Outstandingly innovative: Walter Föckersperger

26. June 2015

Outstandingly innovative: Walter Föckersperger

Honoured by Ranga Yogeshwar

Pauluszell. Success thanks to entrepreneurial vision: Walter Föckersperger GmbH was awarded the title of one of the most innovative German SMEs on June 26 at the Deutscher Mittelstands-Summit (German SME summit) in Essen. "Top 100" mentor Ranga Yogeshwar honoured the company, based in Pauluszell, with the "Top 100" seal of approval, an award which has been presented for over 20 years. Prior to this, Walter Föckersperger had undergone a two-stage scientific analysis process.

Walter Föckersperger GmbH has been awarded the "Top 100" seal of approval, and the company made an impression in the innovation contest with its innovative successes, in particular. The family company, founded in 1931, develops devices and machines which enable flexible lines and pipes to be laid without excavation. The special machine builder, who is based in the Lower Bavarian town of Pauluszell, launches new products, which are used around the world, with increasing frequency.

The company's innovative success is reflected in their strong figures: the turnover and profit is made up of 15% market innovations, 50% innovative improvements and 25% product range innovations. All in all, the world market leader is about five years ahead of its competitors with regard to technology.

The ideas for new products come from practical experience in close collaboration with customers: if the "Top 100" prize winner cannot find a suitable solution on the market for a customer project, then the company and its 20 employees develop it themselves. For example, this was how the company developed a novel control system for cable winch vehicles, which takes care of many tasks for the operator and ensures optimum monitoring of the entire working process. The Pauluszell-based company also developed an innovative, never before seen drive for cable winch vehicles. "Conventional drives still have a service life of less than a year, we cannot expect our customers to accept that. So we just had to do something about it", reports Managing Director Walter Föckersperger, who is heavily involved in the innovation work himself: top management dedicate 40% of their working hours to the topic of innovation. The company has been purposefully kept to a manageable size and this enables quick responses and short decision-making processes.

"Our good ideas and ability to rapidly implement them are a decisive competitive advantage for us", explains Managing Director Walter Föckersperger. "This is why we invest a lot of time and effort into innovation management. We rely on the innovative thinking of all our employees. I would like to thank them for achieving the "Top 100" award."

The "Top 100" seal of approval is awarded based on a two-stage analysis, which was developed by Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke and his team from the Chair for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The academics examine the innovation management and innovative success of SMEs using over 100 parameters in five categories. The academic leadership is ultimately responsible for deciding who is awarded the "Top 100" seal of approval.

This year, Franke and his team tested more applications than ever before: of the 302 qualifiers, 234 companies reached the final. 178 of these were presented with the award in three size classes (with a maximum of 100 companies per class). The awards were presented at the German SME summit in Essen.

The "Top 100" are outstanding in every regard: they include 71 national market leaders and even 31 world market leaders. In total, the top innovators filed 3,405 national and international patents over the last three years. Almost 41% of their turnover was achieved with market innovations and improvements, which they launched ahead of the competition (average of all SMEs in Germany: 6.6%). This success is not down to chance: the top innovators invest an average of 10.5% of their turnover into research and development (average of all SMEs in Germany: 1.5%). Two thirds of the "Top 100" are family companies.