Mainz (ots) –
- Development of new business areas
- Special focus on China and USA
- Climate neutrality by 2030
- Driving transformation in terms of digitization and diversity
SCHOTT is setting itself ambitious goals in its new corporate strategy. The international group is an expert in the development and manufacture of special glass – a material that almost everyone comes into contact with on a daily basis and which offers almost infinite potential for use in a wide variety of markets. “Raising this potential is our clear goal,” said CEO Dr. Frank Heinricht, at the presentation of the new SCHOTT strategy in Mainz. “We are concentrating on four areas of activity: We want to advance into related business areas and significantly expand our involvement in our two focus markets, the USA and China. At the same time, we are concentrating on the current challenges of climate protection, diversity and digitization and want to actively transform these into an advantage for us “.
Review 2014-2020: Successful consolidation of the portfolio
SCHOTT has set the course for this as part of its previous strategy. Frank Heinricht emphasized the positive development over the past six years. “We achieved the goal of heading for a clear profitability course with our strategy program initiated in 2014 much faster than planned”. For example, the equity ratio has increased to 32% in the past few years. The operating result has increased steadily since 2014, most recently to EUR 275 million.
“This shows that our approach at the time of initially streamlining the portfolio was correct,” adds Heinricht. At the same time, in addition to the successful consolidation, the group laid the foundation for further growth. During the period mentioned, SCHOTT invested more than 1 billion euros worldwide and further expanded its innovation pipeline. This preparatory work is particularly important in the current economically fragile situation: Thanks to its broad portfolio, the company has good stability despite COVID-19. As usual, the company will announce details and figures for the 2020 financial year at the annual press conference in January.
“We have laid a good foundation in the past few years. Now is the time to raise our standards to a new level,” said Heinricht. “This project is ambitious, but that has always been SCHOTT’s strength”. For this very reason, the corporate culture and the guiding principle of “Pioneering Responsibly Together” are integral parts of the new strategy. Based on this, the company has defined four projects across all units by 2026:
1. Focus on new business areas
SCHOTT has set itself the goal of tapping into adjacent markets and applications. Successful examples are the augmented reality or ultra-thin glass business: Glass types that have already been developed are used for new applications such as foldable smartphone displays or data glasses. Another goal is to expand the range with new products and thus convince in markets in which the group is already active. For example, the company has already made use of its specialist knowledge in the pharmaceutical market and has successfully opened up a new product segment with the polymer syringe. The company is already expanding this competence with capacity expansions at the St. Gallen (Switzerland) location and the construction of a new plant in Müllheim (Germany).
2. Focus on China and the USA
An important focus in the new strategy is the expansion of business in the USA and China. As the world’s largest economies and innovation centers with an international scope, both regions have great potential for a multitude of special glass applications. SCHOTT expects positive impulses from these two regions for pharmaceutical packaging, semiconductors and data communication as well as in medical technology and consumer electronics. Expansion of the regional research and production activities in cross-functional and cross-national teams should significantly promote growth in these dynamic markets. SCHOTT has set a first milestone towards this goal with the start of production at the new Chinese pharmaceutical tubing plant in early 2021.
3. Climate neutrality by 2030
At the same time, SCHOTT is committed to sustainable development in pursuing its growth targets and is therefore committed to climate protection even more than before. “We want to develop SCHOTT into a climate-neutral company by 2030 and thus make an active contribution to climate protection,” explained Heinricht. No other company in the special glass industry has set such an ambitious goal and firmly anchored it in its strategy.
The group wants to avoid, reduce or compensate for emissions that are harmful to the climate and is focusing on four fields of action: As part of the tried and tested energy management system, further potential savings are to be identified. When it comes to electrical energy, SCHOTT will switch entirely to green electricity. In the long term, the company wants to forego the use of fossil fuels entirely, as far as technologically feasible. The company sees a very promising solution in hydrogen technology, for example. SCHOTT wants to offset technologically unavoidable emissions by investing in climate protection projects. You can find more detailed information on SCHOTT’s climate neutrality strategy here.
4. Drive transformation in terms of digitization and diversity
People determine the success of any company. “Organizations are demonstrably more successful when they live diversity in their culture and rely on diverse teams,” says Heinricht. As a traditional industrial group, SCHOTT first has to do basic work. The aim is to send a “best team” to the start for each task, which combines the right specialist skills with a culture of acceptance and openness. Target images and roadmaps are currently being developed in dialogue with the business units. In addition, the HR department is developing a process that is intended to ensure more diversity in new hires and succession planning. SCHOTT wants to take into account all dimensions of diversity, such as different values and perspectives, and place a focus on nationality, gender and interdisciplinary professional experience.
In order for the “best teams” to be in top form, the right framework conditions are required. In the area of digital transformation, SCHOTT therefore wants to gain speed, impact and reach and thus play a leading role in the special glass industry. The development and manufacture of special glass is a complex process for which digitization definitely offers optimization potential. Production processes at SCHOTT have long been optimized with the help of Industry 4.0 approaches and artificial intelligence. “We want to give SCHOTT employees even better support in everyday operations and raise awareness in the group of the opportunities offered by digitization,” explained Heinricht. The aim is to make glass production more efficient, to learn even more about the material glass and to enable further product innovations and business models.
Translating the spirit of the founding fathers into the future
“More than 130 years ago, our company founders made it their business to use innovative special glass to improve life, promote science and inspire progress in many areas. As pioneers with curiosity, focus and a clear vision, they developed this company . Exactly the same spirit is used as a model for our new strategy. We will consistently take the necessary steps to achieve this in the years to come, “said CEO Dr. Heinricht in conclusion.
SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the fields of special glass, glass ceramics and related high-tech materials. With over 130 years of experience, the company is an innovative partner for many industries, for example household appliances, pharmaceuticals, electronics, optics, life sciences, the automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT has a global presence with production and sales locations in 34 countries. In the 2018/2019 financial year, the group achieved sales of 2.2 billion euros with over 16,200 employees. SCHOTT AG has its headquarters in Mainz and is 100 percent owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. This is one of the oldest private and largest science-promoting foundations in Germany. As a foundation company, SCHOTT assumes a special responsibility for employees, society and the environment. www.schott.com
Inquiries & contact:
Head of Marketing and Communication SCHOTT AG
Tel. +49 (0)6131/66-4335