as a function room. Whereas the trade in coffee used to dominate the proceedings here, the agenda in September of this year aimed to provide the latest information on KHS systems and competence in PET.
After a welcome by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Niemeyer, CEO of KHS GmbH, and Thomas Karell, managing director of KHS Corpoplast GmbH, the event turned to the company’s proven range of PET engineering. The main topics were the most recent developments to the InnoPET, blocked PET lines, the pioneering Direct Print process and the new DisplayPacker. The many customer benefits provided by KHS services, such as the Bottles and Shapes™ consultancy program, were also clearly outlined. KHS Plasmax’s managing director Bernd Kempa rounded off the talks by presenting the outstanding advantages offered to KHS customers who implement the premium PET concept using the InnoPET FreshSafe block.
Interactive factory tour
Following the talks and presentations KHS’ international guests drove to the KHS production site in Hamburg where an interactive tour of the factory awaited them. Here, the participants were able to see for themselves that blocked PET bottle production is also a holistic concept for the economical and top-quality processing of premium sensitive beverages. By way of a summary, those who took part agreed that all of these excellent developments would not have been possible without KHS’ many years of expertise and its wide range of impressive products. KHS – first choice in technology and service.
Exchange and networking on the Rio Douro
EBC and info day at Unicer
The specialist European Brewery Convention or EBC was held from May 24–27 of this year in Porto, Portugal’s center of trade and economy. Around 450 experts from the brewing industry, brewery science and teaching presented and discussed the results of current research and development in brewery technology. Participant and sponsor KHS set up an information stand in the congress center which turned into something of a meeting point during the breaks in the conference proceedings. At the booth Edgar Petsche, Ralph Pohl and Frank Schneidermann, the sales managers responsible for KHS’ Portuguese customer Unicer, were able to make new contacts with current and prospective customers and scientists and intensify existing contacts.
The EBC was followed by an information day at the Unicer site a few kilometers north of Porto on May 28. Over 200 trade visitors took part and inspected both the modern KHS lines and the automatic high-bay warehouse which had recently been built. As the biggest beverage company in Portugal regarding both sales and turnover, not long ago Unicer concentrated its brewing activities in the region and invested approximately €100 million in the extension of its premises. After a record period of just 15 months nine new filling and packaging lines went into operation as part of a complex joint project managed by Unicer and KHS. The participants listened to the talks given by those responsible for the project with great interest, gaining plenty of tips and useful information for their own business activities. The impressive info day at Unicer was rounded off by a virtual flight through the extended brewery systems.
Back to the Roots
Change of management in the Service Division
Tobias Wetzel took over as head of the Service Division at KHS on September 1, 2015. In this position he succeeds Günter Unkrig who has left the company after 35 very successful years. With this change of position, in many respects Wetzel is going back to his roots at KHS; after joining the company at the beginning of 2011 he first helped to build up and expand KHS Service and Sales Support. His tasks in this department included developing and implementing worldwide sales standards for all of the regional after-sales service centers situated around the globe. After nine months in this function Wetzel then assumed responsibility for Central Controlling for the KHS Group. In April 2015 he was also made managing director of KHS Corpoplast in Hamburg.
The subject of bottles and the beverage industry have long accompanied Tobias Wetzel throughout his professional career. While still at school he supplemented his pocket money at the end of the 1980s with casual labor for container glass manufacturer Oberland Glas in Bad Wurzach in Upper Swabia. After studying business administration at the Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, in 1997 he embarked on the first leg of his career at The Coca-Cola Company in Essen where he was introduced to the PET bottle. Further positions included work for Schmalbach-Lubeca, then one of the leading manufacturers of beverage cans and PET bottles, and Mannesmannröhren-Werke, at the time a new affiliate of Salzgitter AG, where Wetzel mastered various tasks in corporate planning. In 2007 he and his family moved to Houston, Texas, in the USA, where for four years he oversaw the plant expansion for Salzgitter Mannesmann Stainless Steel Tubes before returning to Germany in 2011. Privately, his family is everything to the 42-year-old; whenever he can, Tobias Wetzel is out on the soccer field with his two sons.
Innovation for U
In-house KHS exhibition in Dortmund
In Dortmund in Germany, where KHS GmbH is headquartered, the legendary, illuminated U on the roof of the Center for Art and Creativity marks the spot where Dortmund’s Union Brewery once successfully exported its beer to all four corners of the globe. It was beneath this golden yellow landmark that many guests convened for KHS’ 2015 in-house exhibition on June 25. The event was held under the motto “Innovation for U”.
To open, CEO Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Niemeyer and CSO Prof. E.h. Dr.-Ing. Johann Grabenweger welcomed their guests from Germany and beyond with an outline of the topics to be presented. A number of informative talks then followed. Under the heading of Project excellence Edgar Petsche, executive vice-president for Europe/CIS talked about KHS’ greenfield expertise, line optimization, its competence in single machines and the vision of market leadership through KHS innovations. Günter Unkrig, executive vice-president of the Service Division, explained the extensive product portfolio with its innovative services and the expansion of KHS’ global service presence. He also informed guests about the increase in the availability of spare parts and the shortening of delivery times brought about by the World Logistics Center or WLC in Dortmund. The technological topics dealt with by Oliver Kopp, executive vice-president of the Line Product Division, included KHS’ line expertise and its duo- and triblock systems. He also introduced those present to the world of Dortmund products, including bottle washers, pasteurizers, inspection technology, labelers and conveying systems.
As the ensuing discussion illustrated, the specialist audience was enthused by the innovations and further developments presented. First-class entertainment was also provided at the communal evening event with a live band and impressive panoramas out over Dortmund.
The next day the participants were invited to visit the main KHS factory in Dortmund to see the production site and examine the company’s technical further developments. The products on show ranged from a completely redesigned tunnel pasteurizer through the modular, multifunctional labeler platform and pioneering Direct Print process to holistic software systems for line automation. The guests also had the chance to familiarize themselves with the KHS World Logistics Center.
All told, this year’s in-house exhibition provided an ideal opportunity to communicate and swap experiences with customers and present new developments and planned projects. There was also a chance to take an exclusive look behind the scenes at KHS during the factory tour in Dortmund. “I wasn’t just impressed by the fact that the KHS plant has been turned into an ultramodern production site but also by the great commitment and competence shown by the executive managers,” says Herbert Clausen, head of Purchasing for Gerolsteiner Brunnen, to quote just one happy visitor.