Despite a difficult geopolitical situation worldwide, WITRON succeeded in increasing its record sales of 2022 by a further 8.34 percent to 1.3 billion EUR in 2023. The number of employees across the Group grew from 5,900 to 7,000 staff members. According to WITRON founder and owner Walter Winkler, this clearly demonstrates the trust of customers in the quality and cost-efficiency of the automated solutions from the Parkstein-based logistics lifetime partner, as well as the trust of employees in the exceptional corporate culture of the family-owned enterprise.
With customer orders worth almost two billion EUR, the WITRON Group recorded an excellent order entry in the past fiscal year. This is primarily due to the fact that almost all leading food retailers in Europe, North America, and Australia are now part of the WITRON customer base. “We are immensely proud of the fact that our top ten existing customers already order an average of seven distribution centers from us and that it doesn’t stop at one project. Our order pipeline is well-filled, which gives both our customers and our employees enormous security. Looking at the global crises, the WITRON Group is operating in a kind of “special boom”, which we have worked hard to achieve in recent years thanks to our holistic implementation, service, and operator concepts”, says WITRON Managing Director Helmut Prieschenk.
Anniversary: 20 years of OPM
The core element of many projects is the Order Picking Machinery (OPM), which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023. The solution is considered the most successful fully automated storage and picking system in food retail logistics worldwide and is now being used in its 5th generation. “We have solved the automated piece and case picking in all temperature zones, perfected flow-through logistics centers, implemented ugly products into the automated process, optimized consolidation, and are now thinking beyond the distribution center as the next step – into the horizontal and vertical supply chain of our customers’ omni-channel networks,” explains Prieschenk. “The key to a long-term partnership is not only to develop innovations and concepts, but also to successfully implement these ideas in practice. That is exactly WITRON’s strength. We get projects up and running.”
Further expansion of logistics capacities at the headquarters
After production capacity was expanded by 120,000 sq m with the opening of ‘Plant II North’ in 2021, the next new building at the Parkstein headquarters is already scheduled for completion in 2024. This will include a multi-level automated dispatch center with a size of approx. 40,000 sq m, where the completed conveyor system elements will be stored and assembled into shipping units for on-time delivery to national and international sites. The dispatch center is directly connected to the production areas.
Need for personnel grows continuously
Due to the company’s constant expansion, the need for additional employees is also growing. For this reason, 1100 additional staff members were hired both nationally and internationally in the past year, including more than 100 apprentices in various technical and commercial professions as well as for the gastronomy sector. WITRON Parkstein also hired 14 apprentices from the USA, Canada, England, El Salvador, and Morocco who are completing an apprenticeship as IT specialists and industrial electricians far away from home.
In order to remain successful in a demanding recruitment market, it is important to be creative in terms of employees. At WITRON, this is reflected in numerous monetary and social benefits, including the construction of employee apartments located close to the company. “The decisive factor for the impressive loyalty of the employees is the unique corporate culture as well as the great opportunities and possibilities that WITRON offers,” says Winkler. “Because good employees have to be earned.”