A dialogue

CEO Gordon Riske and CTO Eike Böhm

An interview on innovation at the KION Group with Chief Executive Officer Gordon Riske and Chief Technology Officer Eike Böhm.



Mr Riske, what does innovation mean to you?

Gordon Riske: I would say an idea turns into innovation when it’s useful for the customer. So you come up with a new product, a new service, a new solution that the customer really wants to use. And we don’t innovate merely for the sake of innovating. We innovate so that our customers can increase their profitability and performance.

Eike Böhm: Absolutely, and in the end if the customer is willing to pay for this because it creates benefits, then it is a true innovation

Mr Böhm, innovation is your day-to-day business, how do you tackle this issue?

Eike Böhm: When I talk about innovation in my daily job, I have to distinguish between two main areas. One is the pure technology side. There is innovation in the university and science community that we at KION have to watch very closely. We have to know and understand what´s going on there and always ask ourselves: can we use these innovations for our customers?

Gordon Riske: Monetising those technology trends that are out there is crucial for KION.

Eike Böhm: Absolutely. And the other area is the relationship with our customers. Understanding their business and how we can support them with our solutions is very important.

Gordon Riske: Experience shows that customers are often very willing to pay even for simple, but incremental innovations. Innovations that improve their process and reduce costs.

But, ultimately, how does innovation at KION go beyond purely technological aspects?

Gordon Riske: Innovation touches every part of our company. Every department, every function.

Eike Böhm: We pursue a very holistic approach to innovation at KION. We look to products, we look to processes, we look to organisational issues. Most importantly, we have a real innovative spirit throughout the entire organisation. Because at the end of the day the strength of an organisation’s innovation depends on a healthy corporate culture that promotes and facilitates innovation.