Beckhoff keeps growing & growing
I used to attend the Hannover Fair in Germany each April during the 80's and 90's. Each year I watched as Hans Beckhoff build his small German company with an amazing array of industrial computers and I/O products.
Hans is the scion of a business family which owned local Appliance and TV stores in Verl, in Northern Germany. Hans went off to college, and came back a technocrat. He starting his own company, Beckhoff Automation, which kept growing and growing, fueled with his prolific ideas and product implementations.
Each year, I'd have a drink and a chat on the Beckhoff booth, discussing with Hans the perils of "scaling up" past the entrepreneurial stages. By now Hans was my friend, and I saw his factory in Verl, visited his home and met his family. As the years passed, I've watched with respect and admiration as he continued steadily to build the talent and the team to fuel growth.
Now, a decade later, Beckhoff Automation has grown well past that magical $100M barrier and continues to grow steadily. In 2006, the company grew by 26%, to $250M (Euro 190M). And here is the growth record for recent years: 17% (2005), 31% (2004), 27% (2003). The company continues a very healthy progression. At the end of 2006, Beckhoff had 800 employees worldwide, 20% increase over the previous year.
Hans Beckhoff attributes the continued strong growth to emphasis on new, innovative automation technology, continuous introduction of new products, combined with consistent expansion of the company's international distribution network.
In 2006, Beckhoff Automation established five new subsidiaries in Spain, Belgium, Brazil, South Africa and Australia. Says Hans Beckhoff, "We were already well represented through distributors in these countries, however, we intend to further strengthen our position in these markets by moving toward direct sales." The sales increases confirm the success of this strategy: Exports were 43% of total revenues in 2006.
Beckhoff is now represented in more than 60 countries worldwide through 18 subsidiaries, agencies or distribution partners. Hans Beckhoff is relentless in the pursuit of growth. He says: "In 2007 we will continue to intensify the expansion of our global distribution network by establishing branches in Turkey, India and Dubai."
Hans Beckhoff attributes growth to above-average development in the company's specialty areas of PC-based Control (IPCs), distributed I/O, software PLC/NC and Drive Technology. Further exciting new technological developments are coming soon in the Drive Technology, Safety and EtherCAT-based control.
Europe's most successful PC pioneer, Hans Beckhoff, has a simple two-part formula for success: 1. Put everything in software, on one platform, and 2. Give the customer everything he needs so he doesn't have to buy anything else.
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