The German Secretary of State for Trade and Industry visits SÜLZLE KOPF in Sulz

Innovative strength in a rural area

Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut described the SÜLZLE Group as an outstanding example of innovative strength in a rural area. The Baden-Württemberg Minister for Trade & Industry, Employment and Residential Construction was a guest at Sülzle Kopf GmbH in Sulz-Bergfelden on 7 February, in the company of a delegation from the International Chamber of Commerce.

Andreas Sülzle introduced his group of companies under the strapline claim of ‘Steel, Energy, Ideas’. The Group has grown to employ more than 850 people through organic growth and acquisitions. “Steel continues to be our primary business, but since 2008, following the take-over of Kopf GmbH, we are growing in the environmental technology sector as well”, explained Sülzle. The company is setting new standards with its products and solutions for efficient building services as well as with future-oriented technologies for the drying of sewage sludge and its thermal treatment to retrieve commercially viable gas.

As well as the innovative strength of the SÜLZLE Group, priorities include the gaining and retaining of a skilled workforce and ‘future-compatible building 4.0’ [a reference to the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’]. Andreas Sülzle encouraged the notion of making this a focal point of attention also at government level. Thomas Albiez, CEO of the International Chamber of Commerce in the Black Forest region of Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg, pointed to the tricky balancing act that companies have to accomplish in the present situation: “They have to keep the old business model functioning well while at the same time building a new and future-proof model”. Hoffmeister-Kraut provided an assurance that the digitalization strategy of the federal government would be accelerated: “It is an important duty of the federal government to guarantee to business attractive conditions for its digital transformation”. He went on to say that initiatives such as those being taken by the SÜLZLE Group were very helpful indeed.

All parties present agreed on the importance of ‘Dual Education’ in the safeguarding of a skilled workforce – a German scheme to combine study with practical work experience. “This is a very major competitive advantage for Germany as a location”, said Hoffmeister-Kraut. In this field, the SÜLZLE Group has a leading role to play, since it provides training simultaneously in no fewer than eleven technical-vocational and other commercial professions. For Albiez, this commitment is proof positive the the SMEs in the region are shaping the future in a committed manner.