Fundamentals of the KION Group
The accounting policies used in this interim report are essentially the same as those used for the year ended 31 December 2018. The reporting currency is the euro.
Management and control
On 9 May 2019, the Annual General Meeting of KION GROUP AG elected Dr Michael Macht and Tan Xuguang, Chairman of Weichai Power, to the Supervisory Board as shareholder representatives for a term of three years. Dr Macht, who has been a court-appointed member of the Supervisory Board since 9 October 2018, was then elected as chairman of the Supervisory Board. He succeeds Dr John Feldmann, whose resignation from the Supervisory Board took effect at the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting. Tan Xuguang had previously been a member of the Supervisory Board from 9 June 2013 until he stepped down from his position on 30 September 2018.
Responsibility for Logistics/Urban was passed from Anke Groth, CFO, to Dr Eike Böhm, CTO, with effect from 1 April 2019. The new central Logistics System unit now brings together the internal logistics processes for the two segments Industrial Trucks & Services and Supply Chain Solutions.
Strategy of the KION Group
During the reporting period, further progress was made in the implementation of the KION 2027 strategy, which was set out in detail in the 2018 annual report. The aim is for the KION Group, as a provider of solutions, to grow at a faster rate than the global material handling market and to be the most profitable provider in its sector, with an EBIT margin that is permanently in double digits. Profitability is to be ensured throughout the various market cycles by a robust business model. A further target is the optimisation of efficient capital use as measured by return on capital employed (ROCE).
Under the energy field of action, the brand companies of the KION Group further expanded their portfolio of energy-efficient products by adding new truck concepts. These include the new generation of the Linde N20 C low-lift order picker, which makes order picking at the lower end of the load capacity range more cost effective, and STILL’s new electric pallet trucks. Energy-efficient lithium-ion technology can be used with all models.
The digital field of action focused on the digitalisation of customer solutions in intralogistics. For example, Dematic launched iQ Virtual onto the market, an emulation and simulation platform that enables automated intralogistics systems to be visualised and validated. Linde, meanwhile, presented a new service manager app that allows service jobs to be created using a smartphone.
In the field of automation, the KION Group covers the complete spectrum of customer solutions right up to fully automated large-scale warehouses. A major step forward in the first half of 2019 was the piloting of Dematic PackMyRide, the world’s first fully automated parcel-loading solution that integrates intralogistics and automated guided vehicle systems and thus uses the full breadth of the KION Group’s technology. In addition, STILL launched the LTX 50 automated electric tractor in conjunction with the LiftRunner frames for automatic loading and unloading. The system is the first to fully automate both the transport and handling of loads. Efficient returns management in retail and e-commerce and the optimisation of the automated pouch sorting system were other innovations.
The efficiency drive continued at the European production sites in the Industrial Trucks & Services segment with the aim of continuously improving performance. In the growth market of India, the KION Group began work on converting and modernising a newly acquired plant for industrial trucks at its production site in Pune. The new plant will incorporate a training centre and a research and development centre. The Supply Chain Solutions segment is also set to expand its presence in India from the Pune site. At the beginning of the second quarter, KION North America launched a complete line of equipment for the North American warehouse market, including very narrow aisle trucks, integrated fleet management software, and other warehouse equipment.