Dr. Fritz Faulhaber honoured as a top innovator
Lothar Späth awards the "Top 100" seal of approval to Baden-Württemberg-based electronics company for its outstanding innovations management
As patron of the SME initiative, he will be recognising Dr. Fritz Faulhaber's achievements in the five key categories of "Innovation-friendly Senior Management", "Climate of Innovation", "Innovative Processes and Organisation", "Innovations Marketing" and "Successful Innovations". The company even made it into the top ten in the final category.
The company, which specialises in miniature electric motors and micro drive systems, employs 692 people and generated revenue of around €116 million in 2008. The "Top 100" judges found the company's creative workshops and innovative day-to-day atmosphere particularly impressive. Employees have their own space in which to be creative and have access to a range of technological samples at all times. The management team at Dr. Fritz Faulhaber GmbH & Co. KG completely restructured its innovations management process about two years ago. "Since then it has been smoother, much more fluid and has really picked up speed", enthused Dr Jens Haug, head of the innovation centre. On average, staff come up with at least one new product idea every week, each of which entails a bonus payment. Around a dozen of these ideas are ultimately followed up and put into practice by the company.
The firm's innovation processes are designed in such a way that the focus is not solely on the product itself but also on the learning effect that is created in the process of technological development. As a result, an idea that is not put into practice is not a failure; ideally it prompts new ideas and suggestions and inspires a different approach to using the product concept.
To qualify for the award, Dr. Fritz Faulhaber had to undergo a stringent, two-stage process devised by the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. "Our results show that the 100 top innovators generally tackle challenges head on and are thus well-equipped to deal with the current economic situation, for example.Innovation is a matter of priority at management level for most of these companies" commented Professor Nikolaus Franke, head of the research team, on the analysis. In the past three years, these award-winners generated two thirds of their revenue from innovations and innovative improvements, compared with 30 per cent in a sample of similarly-structured German SMEs.
In addition, Top 100 firms were able to shave some 12 per cent off their costs through process innovations, compared with a paltry 4 per cent on the part of "average SMEs". As a result, thisyear's "Top 100" contains 54 German market leaders, 22 of which are global leaders in theirfield. Director Dr.Thomas Bertolini is jubilant about the firm's success: "We are now officiallyclassed among the most formidable innovators in the German SME sector, which is an excellent recommendation for our customers. It gives us credibility with our partners and inspires confidence and inspires confidence in our staff. We could scarcely have hoped for better news inthese times of crisis." Overall, 319 companies entered the "Top 100" competition this year.