Value-oriented team and family culture as the foundation for growth
SEMCO increases sales and volume in 2020
In 2020, the SEMCO Group generated total sales of around EUR 260 million (+ 6%). Despite coronavirus-related restrictions, the floatglass manufacturer increased its production volumes significantly across all departments. With 3.4 million m² of insulating glass (+ 6%) and 1.3 million m² of safety glass (+ 18%) and, for the first time, more than 5 million m² of coated glass (+ 11%), SEMCO can look back on a positive year. For 2021, the group is planning sales growth of over 4% and an increase in insulating glass production of 7%. Both safety glass production and the volume of coated glass are expected to increase by around 2.5% each.
“2020 was challenging for us in many ways. Nevertheless, together with our customers, partners and employees, we managed to make the year a successful one. We could always rely on each other and – despite the AHA rules – moved even closer together. This is a strong expression of our value-oriented team and family culture,” Hermann Schüller, managing partner of the SEMCO Group, explained. He is particularly proud that, under these exceptional conditions, not only quantities, but also product quality and adherence to delivery dates could be raised to a very high level. Both rates are reported to be well over 98%. Like the increase in sales and volumes, this is largely due to strategic investments of more than 200 million euros since 2007.
Further investments: 50 million euros over the next three years
“We are emerging from the crisis stronger, but we also know that it has not yet been overcome. Nevertheless, we will continue to invest strategically with an eye to our long-term growth. By 2023, 50 million euros will flow into the focus areas “Automation and Robotics”, “Digitisation”, “Innovation Management and Sustainability” and “Employee Qualification”. This is the only way we can achieve our ambitious goals,” Hermann Schüller continued.
Part of this package also includes the construction of a second production hall and an office building for the curved glass experts from FINIGLAS in Dülmen with an investment volume of up to 7 million euros. In this way, the company is responding to the increasing demand for high-quality curved glass for international prestige projects. Thanks to a significantly larger range of products and services, FINIGLAS will be able to satisfy even more specific customer requests in the future.
The market for laminated safety glass (VSG) in Germany has been growing for a long time. Accordingly, the focus of investment at SEMCO in the safety glass business area has been on laminated safety glass. Capacity for laminated safety glass is being expanded at the Neubrandenburg and Nordhorn locations as well as in the Central-South region. In addition, pane formats are getting bigger and heavier due to the increased use of laminated safety glass. In order to be able to further increase process stability and product quality while at the same time preventing health problems for employees, the SEMCO Group is also driving automation and expansion of robotics in its insulating glass operations.
These measures are accompanied by innovative digitisation projects “in which efficiency and customer benefit are always in the foreground”, in the words of Hermann Schüller. The goal is to be the most digital company in the glass industry in three to four years. Customer relationship management, communication, e-commerce and logistics are just the most prominent areas in which SEMCO is becoming more digital, more effective and more individual.
Need-based employee training in our own SEMCO academy
New machines, programmes and forms of collaboration – for all of this to be fully effective, employees must be trained. That is why SEMCO has been working on setting up the SEMCO Academy for several months. As a central training facility, it will translate the SEMCO strategy and requirements into tailor-made training offers for trainees, employees and managers. These offers are consistently based on the training requirements placed on employees by developments in the market, internal changes and customer demands. SEMCO deliberately focuses on the training of industrial employees, because “most of our high level of customer satisfaction is based on high-quality production, careful handling and reliable delivery,” says Hermann Schüller.
Sustainability: 25,000 tons of CO2 savings per year
With all investments in machines and systems, energy efficiency is a decisive factor for SEMCO. Every investment also serves to save energy and reduce the carbon footprint of your glass products. These have fundamentally very sustainable properties. Functional insulating glass, like the SEMCO climate glass, not only ensures that savings can be made on heating, air conditioning and artificial light. Most of them are also recyclable. In 2020 alone, SEMCO returned more than 36,000 tonnes of waste glass and broken glass to its recyclable material cycle, thus saving almost 25,000 tonnes of CO2.
SEMCO also demonstrated how a win-win situation can be achieved when it comes to sustainability by converting its production lighting to LED technology, which was implemented in cooperation with the Oldenburg energy service provider EWE at ten of the 18 locations. This not only led to significantly better working conditions, but also saved an additional 700 tonnes of CO2 annually after the pilot phase. The project will be continued in 2021 at the other SEMCO locations under the motto “SEMCO for Future”.