Despite facing some real challenges along the way, fiscal year 2021 was a tremendous success for Beckhoff Automation. For the first time in its almost 42-year history, the automation technology specialist based in Verl, Germany, exceeded the one-billion-euro mark in sales. With a total worldwide result of 1.182 billion euros, the company increased its sales by 28% in comparison to 2020. Revenue in the U.S. was similarly strong, with a record $100 million in sales, a 22% increase over the prior year.
“This is a great result that we are incredibly proud of,” reported Managing Owner Hans Beckhoff, whose company recorded an unprecedented level of incoming orders. “We could definitely have seen even more growth last year, but the shortage of components along with the limits on our own capacities has held us back in some areas.”
Exceptional financial results in the U.S.
For the U.S. market, Beckhoff achieved a sales increase of around 22%, while the number of incoming orders grew by nearly 70%. “With our 2021 financial numbers tallied, Beckhoff USA celebrated a new high point in terms of revenue, incoming orders and overall business development,” said Kevin Barker, President of Beckhoff Automation LLC. “The vast majority of our growth is driven by new customers, and we’re excited take on new challenges right alongside the world’s most innovative companies.”
Automation technology is experiencing a global boom across all industries; however, demand is exceeding the production capacities of component suppliers, which continue to fight the effects of the global pandemic. For Beckhoff, this is particularly evident in the shortage of semiconductors and other electronic components. “This bottleneck is likely to continue throughout 2022,” predicted Hans Beckhoff. “Nevertheless, we need to prepare for better raw material availability so that we can fulfill customer orders as quickly as possible. This is why we are working tirelessly to expand and optimize our entire company – from administration and development through to production.”
Corporate infrastructure expansions at the global headquarters in Verl
The rapid and dynamic growth of the technology company presents some major challenges. Production capacities have already been expanded and personnel resources increased. By the middle of the year, Beckhoff will have expanded its production capacities in Verl and the surrounding area by more than 50% compared with the beginning of 2020. “To this end, we are mobilizing the last space reserves we have and acquiring even more,” Hans Beckhoff said.
Beckhoff recently acquired a 37-acre site near its existing facilities in an inter-municipal industrial park now being planned by the cities of Verl and Rietberg. “We plan to create an industrial park here that will provide space for further expansion in the future for both Beckhoff Automation and our wholly owned subsidiaries Smyczek and Schirmer, which are also growing dynamically along with us,” he continued. “At least an additional 1,000 jobs will be created here over the next 10 years.”
Accelerated infrastructure developments in the U.S.
These aggressive infrastructure investments extend to Beckhoff USA. After delays due to the pandemic, the U.S. subsidiary officially opened new sales and support offices in Denver, Milwaukee and Orlando, as well as the Process Industry Technical Center in Houston. “These new regional offices further strengthen our local sales and engineering resources in key markets across the country,” Barker said. “We will continue to expand our regional office network with new facilities over the next 12 months.”
Beckhoff USA also recently reached an agreement with major intralogistics equipment supplier OPEX® Corporation to implement the company’s new Infinity™ automatic storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) at the subsidiary’s Minneapolis-area headquarters. This project will bolster the effectiveness of day-to-day warehouse operations and further improve the experiences of Beckhoff customers.
Further expansion around the globe
Beckhoff is accelerating expansions in the 40 countries where it maintains subsidiaries and in Germany. This includes an expansion of Fertig Motors in Marktheidenfeld. Beckhoff Canada relocated its headquarters to a state-of-the art facility in Cambridge, Ontario, and opened a sales and support office near Vancouver. The company also opened its first office in Lithuania, new headquarters offices in Austria and Sweden, and a production facility in Shanghai, the first one outside Germany. This facility will specifically serve the Chinese market, which represents about 22% of the company’s sales.
Continued workforce growth and development
In the past fiscal year, Beckhoff hired more than 500 new employees worldwide. This means that, as of March 2022, the family company now employs 5,000 employees. Beckhoff USA hired more than 30 new employees in 2021, and now employs over 200 skilled team members. Beckhoff USA also continues to grow its engineer development and internship programs, while establishing new partnerships with numerous technical schools and universities across the country.
“Beckhoff USA is in a high growth mode in all areas and building a great team is a major part of that,” Barker said. “We’re not only hiring talented engineers and business professionals at a rapid clip – we’re aggressively developing our existing team with a host of initiatives to support the professional development of our employees. This includes continuing education reimbursements, an ongoing engineer development program that expands the skillsets of our already talented engineers, and multi-discipline internships to support students with hands-on job training. All of these efforts will help ensure a bright future for Beckhoff USA.”