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Turnover up by 20% for KNAPP

The Austrian-owned KNAPP Group has announced another record-breaking year, with turnover having increased by 20% to over €466m and a resulting profit (EBIT) of €21m.
The financial results for KNAPP AG in the business year 2014-15 were revealed at a press conference held at the group’s headquarters in Graz, Austria, on Tuesday 2nd June. Europe remained the strongest sales region, with a turnover share of almost 75%. The UK market also performed very well. Commented Craig Rollason, managing director of KNAPP UK, “These extremely positive results reflect both the long-term growth strategy of the group and the highly successful partnerships developed with key clients over the last decade.” 
KNAPP AG’s management team – Gerald Hofer, Franz Mathi and Christian Grabner – explained in the press conference how the group’s continued investment in R&D had resulted in system solutions for the core business areas of pharma, fashion, food and retail. “Research and development are key parts of our corporate culture,” said Christian Grabner, KNAPP CFO. “This year we have again invested about €30m in this area, amounting to seven per cent of turnover. We need fast thinkers and bright minds to boost research and development further, so increasing our workforce by 300 individuals is excellent news.” The group now has its highest ever number of employees – 2,700 worldwide, of which some 2,000 are located in the Austrian region of Styria.
Award-winning CSR programme
The group has an optimistic outlook and has further investment planned for its headquarters – including expansion of the cafeteria and kindergarten – its international subsidiaries and its production network. KNAPP has a reputation for providing attractive and family-friendly working environments and recently won an award for its active Corporate Social Responsibility programme. Its activities include an integration project with Alpha Nova – an organisation that provides disabled people with long-term assignments within companies – an employee health and vitality programme and its own training academy.
Key milestones
The year 2014-15 included a number of important events for the group. One was KNAPP’s investment in the German KHT Apostore Group, which markets automated picking systems for use in pharmacies and by pharmaceutical wholesalers. Another milestone was the successful delivery of the Pick-it-Easy Move pallet picking system to SPAR’s regional warehouse in Maria Saal, Austria. This innovative and ergonomic system allows goods to be picked directly from the original pallets to the target load carriers. In 2016, Pick-it-Easy Move will also be installed in SPAR’s brand-new distribution centre in Ebergassing in Lower Austria. During the year, KNAPP has also been successfully marketing the YLOG-Shuttle system – with its concept of enabling shuttles to move both crosswise and lengthwise within the storage solution. Early in 2015,  KNAPP subsidiary YLOG Industry Solutions moved into brand-new premises in Dobl, just 20km from KNAPP's headquarters in Graz.
Fashion and e-tail
KNAPP recorded very strong growth in the fashion and lifestyle sectors, where co-operation with the German subsidiary Dürkopp Fördertechnik continued to reap excellent results. “Taking a walk through a shopping mall shows many brands that are KNAPP customers, such as Hugo Boss, Olymp, Marks & Spencer and Clarks,” said Franz Mathi, KNAPP COO. “Here, bringing high throughput and strict sequencing together is what counts. For this purpose we have further developed our software and put it into operation successfully. We have also equipped our automatic storage system, the OSR Shuttle, for storing cartons and are now able to ensure double-deep and triple-deep storage depending on the carton dimensions.” The e-tail sector continued to show strong growth and KNAPP’s solutions were well received in the market. “Our development is focused in two directions: our low complexity warehouse and our zero-defect solutions,” explained Gerald Hofer, KNAPP CEO. “Both of these approaches detect and correct any errors within a single process step. This is how we ensure the delivery of the right goods at the right time at the right place.”

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