Packaging machine manufacturer Gerhard Schubert GmbH once again looks back on a very successful business year, confirming its consistent growth strategy of recent years. The Schubert Group achieved a 5.3 percent increase in total operating revenue to 289 million euros (close to 323 US dollars as on 03.16.2020) in fiscal 2019. The order intake in 2019 also grew disproportionately well by 14.5 percent compared to the previous year. A total of 1,400 employees worldwide have contributed to this success with their highly motivated dedication. The Crailsheim-based company also benefits from its ongoing investments, for example in Schubert Customer Service, in the further development of new digital technologies such as 3D printing, as well as from its market entry in China with the Schubert Robotics subsidiary in Shanghai.
This strategy is paying off for the international market leader in top-loading packaging machines: “In spite of high investment costs, we were able to maintain our margins in the past financial year at the positive level of the previous year. We are very satisfied with this overall development and intend to continue to consolidate and expand our leading position in the industry over the long term,” explains Peter Gabriel, commercial managing director of Gerhard Schubert GmbH. For this reason, continuous investment in new technologies, employee development and infrastructure are important growth drivers and key factors in the family business’ steady upward trend.
The growth course of Schubert subsidiaries is unbroken
The subsidiaries in North America as well as the resurgence of Central Europe and the positive development of the order situation in Asia and Turkey significantly contributed to the economic results for 2019. Schubert North America with its various locations increased its turnover to a total of close to 83 million US dollars. Marcel Kiessling, managing director sales and service, sees the reasons for this in the continuous expansion of service features as well as the strongly increased awareness of the SCHUBERT brand in North America. The increased trade fair presence in North America in recent years plays an important role in this respect: “In 2019, we exhibited for the first time at two of the most important trade fairs for the food and baked goods industry in North America. We succeeded in winning over the internationally represented manufacturers on site with innovative and flexible machine solutions that are precisely tailored to their needs.” Exhibits such as the lightline Flowpacker have become real highlights on the international stage and have sparked many promising sales talks, which point to a continuation of the very positive development in North America. In Asia, too, the demand for automation is growing among food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics producers, and they are increasingly opting for an innovative system from Schubert. Favorable conditions also prevail for the new Schubert subsidiary in Shanghai, China: Just one and a half years after opening, Schubert Robotics is already starting the race with three orders, a new website and twice the team size.
Geared up for the future
Again in 2019, Schubert succeeded in inspiring the experts with cutting-edge innovations and investments. The company has once again confirmed its role as world market leader in packaging technology. For decades, it has invested between eight and ten percent of its annual turnover in research and development. “This will remain so in 2020 and in the coming years,” confirms Ralf Schubert, managing partner of Gerhard Schubert GmbH. With product innovations in the field of robot technology, Schubert is currently attracting a lot of attention, especially with the presentation of its cooperative robot. Cobots are industrial robots – the first not to require a safety area. Their development is considered to be ground-breaking in the packaging industry. Schubert expects similarly high interest in the industry from its new part streaming platform for the additive production of format and spare parts via 3D printing. This virtual platform from Schubert Additive Solutions, a subsidiary newly founded in 2019, acts as a virtual warehouse for customers for their individual, digitally stored spare parts. With suitable access, the customer can print them directly with just a click, i.e. practically in real time. The current developments of Schubert’s “Titan” software program are also being followed with great interest in the industry whereby an existing machine is represented as a so-called “digital twin” in the visual 3D model on the GRIPS.world platform and can be moved under real conditions directly via the data of the machine control. “This new software fundamentally changes the design of machines and work processes at Schubert,” explains Ralf Schubert. The company expects the unique possibilities that are opening up with 3D configuration and simulation to bring benefits to its customers, which promise to pay off in significantly shorter delivery times and start-ups.
A highly promising start so far in 2020
The good order backlog at the beginning of the year creates the platform for another successful year in 2020. “We have already entered 80 percent of the planned annual turnover for 2020 in our order books and, thanks to the forward-looking utilization of our production capacities, we are now within the target corridor of five to six months with the order range,” reports Gabriel. “We are also feeling the current intensified restrictions on normal business transactions in all areas caused by the global measures to contain the coronavirus. In the current situation, we are doing everything possible to avoid delivery bottlenecks and are in constant contact with our customers, suppliers and employees to be able to react quickly to the daily-changing circumstances. We cannot yet fully assess the extent to which the overall health policy situation will impact on company performance.”
Expansion at the Crailsheim site
The commitment of the founding family to the headquarters in Crailsheim is also a reflection of its forward-looking approach to doing business. The company currently employs 992 people there. “Over the next few years, 300 additional jobs will be created by the planned expansion of the site,” says Gerhard Schubert, the company founder and managing partner. Schubert is investing a total of 30 million euros (33.5 million US dollars) in construction measures that began in the fall of 2019 with the laying of the adjacent state road. By 2023, the company site will be expanded with a new main access road, as well as additional assembly and office space in the north to create space for further growth.