22. - 23. May 2013
Kameha Grand Hotel, Bonn
The 14th annual VDA Medium-sized Companies Day was held in Bonn on May 22 and 23, 2014, under the motto of “Premium – Global – Locally rooted: where will the medium-sized supplier industry go next?” At the event, opened by Arndt G. Kirchhoff, Chairman of the VDA Medium-Sized Companies Group and CEO of Kirchhoff Holding GmbH, there were talks by VDA President Matthias Wissmann, Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Dr. Ing. h. c.F. Porsche AG, Dr. Stefan Wolf, Chairman of the Board of ElringKlinger AG, Franz Fehrenbach, Chairman of the Oversight Board of Robert Bosch GmbH, and Herbert Reul, MEP, Chairman of the CDU/CSU Group in the European Parliament. The Medium-sized Companies Day was also supplemented by three workshops held in parallel, which enjoyed enthusiastic attendance.
Although the tense markets in Europe and the pressure towards internationalization are inducing greater competition specifically between medium-sized companies, “German suppliers defended their domestic locations in this demanding competitive environment in 2013. At 291,000 employees in the supply sector, that value is at the previous year’s levels,” emphasized VDA President Wissmann. But this strong position isn’t simply a given for these companies – it has to be worked out again every day. With an eye on politics in Brussels, Wissmann said, “It’s specifically our small and medium-sized companies who rely on the political wind blowing from a reliable quarter. Decisions and laws coming out of Brussels often have too little focus on innovation and cost-effectiveness, with conflicting goals nearly a rule. Better coordination would be good in this context. In particular, energy, climate and environmental policy must be brought into better harmony with reinforcing the industrial base. We also need specific support for research and development,” recommended Wissmann.
Wissmann indicated the local factor of energy costs, emphasizing the necessity for flexibility in order to ensure employment in Germany with its high labor costs. The “central issues of the future,” ongoing demographical changes, solid care for the elderly and a growing lack of trained labor, will also not be solved by full retirement at 63. Innovation and globalization are the most important success factors in the automobile and supply industry and for medium-sized companies – the consistent theme of the 14th Medium-sized Companies Day. Medium-sized German companies don’t simply need to have an international stance, they simultaneously need to secure their home bases. Both are essential to avoid putting the structural strengths of medium-sized companies at risk.