Schiltach, June 2011. Back in June 1901, when Hans Grohe founded a metal spinning company in the Black Forest village of Schiltach, he could hardly have dreamed that the then three-man enterprise would become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of fittings and showerheads. Now, 110 years later, Hansgrohe AGwww.hansgrohe.com
with over 3,200 employees and subsidiaries in 37 countries enjoys a reputation across all continents as one of the international sanitary industry’s most successful businesses. CEO, Siegfried Gänßlen, comments on the company’s 110th anniversary, “in our sector, which is influenced by a majority of medium-sized businesses, only a few companies have grown thanks to their efforts in recent years as dynamically and profitably as Hansgrohe AG. Results for the first months of the current year confirm that this development is likely to continue throughout 2011. New orders for the domestic German market and internationally are significantly above their peak last year.” In 2010, company sales rose by 13.5 per cent to € 693 million and growth forecasts for 2011 were revised upwards: the business now aims for new record sales and revenues. “Our sights are firmly fixed on the billion mark as an interim sales target,” Hansgrohe’s CEO underlines.
Growing with the company’s workforce
“To get here, we have benefitted from qualities distinguishing Hansgrohe for 110 years and making the company resilient,” says Siegfried Gänßlen. “Firstly, we gain from a flourishing culture of innovation, which is practised company-wide, and remains firmly committed to high quality. Our products consistently aim for improved customer benefits and production focuses on steady efficiency and productivity gains. Secondly, our market approach is based on systematic internationalization with the core strategy essentially starting in 1907 when our export business began. Thirdly, we benefit from our employees’ exceptionally high levels of commitment and flexibility and we can always rely on our workforce.” In this respect, Hansgrohe AG has always grown in harmony with its employees and not at their expense. Klaus Grohe, who led the company from 1975 to 2008 and since been chairman of the board of directors emphasizes that “even as a global player, we never forgot our roots as a medium-sized family business.”
“We will also write history for years to come in the bathroom industry!”
The company’s roots continue to have an influence. This is not just because since 1901 successive members of company founder Hans Grohe’s family have taken active roles in managing the business. Hans Grohe’s pioneering approach and his passion for the element of water still influence this fittings and showerhead manufacturer to this day. Hansgrohe AG therefore consistently succeeds in setting new standards globally and introducing key trends in the international bathroom sector thanks to its innovations from the first automatic drain and overflow set (1934) to the shower column (1953) and the world’s first showerhead with adjustable jets (1968) to Raindance AirPower technology (2004) and heat recovery from shower and bath waste water (2010). Additionally, the bathroom and sanitary specialist from the Black Forest also sets design standards in the industry – a result of its long-standing cooperation with internationally renowned design stars such as Phoenix Design, Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio, Jean-Marie Massaud, Patricia Urquiola and the Bouroullec brothers. It is no accident that along with about 1,900 companies considered for the International Forum Design Award, Hansgrohe AG currently ranks in eleventh place. The company is therefore way ahead of its competitors in the sanitary industry, and also leaves behind other reputable brands such as Daimler, Audi, Hewlett Packard, Miele and Volkswagen, which rank on this exclusive list of the best design companies.
Siegfried Gänßlen and Klaus Grohe are unanimous that “this influential power of innovation not only helps us develop new solutions and products. It also regularly motivates us to question our processes and business model and, if necessary, to reinvent ourselves to a certain degree. This is of vital importance for the future viability of the company. Hansgrohe AG has such a strong strategic position that it can also write history for years to come in the bathroom industry!”