16. January 2023
Question: Mr Müller, the German economy is currently caught between hope and fear. Worldwide crises, rising energy prices and supply problems are on everyone's lips. What is the situation at häwa?
Arno Müller: First of all, we are very satisfied with the 2022 financial year that has just ended. Our forward-looking approach, which focuses on solid long-term growth rather than short-term effects, has paid off. We will continue this philosophy in the new year. We have full order books and will continue to increase our workforce in 2023. So far, cost increases have only been passed on in part, and our approach to this is transparent and fair to all customers and suppliers. I continue to assume that inflation will be (too) high. Sheet metal prices, for example, were already affected by massive cost increases in 2022, and other suppliers will also massively increase costs in 2023. This must be clearly stated. I would also like to take this opportunity to expressly thank all our employees and customers. Our employees are our greatest asset and we are grateful to our customers for their loyalty despite what was sometimes a difficult delivery situation. In 2023, we will continue to rely on trusting partnerships.
Question: Will häwa GmbH have any special highlights in 2023?
Arno Müller: Oh yes. First and foremost, there is the new building at our headquarters in Wain. We are investing around 15 million euros in a new administration building including a canteen, a new final assembly line and a brand-new paint shop. The groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for the end of March – undoubtedly a real highlight for häwa and Wain.
Question: Nowadays, a new building does not have to be just "beautiful" or functional, but must also meet clear requirements. For example, in terms of energy efficiency. What is the planning like at häwa?
Arno Müller: That's right. Especially with the current massive rise in energy prices, this is of great importance – not to mention the major issue of climate protection. A value that we absolutely live up to. A photovoltaic system, charging stations for electromobility, as well as efficient building management play an essential role in this. Likewise, the new paint shop will be significantly more energy efficient than its predecessor. All this is not just a nice effect but is now a significant cost item for companies to keep track of. We have good reason to pay close attention to this, for example through an annual energy efficiency report comprising around 60 pages. This shows us exactly where we still have room to improve.
Question: Up and down the country, there are complaints about a lack of (specialist) personnel. How does häwa meet this challenge?
Arno Müller: First of all: We have increased our headcount by around five percent in 2022. Further hires are also planned for the new year. häwa is an attractive employer in this respect. Following wage increases in 2022, we will also implement the collective wage agreements agreed with IG Metall in 2023. We paid a premium to compensate for inflation, and employees also receive subsidies for lunch at a local provider here in Wain, for example. And we will have a great canteen of our own in the future.
Question: And what about the topics of young talent and recruiting? What is häwa doing in these areas?
Arno Müller: In 2022, we further upgraded training for construction mechanics, brought a new training manager on board and purchased a new machine for the trainee workshop. We increased trainee compensation on 1 September. And: If they have a good report card with a grade of 2.0 or better in their school year-end report card, we pay our junior staff a bonus. But of course, we also focus on further training among our core workforce. We support our employees and invest generously in training every year. There are some employees who, after completing their training with us, go on to become technicians or continue their commercial training. There is a great need to acquire knowledge to stay on top of things. We invest a lot of money in training every year. That is why we have invested, among other things, in a training platform that we will adapt to our needs and that our employees can use.
Question: What is the situation like on the product side at häwa? Is there anything new in this area?
Arno Müller: We have had X-frame in our portfolio for more than ten years. Oriented to the needs of the market, the X-frame is constantly being further developed. Thus, the functional frame now also has UL approval. Customers appreciate the functionality and design of X-frame solutions as part of their process optimization. The X-frame solution has a special stability that clearly distinguishes it from products of all other manufacturers. On the one hand, the fact that competitors are copying X-frame is a tribute to our development work. On the other hand, it is of course annoying when others simply copy our successful model. But believe me: Nothing is as good as the original! And the original is X-frame by häwa.
Question: What else can be expected from häwa in 2023?
Arno Müller: We will continue to increase our efficiency in the new year. Ongoing modernizations are planned, as are further developments of our machine fleet. For example, a fully automated punching machine is being purchased, as are two new bending machines for production in Wain. And our customers – existing customers and new prospects alike – can also look forward to many a highlight in 2023. We will be presenting our roadshow, which has been highly successful across Europe in recent years, in a new guise. I'll only reveal this much: This is something customers can already look forward to.