Accounting and consulting firm Deloitte announced the competition for medium-sized companies from Baden-Württemberg with the slogan “Nachhaltig denken, erfolgreich lenken,” which translates as “Think sustainably, manage successfully.” The competition focused on the sustainable safeguarding of employees, shareholder structure, financing and brand image. Out of the 38 well-known companies that entered, Schmalz came out on top. “The entrants for the Axia Award are proof that a duteous responsibility toward employees, customers and the environment represents a worthwhile sustainability strategy that ensures long-term success. The winning companies clearly demonstrate their impressive talent for innovation and the ideas they can thus unlock,” explained Dr. Hans-Rudolf Röhm, a partner at Deloitte.
Consultants from Deloitte first surveyed the companies using a questionnaire and then conducted personal interviews with the applicants. The jury, led by chairman Klaus M. Bukenberger (Corporate Governance Consulting AG), Prof. Dr. Dirk Hachmeister (University of Hohenheim) and Anja Müller (trade journal), explained that Schmalz stands for open communication, a high degree of employee identification with the company as well as flat hierarchies. The jury also said that Schmalz had recognized the signs of the times and had created a clear brand image, not only in the product markets but in particular as an employer.
“The award confirms what we at Schmalz have known for a long time and what we practice on a daily basis: Rather than being in conflict with one another, environmental responsibility, commercial success and social engagement actually go hand in hand. We concentrate our sustainability activities in the ‘Schmalz ecoSystem.’ This shows our customers, employees, suppliers and partners that we believe in long-term stability, invest in resource-efficient products and processes and that we are also always a fair partner,” said Dr. Kurt Schmalz in his acceptance speech. “To have this approach recognized by external experts and even honored with an award is a wonderful affirmation of our work at Schmalz,” added Wolfgang Schmalz. He highlighted the importance of the employees in particular. “The success of Schmalz is based primarily on their commitment and their constant drive to make the company even better each day.” He backed up his statement with an impressive figure: Once again in 2014, each employee at Schmalz in Glatten submitted an average of over ten suggestions for improvement.
Deloitte first presented the Axia Award back in 2007. The other prize winners for 2014 were the outdoor equipment supplier Vaude, the fan and motor manufacturer ebm-papst and Uzin Utz, a complete supplier for flooring systems.