Würth digitalizes the trades
Würth Group with record sales and record operating result, investment in research and development
The Würth Group, world market leader in the field of assembly and fastening materials, achieved a new record with an operating result of more than one billion euros (EUR 1,270 million) in the 2021 fiscal year (2020: EUR 775 million). At EUR 17.1 billion, the worldwide operating family business generated the highest sales volume in corporate history (2020: EUR 14.4 billion). This corresponds to growth of 18.4 percent. Adjusted for currencies, sales grew by 19.0 percent.
- Sales are growing to EUR 17.1 billion, high double-digit growth of 18.4 percent
- Operating result at EUR 1.3 billion reaching a new record level
- Biggest increase in the last 10 years: Number of employees goes up to 83,183
- Würth’s digital solutions support customers in their daily work routine
- Innovation Center will open on 28 September 2022
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting price increases as well as material shortages on the procurement market challenged us last year. The distinct increase in sales and operating result furnishes proof that our strategy is worthwhile also in times of crisis,” says Robert Friedmann, Chairman of the Central Managing Board of the Würth Group. “This is the reason why we started the year 2022 full of optimism. That is, until 24 February, when the conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalated. Now, we have to manage this unprecedented situation of uncertainty every single day.“
The 2021 fiscal year
Always at the customers’ beck and call: brick-and-mortar, personally, digitally
The Group’s international orientation with more than 400 companies in 80 countries, the broad business structure thanks to the diversified business areas of the Würth Line and the Allied Companies and the multi-channel strategy also paid off during the last fiscal year. 24/7, Würth offers its customers a perfect range of contact points worldwide: brick-and-mortar with 2,500 shops, personally in the form of more than 33,000 sales representatives and digitally via the Würth App, the online shop and e-procurement. At roughly 20 percent of total sales, e-business reported a very dynamic development. That way, during the pandemic, the Group never lost touch with its customers and was able to safeguard material supply throughout.
German and international companies reporting double-digit growth
With a sales share of 40.7 percent, Germany remains the most important individual market for the Würth Group. In the second year of the pandemic, the German companies proved to be battle-tried and generated a sales plus of 14.3 percent. The Electrical Wholesale Unit (+28.9 percent) and Würth Elektronik Group (+32.5 percent) were particularly successful. Division Industry compensated for the decline in sales from 2020 and achieved the highest growth among the Würth Line divisions at 18.4 percent. Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, the largest single company in the Group, increased its sales by 13.4 percent—the strongest growth in the last ten years. The companies outside Germany also succeeded in achieving a sales increase of 21.4 percent.
Lack of skilled personnel and the procurement situation weigh heavily on the trades
Würth relieves strain through digitalization
Supply and material bottlenecks that already existed before the Ukraine crisis continue to complicate the day-to-day work of tradespeople. Metals, electronic components or plastics are difficult to obtain. Friedmann emphasizes: “There still is lots of sales potential out there once supply security has been restored.” In the 2021 Skilled Workers Report, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce reports that more than one in two companies is unable to fill vacancies in the long term due in part to a lack of staff. Among other things, this results in an additional burden for employees, increasing labor costs for keeping staff on board and hiring new employees, it leads to rejecting orders and, ultimately, to reduced competitiveness.
“The importance of the industry was demonstrated during the pandemic. Being essential businesses, the trades kept going. From the small but essential repair of an electrical installation to the sustainable infrastructure construction project—the trades are and will remain future-proof. We see it as our primary task to support our customers wherever we can.” This is how Robert Friedmann describes the challenges in the trades.
Intelligent products, smart services and systems
It is Würth’s objective to make customers’ work easier so that they can focus on their core business.
“We offer intelligent products and smart services and systems for this,” says Dr. Heiko Roßkamp, Head of Research and Development at Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG. “A perfect example are our certified anchors along with appropriate anchor dimensioning software. With the help of this digital tool, customers can determine which and how many anchors to use. This saves both time and money. The certification facilitates access to tenders.“
The M-CUBE® cordless power tool series provides excellent examples of Würth’s system world to customers: “You no longer need to waste valuable time on looking for the proper battery. In the M-CUBE® power tool series, one battery fits all, from the hand-held circular saw to the impact drill driver. Every employee always has the right battery on every construction site. The digital management tool ORSY®online keeps track of who is using which power tool and when the next inspection date is due,” explains Roßkamp. “Thanks to the new Innovation Center, we will be able to launch such high-quality products developed in-house even faster.”
Thanks to the ORSY® System Rack Sensor, Würth customers do not even have to think about material replenishment. The rack identifies the withdrawal and reorders automatically. On 2 May 2022, towio, the new cloud solution for tradespeople, went live. This digital platform with an integrated app store enables customers to do their office work on laptops or mobile phones. Be it order processing, the preparation of service reports, material orders, photo documentation or payment processing: Through the app store, customers assemble these individual modules according to their needs. Links to the online shop and already existing e-services such as the management tool ORSY®online make it possible for customers to handle all administrative tasks using only one tool.
“We keep our customers’ backs free and give them the freedom to focus on their core business and other topics such as consulting, opening up new business or personnel recruitment,“ says Friedmann about the advantages.
In the 2021 fiscal year, the number of employees worldwide increased to 83,183 (2020: 79,139). Of those, more than 33,000 work in the sales force. In Germany, the Group employs 25,438 people. At 4,044 new colleagues, this is the biggest increase in the last ten years.
Equity capital provides security
In the past fiscal year, the Würth Group’s equity increased by 15.3 percent to EUR 6.8 billion. With this plus of EUR 904 million, the equity ratio was stepped up to 45.2 percent (2020: 43.8 percent) and is therefore on a very good level. In 2021, the rating agency Standard & Poor’s confirmed the Würth Group’s rating with A/outlook stable, demonstrating the company’s stability.
Looking ahead to 2022
The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have been magnified with the conflict in Ukraine and the pandemic situation in China. Due to the current economic and global political situation, a reliable forecast for the further development of the Würth Group in 2022 cannot be given. In the first four months of 2022, the Group generated sales growth of 18.8 percent; adjusted for currencies, this would be 17.2 percent. Both from a regional point of view and in terms of strategic business units, said sales growth is broad-based. The number of employees increased by 4.4 percent. The operating result is 11 percent above the previous year.
“Despite the global economic and political events, we are cautiously optimistic about this development,” Friedmann says. “We focus on anticipating challenges such as delays in the supply chain, material bottlenecks and price increases so that we can remain a reliable partner for our customers in the future.”
About the Würth Group
The Würth Group is the world’s market leader in the development, production, and distribution of assembly and fastening materials. Other trading and production companies, known as the Allied Companies, operate in related business areas, including electrical wholesaling, electronics, and financial services. The Group employs more than 83,000 employees in over 400 companies operating 2,500 shops across 80 countries. According to the audited annual financial statement, the Group generated consolidated sales of EUR 17.1 billion and an operating result before tax of EUR 1,270 million in the 2021 fiscal year.