Outstandingly Innovative: BARTEC

Success built upon entrepreneurial vision: BARTEC was honoured as one of Germany’s most innovative SMEs at the German SME Summit in Essen on 26 June. The Bad Mergentheim-based company joins an exclusive group of prizewinners stretching back over more than 20 years as Top 100 mentor Ranga Yogeshwar awards it the Top 100 seal of approval. The award to BARTEC is the outcome of a two-stage analytical procedure by a team of research scientists. This is the third time that the company has been honoured as a top innovator.

The BARTEC Group sees its challenge as producing technological innovations linked with high customer benefits for the world market. With a global workforce of more than 1,800 employees, the company’s innovation process needs to be properly channelled. Little wonder then that the company, which specialises in electrical explosion protection, particularly impressed the panel of the Top 100 competition with its structured approach to ideas generation. As a first step, suggestions are collected from customers, scientific institutions and universities, and from the company’s developers. Sales engineers also prepare regular reports on customers’ product evaluations and wishes. The information gathered is then filtered in one of the review meetings that take place 6-10 times every year. “It works like a funnel,” explained BARTEC’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ralf Köster, “with the best ideas flowing out at the end.” The economic benefit to the customer is scrutinised particularly carefully during the innovation process: “We need products, which can compete on the world market.”

The Bad Mergentheim-based business, which was founded in 1975, is celebrating its third success in the Top 100 competition. BARTEC creates products and solutions which prevent explosions wherever hazardous substances such as flammable gases, vapours and dusts might occur, thus serving to protect people and the environment. Its customers include companies from the oil and gas industry, as well as chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical groups from various different regions around the world.

“Generating good ideas and implementing them quickly is an important competitive factor for us,” commented Dr. Ralf Köster. “This is why we invest a lot of time and money into managing innovation. In doing so, we are relying on the creativity and inventiveness of all of our employees. I should like to extend my heartfelt thanks to them for helping us win this Top 100 award.”

The Top 100 accolade is awarded on the basis of a two-stage analysis developed by Nikolaus Franke, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, and his team. The research scientists use more than 100 parameters in five separate categories to investigate how SMEs manage and generate successful innovations. The decision as to which companies ultimately receive the Top 100 award lies exclusively with the academic coordinators of the project.