HOBART general managers Axel Beck (1. from the right) and Silvio Koch (1. from the left) are proudly receiving the Top 100 award for medium-sized enterprises from Ranga Yogeshwar. (Source: KD Busch/compamedia)
The 23rd Top 100 awards for Germany's most innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were presented, and this year, HOBART GmbH is joining this elite group for the fourth time. The Offenburg-based company took part in a rigorous, scientific selection process that analysed innovation management and successful innovation. Ranga Yogeshwar, the competition mentor, presented the top innovators with their awards at the German SME Summit in Essen on 24 June.
Top 100 award winner HOBART GmbH focuses consistently on its customers. The company from Offenburg develops, produces and markets commercial dishwashers, and analyses the daily needs of its clientèle in the process. For example, one of its machines cleans the serving trays at the same time as the dishes and automatically stacks these up at the end of the wash cycle. "Innovations must always be designed in a way that provides customers with added value," commented managing director Axel Beck.
HOBART has its roots in the USA, where the original company was founded in 1897. In 1930, HOBART finally set up in Germany. This is the fourth year that the machine manufacturer has won the award as top innovator. The company employs approximately 1,000 people and offers them a wide range of training and educational opportunities. Regular projects that specifically seek out innovative approaches and solutions also keep the innovative process running. Last year, HOBART derived just under 60 per cent of its revenues from market innovations and innovative improvements that the company from southern Germany has brought to the market ahead of its competitors.
This year, more than 4,000 companies registered an interest in taking part in the Top 100 competition, with 366 of them applying for the qualification round and 284 getting through to the finals. Ultimately, 238 made it into the Top 100 (maximum of 100 in each of the three size categories). Once more, the companies were evaluated by Nikolaus Franke, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, and his team. They examined more than 100 parameters in the following five assessment categories: 'Innovation-friendly Senior Management', 'Climate of Innovation', 'Innovative Processes and Organisation', 'Innovations Marketing' and 'Successful Innovations'.
The Top 100 are among the pacesetters in their sectors. Statistics reveal that the evaluation process included 97 German market leaders and 32 global market leaders. On average, they generated 40 per cent of their recent revenue from innovations and product improvements, which they brought to the market before their competitors. Their revenue growth rate was 28 percentage points higher than the average for their industries. In the last three years, these small- and medium-sized enterprises have together applied for a total of 2,292 German and international patents. This ability to innovate also pays dividends in terms of jobs, with the Top 100 planning to take on around 9,500 new employees in the next three years.
The Top 100's mentor, science journalist and television presenter Ranga Yogeshwar, is impressed by the quality of the companies and hopes they will become role models. 'The way in which the Top 100 companies generate new ideas and develop groundbreaking products and services based on them is remarkable in the truest sense of the word. I am delighted that the award highlights these qualities. I hope their success will encourage others to follow in their footsteps, because this culture of innovation is going to become increasingly important for all companies."
The Top 100 competition
Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the Top 100 seal of approval to SMEs with a particular ability to innovate and above-average success rates for innovations. This project has been coordinated by Professor Nikolaus Franke from the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration since 2002. The Top 100 is mentored by science journalist and television presenter Ranga Yogeshwar and organised in partnership with the Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research and the German Association for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW). Media support for the company benchmarking competition is provided by manager magazin. Further information is available at www.top100.de.