The first 100 days in office

"The thirst for innovation is enormous"

The first 100 days in office is often regarded as a honeymoon period. But the new Chief Technology Officer of the KION Group, Eike Böhm, has used this time to lay a number of important foundations.

2015-11-09

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He didn't need 100 days to discover that the KION Group is ideally positioned for the future. "We are well equipped to exploit the full potential of cross-brand synergies in product development, which are the main element of our Strategy 2020," says Eike Böhm, who became Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the KION Group in August. Since joining the Company he has reorganised research and development, procurement and quality management under a new centralised structure. The aim is to accelerate innovation, realise unutilised potential and reduce duplication of work. In short, to be more efficient.


The CTO had a marathon start in terms of travel: "To get a feeling for the DNA of the KION Group, I have visited many of our sites in the past few months, including in China, France and Italy, and of course our core plants in Aschaffenburg and Hamburg," says Böhm, describing his initial period in office. "I am very much looking forward to tackling new challenges with the team. My new CTO organisation will drive forward innovation, quality and customer satisfaction – and thereby also drive core elements of the KION Group." The top level of management of Böhm's new organisation has already got to work; vacant positions in the levels below this will now be progressively filled.

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CTO Eike Boehm on his first 100 days in office.

The KION Group responds to market trends with innovation

Innovation is the key to success for those who want to remain competitive in the market. Last year the KION Group invested 2.6 per cent of its revenue in R&D – a figure that is above the industry average. "All our technological developments are focused on providing customer utility," says Böhm, and names three trends to which the Company is responding with innovation. "One trend is that container ships are getting bigger and bigger; but the packages being delivered to people's homes and businesses are getting smaller and, because of online sales, are arriving at much more frequent intervals – often several times a day. Everything in-between this comes under the category of material handling. And this is an area in which we are constantly developing innovative solutions."


Trend number two: lithium-ion batteries. "The market is demanding energy-saving electric vehicles. Our premium brands Linde and STILL are well positioned here because they already supply lithium-ion trucks." The third and final trend is Industry 4.0: to make logistics operations faster and more seamless, trucks need to be networked and have the ability to communicate with each other. "We have already developed efficient solutions for our customers in this area in the form of Connected Solutions and fleet management. And of course we recently acquired the Belgian automation specialist Egemin Automation as a seventh brand company, which means we are well placed to deliver even more innovations."


Böhm, who holds a PhD in Engineering Management, performed various managerial roles in the field of research and development at Daimler AG from 1988 onwards, eventually becoming head of global quality management for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. After switching to the world of forklift trucks and talking to countless people at the KION sites, he is happy to report: "The thirst for innovation in the Company is enormous."