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TÜV NORD GROUP: Making the digital World safer

TÜV NORD GROUP's annual report 2018.

 

 

As in previous years, the TÜV NORD GROUP succeeded in boosting sales, earnings and other relevant financial ratios in 2018 and can look back on a successful fiscal year. Revenues increased by just under € 45 million to € 1,229.5 million, EBIT to € 80.2 million. "With the digital networking of every area of our lives, the focus of our activities is increasingly shifting to IT security,” said Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr Dirk Stenkamp, at the annual press conference in Hanover. “We’re doing all we can to ensure that industrial robots, self-driving cars and electricity supplies function securely and are protected against cyber-attacks.”

 

The most important financial ratios for 2018:

  • Group sales up to € 1,229.5 million (+ 3.8 percent)
  • Operating profit (EBIT) climbs to € 80.2 million
  • Return on sales, based on EBIT: 6.5 percent
  • Share of international business: 26.5 percent
  • Number of full-time employees has risen to 10,780 (an increase of 241)

 

Chief Financial Officer Jürgen Himmelsbach emphasised the solid financial position: “Our positive net financial position means that we’re very well positioned in comparison to other players in the sector. We have a fair amount of strategic room for manoeuvre and can actively shape our own future. To this end, we’re investing specifically in the knowledge of our employees, in new testing technologies and in digitalisation in order to secure and expand the further growth of TÜV NORD GROUP.”

The fastest-growing business unit in 2018 was Mobility, which increased its sales by 6.6 percent to 390.5 million euros (2017: 366.2 million euros). The factors behind this increase included growth in vehicle services at the 200 TÜV STATIONS spread throughout Germany and the 15,000 partner car dealerships/workshops.

The positive development of the international TÜV NORD subsidiaries, particularly in China and India, contributed to the growth in sales in the Industrial Services business unit (559.9 million euros; 2017: 551.5 million euros). Domestically, the nuclear engineering division is a market leader in the decommissioning of nuclear plants and a leading expert appraiser for the supervisory authorities.

The Natural Resources business unit held its own well in 2018 in a globally difficult market environment. Key contributors to the growth in sales (106.5 million euros; 2017: 96.0 million euros) were orders for geo- and systems engineering and in the seismic exploration field. Furthermore, the engineering activities of the Group were pooled within the unit’s parent company, DMT.

The Training business unit continued to expand its digital training portfolio. The slight decline in sales (101.2 million euros; 2017: 102.1 million euros) was accounted for by the scheduled closure of the vocational colleges for the mining industry in Recklinghausen and Bergkamen. The TÜV NORD Akademie recorded a robust increase in sales with its seminars on the new European General Data Protection Regulation.

The Aerospace business unit continued to develop positively (sales: 47.6 million euros; 2017: 45.9 million euros). Its activities are largely focused on the planning, design, procurement and testing of components and systems for the aviation and aerospace industries. In 2018, TÜV NORD subsidiary ALTER TECHNOLOGY was awarded some significant contracts by BOEING SPACE (satellite tests) and SAFRAN (testing of power/control units for the turbines of the new Airbus 320neo).

The Information Technology business unit has likewise continued to grow (sales: 18.6 million euros; 2017: 17.4 million euros). In its core business, the testing and certification of hardware, IT infrastructure and application systems, it succeeded in acquiring additional contracts. Berlin-based TÜV NORD IT Secure Communications, which was launched in 2018, recorded a very successful start, managing in its very first year to obtain a major order from the authorities for the planning and operation of digital telecommunications and IT networks.

 

Digital solutions established in the market – AI is already complementing expert knowledge

All the business units in the TÜV NORD GROUP are using the digital transformation to developing innovative and efficient customer solutions. One example of this is the Digital Monitoring System (DMS). Digitally networked sensors display the mechanical load on systems that operate under significant strain, such as cranes. After a successful pilot project at a container terminal in the port of Hamburg, the technology can now also be used in the wind energy sector or on road bridges. “With DMS we identify material fatigue before it can cause damage. For us, minimising risks means always being one step ahead and acting to make the future safe today. After all, safety and trust are going to remain the basis of everything we do in the future as they are today,” Dr Stenkamp said.

