Group Chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, Ralph Brinkhaus, visited MAPAL on his tour of southern Germany. Roderich Kiesewetter, member of the Bundestag and CDU foreign policy expert, Winfried Mack, deputy CDU Group Chairwoman in the state parliament, and Klaus Pavel, district administrator, accompanied Brinkhaus
The visit focused on the topic of digitisation. In a discussion with Dr Jochen Kress, Ralph Brinkhaus, CDU/CSU Group Chairman, learned about how MAPAL is preparing for future challenges. This is how the major megatrends, such as demographic change and globalisation, are already influencing the markets today and therefore also affect the MAPAL business model. “However, at the same time, we’re preparing for digitisation and the end of the carbon age, and are breaking ground with long-term potential in new products and business areas,” Dr Kress explained to the politicians.
Digitisation, skills shortages and new sectors
Digitisation is a key driver, both within the company and externally. So MAPAL is working on lean processes, both in administration and in manufacturing. By automating production processes and networking machines, the company ensures future growth and is able to counteract the growing shortage of skilled workers. The requirements of MAPAL’s customers have also changed. “We must provide our customers not only with tools but also with the corresponding data,” explained Dr Kress. MAPAL has developed a new business model from which the start-up c-Com, founded two years ago, has emerged.
While walking through the MAPAL Research and Development Centre, the politicians gained an insight into what goes on. They learned about the range of precision tools and process solutions and the various sectors in which MAPAL is active. For example, MAPAL has a leading position in the development of tools manufactured using 3D printing, which make new tool geometries and fields of application possible. In addition to its core business with the automotive industry, MAPAL is establishing itself in the aerospace industry and is currently breaking ground in new sectors such as die & mould sector.
Example of economic strength
Brinkhaus was impressed by the wide range of products and innovations, but also praised the high level of expertise and excitement with which MAPAL is approaching digitisation. Brinkhaus and Dr Kress agreed that the increasing technical requirements will change the working world. Particularly in the area of the education and training of employees, great efforts are required to master the upheavals caused by digitisation and demographic development. Brinkhaus was pleased to note that MAPAL is also very committed in this area. For example, the company cooperates with nurseries and schools and works closely with the Aalen University, “one of the strongest research universities in the country,” as Bundestag member Roderich Kiesewetter noted. With 1,800 employees, including 130 apprentices, MAPAL is the largest employer and training company in Aalen. And it is constantly expanding the range of apprenticeships and further training opportunities to prepare employees for technological change and the future demands of Industry 4.0. Brinkhaus said that he was going to take away many positive findings from his visit to MAPAL. Germany wants to take a pioneering role in the “Internet of Things”. Companies like MAPAL are regarded as lighthouse projects and a fine example of the economic strength and power of companies in rural areas.
We interviewed Jesús M. García Lanciego, Managing Director of the commercial agency, and discussed, among other things, how to gain the trust of customers and how good communication and international contacts contribute to this.