GEA Group, of Bochum, Germany has won the competition for “Best Innovators 2010 – 2011” in the sector of mechanical engineering. The competition – sponsored by A.T. Kearney and the German magazine Wirtschafts-Woche, and supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) – honors every year those companies and management teams that practice effective and sustainable innovation management. The award of this prize took place after the Best Innovator Executive Roundtable held on 9 June of this year in the BMWi Conference Centre in Berlin. Dr. Hugo Blaum, Member of the Executive Council of GEA Group and President of Refrigeration Technologies, accepted the prize on behalf of GEA Group from Ernst Burgbacher, State Parliamentary Secretary of BMWi, and from Roland Tichy, Editor-in-Chief of WirtschaftsWoche.
Innovation is a key factor for success
The prize jurors awarded GEA Group this distinction for its meritorious innovation culture in the mechanical engineering and machine construction sector. As Dr. Kai Engel, partner in the business consultancy A.T. Kearney and initiator of the competition, explained: “GEA Group has clearly and definitely defined its growth objectives within the context of innovation.”
Dr. Hugo Blaum, Member of the Executive Council of GEA Group und President of Refrigeration Technologies, accepted on behalf of the entire GEA Group the Best Innovators 2010 - 2011 Prize from Ernst Burgbacher, State Parliamentary Secretary of BMWi, and from Roland Tichy, Editor-in-Chief of WirtschaftsWoche.
Dr. Blaum emphasized, “Population growth, urbanization, climate change, and many additional issues demand innovations. As a corporate group that is at home, for example, in the food and beverages sector, in chemical and power engineering, as well as in building services and in agriculture, GEA is willing and able to make a sustainable contribution to a livable future.” To ensure that this takes place in a goal-directed manner, GEA Group has implemented its so-called Innovation Pipeline. This management instrument supports the innovation process beginning with the idea, including feasibility studies, and extending throughout development to the finished product and its systematic further development. Additional GEA management tools – including the idea management tool i²m, a knowledge-management process that includes all company locations, as well as in-house innovation competition – additionally promote fruitful innovative results.
The Innovation Pipeline provides space for new ideas
The GEA Innovation Pipeline accordingly ensures that promising ideas from all GEA companies in the world – both from the management as well as staff levels – are recognized, selected, and successfully implemented in a goal-directed process. This is a process that often includes a number of companies in GEA Group. The Innovation Pipeline gives the participating teams space to develop their ideas, helps them in formulation of objectives, supports them in reaching their goal, and promotes cooperation. As Dr. Blaum stresses, “This shortens time-to-market results, raises work efficiency, and eventually enhances customer benefits.”
New solutions for a better future
Many and various revolutionary products evidence the creative spirit of the approx. 23,000 employees of GEA around the world. One example from agriculture: the GEA Individual Quarters Milking Tool enables uniform milking of each quarter of a cow’s udder. In addition, effective insulation prevents cross-infections. The new milking tool is not only easier to operate, it also benefits the cows: it is better suited to the configuration of the udder than conventional solutions. In the energy sector, maximal efficiency is the prime goal. In line with this objective, an innovation from GEA will organize the gas transport chain in a more climate-friendly manner, by re-using the energy originally expended during liquefaction of natural gas when it is once again gasified. The GEA solution realizes this objective to considerably greater extent than previous solutions. In refrigeration and HVAC engineering as well, conservation of resources is a key factor. With product innovations such as the GEA HeaMo for energy-efficient, bivalent heating and cooling – and with the Grasso BluAstrum ammonia chiller that received the German Refrigeration Prize – GEA systems reduce the energy consumed in buildings and factories.
GEA innovation instruments win a series of prizes
The Best Innovator prize is already the second distinction that GEA has won this year for its innovation culture. On 17 March the company was awarded a prize as Best Idea Management for Machine and Plant Engineering and Construction, by the German Idea Management Center. In the competition results here, which spanned several industrial sectors, GEA won third prize.
For more details on the Best Innovator competition and on the winners, visit www.bestinnovator.de and look for the article scheduled to appear in the WirtschaftsWoche that appears on 11 June 2011.