With its innovative services, TÜV NORD is working to promote the acceptance of the digital networking of industry, energy supply and mobility around the world.

  • TÜV NORD has joined forces with the TÜV association to present a mature Trust Centre concept for the protection of digital user and driving data for (partially) automated driving.
  • With a sophisticated inspection process, TÜViT, a subsidiary of the TÜV NORD GROUP, has made a significant contribution to the first certification in Germany of smart meter gateways (digital electricity meters) by the Federal Office for Information Security (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik, BSI). Smart meter gateways serve particularly to protect consumer data.
  • In additive manufacturing, TÜV NORD has carried out the first ever metrological characterisation of the physical properties of metallic raw materials for 3-D printing and is performing the legally required tests of the material.

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will in the future be a foundational part of the services offered by TÜV NORD. “AI algorithms utilise the knowledge of our experts. In conjunction with the legally incontestable practice of Live-Expert video streaming, it’s now becoming possible to deploy TÜV NORD expertise from thousands of kilometres away, meaning that it’s no longer necessary for an expert to be physically present on site,” Dr Stenkamp announced. The Live-Expert system, which has already proved its worth in vehicle inspections, will in the future also be deployed in the industrial sector.

 

5G – TÜV NORD services for the new communication standard

After the auction of 5G frequencies, industrial enterprises will in the coming months be able to apply to the German Federal Network Agency for their own local 5G frequencies. Dr Dirk Stenkamp: “Germany needs to implement this key technology as soon as possible. We’re going to need a high-performance nationwide 5G network if we’re going to stay in the international running for the Internet of Things, networked production, medical technology and autonomous driving.” The newly established TÜV NORD IT Secure Communications company specialises in providing advice for telecommunications and IT networks and offers support to companies which are considering opting for their own local 5G network.

 

The successful Digital Academy concept – highly attractive to companies and official bodies alike

“With the methodology of the Digital Academy that we’ve developed in house, we’re actively driving the transformation of our company,” said HR Director Harald Reutter. This qualification programme for our staff has already given rise to 20 digitalisation projects. Mr Reutter: “We’re training colleagues from all the business units as digital experts. These then return to their own areas, where they develop innovative services and processes. The programme has also met with a high degree of interest outside the Group. We’re offering it with tailored content to other companies, official bodies and organisations.”

 

Taking responsibility, reinforcing sustainability

The TÜV NORD GROUP has always been committed to taking responsibility for people and the environment. It is now offering detailed information on the economic, environmental and social impact of its business activities and explaining how corporate responsibility (CR) is being integrated into its business processes. Its employees are already using their knowledge to protect life and goods and making sparing use of natural resources. In the future, the development of services will include an assessment of their impact on the environment. In respect of climate protection, the Group is committed to the 2-degree target. Recording the carbon footprint of business trips and the Group’s real estate forms part of a comprehensive CR Roadmap.

 

After 150 years of TÜV NORD, one thing is as true as it has always been: We’re all about safety/We do safety/safety is what we do

It was factory owners and shipping operators in Hamburg who founded the original predecessor to today's TÜV NORD, the North German Steam Boiler Inspection Association (norddeutscher Dampfkessel-Überwachungsverein), in 1869. This year, TÜV NORD is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The activities to mark the occasion included a central event on 9 May in Hamburg and a roadshow which visited the 25 largest TÜV NORD sites in Germany. Dr Dirk Stenkamp: “What drove the first engineers back then is still true for all of us today: We’re all about safety/We do safety/safety is what we do.” It is with this guiding principle that TÜV NORD has become a globally recognised technology service provider. In this digital era with its hacker attacks on sensitive and private data, its machines which can learn independently and its self-driving cars, the trust and safety that result from the work of neutral inspectors are even more essential than they have been in the last eventful 150 years.”