22. January 2021
Question: At the beginning of the year you can' t, of course, ignore the world-wide dominating topic. How has häwa weathered the Corona crisis so far?
Arno Müller: "So far, we came relatively unscathed through the crisis and, of course, we are doing everything possible to ensure that this will remain unchanged. Thanks to a strict hygiene concept, we had a very low rate of corona infections in our operating environment. We felt the effects more in how we could communicate with our customers. Trade shows were completely canceled, and many customer appointments were either postponed or completely canceled. However, we managed to make the best out of the situation - for example, with a roadshow which we will continue in 2021.“
Question: It is well known that every crisis is also an opportunity. häwa has recently invested heavily. What exactly are you planning for the company?
Arno Müller: “Our prime objective is to advance our technical innovation to be always close to the market. One example is a completely new, fully automatic bending center which we will put into operation in February. With our investments in new machinery and production processes, we are continuing our course of being able to work as efficiently as possible for our customers.“
Question: You are not only investing in machines, but also in your employees. Can you give us an idea of what this means?
Arno Müller: "Our employees are our most important asset! As we always expanded in recent years, for us it’s an important matter to continuously focus on improving working conditions. Ergonomic and back-friendly assembly stations provide a healthy working environment to relieve our production employees. A brand-new extraction system in the welding shop ensures clean air. Soundproof rooms make work more comfortable. All in all, we have recently invested a mid-six-figure euro amount in these areas."
Question: An excellent example of an investment in the future is also the company’s own training workshop.
Arno Müller: "Yes, indeed. Our own training workshop has definitely proven to be successful. In times of an impending shortage of skilled workers, we consciously selected this path. Two employees are dedicated to looking after our trainees and many of our currently more than 30 apprentices find a safe job with us after their education. We are happy - and very proud - of this."
Question: What is your general assessment of the current economic situation and political conditions?
Arno Müller: "The entire Central European machinery market is marked by economic challenges, primarily coming from the automotive industry. At the moment, no one can foresee exactly where the journey is heading. This topic will definitely occupy us over the next twelve to 24 months. This is compounded by the substantial uncertainties caused by the Corona crisis. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the German mechanical engineering sector has a very healthy basis. I’m am optimistic and, despite the fragile general conditions, we are well positioned for the future. After some interim declines, häwa is currently recording further stable growth rates. Although still on a rather cautious scale - we look positive into the future."
Question: One last question to conclude: As Managing Director of häwa GmbH, what are your personal wishes for 2021?
Arno Müller: "That's no question - I wish for our employees, their families and for our customers that we all stay healthy and that we will soon find our way back to a certain normality, as far as this will be possible. We will then work out everything else together on a daily basis."