Überlingen – for the 25th time, the TOP 100 competition chooses the most innovative firms amongst German medium-sized enterprises. Schwank GmbH is one of these innovation firms this year. This was the result of the analysis of the scientific leader of TOP 100, Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke. As a mentor of TOP 100, Ranga Yogeshwar honoured Schwank, together with Franke and compamedia, at the award ceremony in Ludwigsburg on 29th June 2018 as part of the 5th German SMEs Summit. In the independent selection procedure, we fared very well with our innovation processes and innovation successes.
In 1938, Günther Schwank invented the first gas infrared radiator in the world and got it patented. The highlight: while conventional systems initially bring the ambient air to the correct temperature, infrared heating systems, which use a gas-air mixture, function differently: they heat up directly, like the suns rays that fall on the skin. With its invention, Schwank laid the foundation for the hitherto continually successful company. How successful the TOP 100 company from Cologne is even after 80 years is proven by the 22 patents, which it has received in the last three years alone. Moreover, the company is a global market leader in its segment. “Innovations however do not fall from heaven, they require discipline, time and the readiness to invest”, said Oliver Schwank, who leads the family enterprise in the third generation. Discipline includes, for instance, not calling off the regularly scheduled innovation meetings, even if the day-to-day business is booming.
These meetings, which are attended by all division heads and the management board, mainly deal with how technological progress can be sustained. The participants proceed in a very structured manner in five phases: from the generation of ideas to the feasibility study, the prototype construction and the customer test, right down to the market launch. In every interval, countless sub-items oblige the project team to record all relevant topics and to execute them in their full entirety.Markteinführung. In jedem Intervall verpflichten unzählige Unterpunkte das Projektteam dazu, alle relevanten Themen zu erfassen und vollumfänglich abzuarbeiten.