When we drew up the contents of our Vision 2022, we were aware that economic activity and the markets would change dramatically in the coming years. Globalisation, which has been strongly accelerated by digitalisation, is fostering concentration processes which will have considerable consequences, especially for the social and economic middle class.
We are convinced that the benefits that must be generated in traditional value creation in order to continue to exist are shifting and concentrating more and more in favour of IT-related, globally active corporate concentrations.
These, once created with the idea of simplifying the processes in the classical economy and offering services, are becoming an end in themselves and now call for the entrance fees that companies of the "old economy" have to pay if they want to help shape the digital markets.
It is in the nature of the matter that the investments for participation in these markets are constantly increasing and will ultimately no longer be manageable for many small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, the development of the relocation of procurement processes to the Internet, now described as "Amazonization", will pose an acute threat to many of our trading partners in multi-stage sales.
But we also know that this development cannot be stopped and cannot be corrected. Our company philosophy has always focused on people. By "people" we meant both our customers and our employees. Against the background of the above, our employees will gain even more weight in the future.
The digital world is incredibly efficient and transparent, but also anonymous, sterile and impersonal. Human intervention is not desirable here, because anything that cannot be handled fully automatically causes costs and thus stands in the way of maximising profits. That is why we are setting a counterpoint for this House and acting as follows:
We will help ourselves at the buffet of the digital possible, without wanting to have everything. We use what makes sense for our very specific business model without jumping over every little digital stick that we are being stalled by.
A production that works according to Industry 4.0 ideology with networked and intelligent machines, but without people, is not desirable for us.
We believe that products intended for people should also be made by people. This perhaps somewhat naive ideal is what we place at the centre of our philosophy. Which brings us back to our employees.
In a nutshell: The performance of our employees is the best we have to offer. Our employees are authentic, down-to-earth, likeable and competent. They are at home in Europe and rooted in South Westphalia.
They are individualists who together create what our customers want. They combine tradition and innovation in an ideal way. And our employees know what is most important to them: total customer satisfaction. Because only then does our philosophy make sustainable sense.