Künzelsau 1945, Adolf Würth founded a wholesale screw business. In 1954, his son Reinhold took over the business and grew it continuously. He transformed it into a multinational corporation that continues to grow in 2019. One thing has remained the same over all these years and decades: the family. The foundation. Würth in Künzelsau: That has always been the common thread for the company—and will remain so in the future.
Growth at Würth
Granted: Viewed from the outside, the Würth of 2018 no longer has much in common with the Würth of 1945 or even that of 1954. Starting with just the buildings: In the beginning, the Schlossmühle (castle mill) in Künzelsau was enough, but today the company occupies an area of 465,000 square meters at its headquarters. And it has locations all over the world: Sweden, Spain, South Korea—in a total of around 80 countries. Next, the number of employees: from two to 77,000, an increase by 3,850,000 percent. Today, the Group includes over 400 companies. They either support the core business, the sale of assembly and fastening materials, or operate in related business fields as Allied Companies: from electrical wholesale to financial services. And so it is no wonder that the financial results have risen continuously; 2018 was another record year, and this trend is set to continue.
A question of attitude
How do you manage to constantly drive this trend forward? For decades? Without losing sight of things? Always staying true to the company’s heritage? Without losing the way amid too many interests, succumbing to ambition, or getting mired in discussions about the right path forward? The answer is the guiding theme that runs through the company’s history—and it is rather an aspiration that has everyone pulling together. The secret to success is a degree of continuity that is primarily achieved as a result of the company’s organization as a family business with strong leadership and a shared vision for the future. Of course, not everyone always agrees, not even everyone bearing the Würth name. Of course there are discussions, there have to be. But the interests, established and put into practice for decades by Reinhold Würth, have always been clear: It’s about working together. It’s not about quick profits, it’s about the long term. To grow over the long run. It’s about growth with responsibility. It’s about growth outside of the business as well, on other levels, in a cultural setting, in sports and social affairs: for the region, for society and for the people.
The next Generations
And this is how the story should continue: That is Reinhold Würth’s heart’s desire. As early as the 1980s—the company had long since entered the global market and he was just over fifty—he had formally and legally made all the arrangements. However, at that time, he still did not know whether and how his family would join the business. Accordingly, he contributed the company’s assets to family trusts so that his life’s work could be preserved over the long term—for the security of the company, the family and the employees.
Well, time has shown: The family has joined the company and today more family members are part of the company than ever before. Reinhold Würth still visits the company’s offices nearly every day. His daughter Bettina decided to join the company early on and has been Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the Würth Group since 2006. And in the meantime, the fourth Würth generation has also taken on more responsibility: Benjamin Würth as a member of the Supervisory Board of the Würth Group’s Family Trusts and Sebastian Würth as a member of the Advisory Board of the Würth Group since 1 January 2019. Maria Würth has been a member of the Art Advisory Board for some time. The Würth family will also be active in the future—in business, but also in the other areas that are so important to Reinhold Würth.
Commitment to Hohenlohe
The company is signaling a strong commitment to its home location in the form of the new transshipment depot directly next to the A6 highway in the Gewerbepark Hohenlohe industrial park with an investment volume of some EUR 73 million. From here, Würth bundles orders so that customers in Germany and throughout Europe receive only a single shipment. Another step towards more sustainability: less packaging, less filling material, fewer trips. This means that logistics optimization starts with the ordering process—and that’s true even from the customer’s point of view. For example, the customer can decide whether they want to receive items with longer delivery times in separate shipments. Satisfying customer wishes in this manner boosts Würth’s service philosophy considerably.
Which in turn fits right in: Würth is a company with both a long tradition and distinctive attitude. Combined with continuity. With a strong family. With a common thread.