I’m taking the opportunity provided by this report to address you at a personal level. I have been CEO of this company since June 2021, and in this capacity I’m also responsible for the company’s strategic focus. My primary concern for the next few years is to work as a team with the other directors and the workforce as a whole to lead this family company – which has been established since 1925 – into the future on a strong footing.
To achieve this, we will be placing emphasis on our company values and the questions “How are we behaving towards one another?” and “Which values do we share?”. The focus is on people here. I’m convinced that a shared understanding of values strengthens the teamwork both within the company and with our stakeholders, and that this constitutes a crucial foundation stone for the future of König + Neurath.
We’re looking back at a critical period. The 2020 and 2021 business years were a challenge in many respects. Supply shortages, significant price increases, cancelled orders, high levels of absence through sickness, work limitations on a day-to-day basis and with regard to our stakeholders were regular events – and we are still facing some of these issues today. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact, not just on us but across the whole industry and on a national scale. One of the noticeable consequences for König + Neurath was that we had to lay off staff. This step was unavoidable to future-proof the company. We have worked with the works council and the union to come up with a social plan that maps out a perspective on the future for the benefit of any employees affected by this.
Office-based work has changed radically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As one of the leading brands of office equipment and room solutions, these changes have a direct influence on us. Working from home more frequently, hygiene concepts for the office setting and the increasing use of digital media for communication are changing what our customers need. We see ourselves as a service partner, addressing these changes together with our partners and coming up with individual solutions.
Particularly in challenging times we think it’s important to uphold and develop our commitment to the environment and climate protection. For this reason we have implemented numerous projects with which we have been able to improve process efficiency and reduce avoidable impact on the environment. This includes for instance increasing our use of collaborative robots, upgrading our production systems and introducing driverless transport.
A milestone in this strategy was the commissioning of our new high-bay warehouse in October 2021. The new high-bay warehouse was one of the last projects initiated by Egon König, and his wife Gerti König continued to support it enthusiastically after his death. Standardised and digitalised processes such as storage and retrieval are fully automated here: Absolutely no energy is used to heat the building because the concept is designed as a cold storage facility. There is also a greened roof, which serves to offset the carbon from the buildings on the site.
As well as this, we started our showroom rebuild project at our company headquarters in Karben in 2021. Our goal was and is to present the company and products in a modern format that reflects our high quality standards. We also developed and implemented an internal app, “K+N YouKNow”, which is used to communicate the same König + Neurath-related information to all employees of the company simultaneously.
On the product side, we put three new certificates in place during 2021. This means that the majority of König + Neurath’s product range now carries the “Blue Angel” eco label. We also have the top award, “LEVEL 3”, for all products certified in the European LEVEL sustainability scheme. Focusing further on our sole production site in Karben, the “Möbel Made in Germany” also went ahead. With our initiatives and the independent certifications, we are demonstrating how aware we are of the relevance of environmental protection, and our high expectations with regard to achieving these goals.
With this progress report we are making a clear statement on the sustainability of our company. By this we mean conducting business in a manner that prioritises people, resource conservation and economic stability.
König + Neurath AG has been a UN Global Compact participant since 2016 and explicitly supports the ten principles in the fields of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. We integrate this with our commercial activities and expect all our business partners to adhere to the ten principles of the UN Global Compact as well.
CEO – Director of Strategy, Finance and IT Sales and Marketing