Gordon Riske, KION Group CEO
The KION Group intends to step up its use of digital technologies in its efforts to continue driving profitable growth. "We are aligning our business to an increasingly digital world and developing our digitalisation strategy," chief executive officer Gordon Riske told the recent annual general meeting in Frankfurt. "The digitalisation of customer solutions, which will even include fully automated warehouses incorporating robotics solutions, will be accompanied by the digitalisation of our internal processes."
Shareholders approved the supervisory board and executive board's proposals with a large majority, including a dividend of EUR0.99 per share. This is 24% higher than the dividend per share paid last year.
In addition to the relocation of the company's registered office following the relocation of the group headquarters from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt at the end of 2017, the meeting also approved a domination and profit and loss transfer agreement between KION GROUP AG and KION IoT Systems GmbH. (IoT stands for Internet of Things.) KION IoT Systems GmbH brings together a team of software and app developers, test engineers and system architects to develop innovative digital applications, from the generation of ideas to the final implementation.
In his speech, Riske stressed the importance of digitalisation with examples of products the company has already developed, as well as new initiatives. "Digitalisation is not only becoming an increasingly prevalent part of everyone's lives, but has also been firmly established in our industry for some time - and, of course, that includes the products of KION's brand companies," said Riske. He cited the Truck Call app from Linde Material Handling, which allows fleet managers to assign orders to trucks digitally. STILL's nexxtFleet system presents all relevant data about an industrial truck fleet in a clear and easy-to-read form and provides accurate analyses for the purpose of optimisation. Dematic's computer-based iQ Sprocket maintenance system is a flexible solution that assists customers with their maintenance requirements.
Outlining some of the initiatives in this area, the CEO highlighted the KION Digital Campus, which opened at the start of the year. "The aim is to provide an innovative working environment where we can drive forward the process of digitalising the KION Group," he explained, adding that other focal points will include direct collaboration with customers and the transfer of digital expertise within the group.
Digitalisation is a central element of the KION 2027 strategy, which was unveiled in March and follows on from Strategy 2020, launched in 2014. Strategic fields of action include digital solutions and processes, energy efficiency, new energy systems, and automation solutions. They are based on a firmly established innovation culture and agile development processes within the Group, and on high-performing products and efficient processes.
Turning to the prospects for the current year, the CEO said that in 2018, the company aims to build on its successful performance last year. "Based on the forecasts for market growth, we will be seeking to achieve further increases in order intake, revenue, and adjusted EBIT." The group confirmed its outlook for the year.