Internationalisation Austria: Würth Austria focuses on new distribution channels

Author Stéphane Itasse

From Künzelsau to everywhere in the world: The Würth Group is already engaged in international markets: Since the company was formed in 1962, its subsidiary in Austria has not only developed rapidly but it has also concentrated on new types of distribution channels that supplement the classic field work.

It’s not just Würth that approaches the customers, even the customers come to Würth: In Inzersdorf, Vienna the Austrian subsidiary has opened the first flagship store.
It’s not just Würth that approaches the customers, even the customers come to Würth: In Inzersdorf, Vienna the Austrian subsidiary has opened the first flagship store.
(Photo: Würth)

According to information provided by the company, Würth Austria ranks fifth in the entire Würth group worldwide among the international companies with a turnover of 169.0 million Euros and a profit of 5.3 million Euros according to IFRS in the past financial year. “With the growth and the operating profit we fell short of our expectations. Due to our relatively good market penetration our dependence on utilisation among customers is very high”, explains Alfred Wurmbrand, managing director of the Austrian subsidiary.

In 2015 Würth Austria is aiming for a turnover of 178.7 million Euros according to their statement. As of 31 December 2014, the company employed 770 employees, 432 of those are in field work. Especially for this distribution through the field work, Künzelsauer is known as a supplier of fastening and assembly technology. In the meantime even other distribution channels have been included: Würth Austria reports that the E-Commerce segment has been developing well in Austria as expected.

Würth is highly focussed on distribution through subsidiaries

“We are focussing on multichannel marketing, we will improve our market position by strengthening all the distribution channels”, says Wurmbrand. Distribution through subsidiaries is also being increased: In 2015 the company opened another customer centre in St. Johann/Pongau and will open one more in Vienna - country road. In addition the customer centre in Vienna’s Inzersdorf was modernised and widened from 250 to 820 m². In the 39 customer centres in Austria, a turnover of 28.8 million Euros was achieved in 2014; this corresponds to an increase of 5.1 % compared to the previous year, according to the company.

The customer centre in Vienna Inzersdorf was built by Würth just like its first flagship store in Austria: The company invested 1.9 million Euros in the modernization and expansion of the location. More than 6000 items of daily use were permanently available to workmen and craftsman. “The Würth customer centres greatly contribute in developing our position as a local supplier. Customers from the industry and handicraft sector can meet their short-term needs in one of our cash & carry shops immediately,” says Wurmbrand.

Würth customers can charge their e-cars at the charging station

Environmental issues were also taken into consideration during the renovation. By building the first Würth-charging station directly on the location, the company says it is upgrading its service and supporting the trend for sustainable mobility. Customers can now charge their e-cars at the first intelligent E-charging station as they purchase goods during the opening hours using the fuel card from Wien Energie.

The charging station was inaugurated by no less than the top model of Tesla, the model S with dual motor four-wheel drive. With 700 hp the covetable electric vehicle accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.4 s. The Tesla Model S manages a cruising range of more than 400 km in daily operation and it will soon be able to navigate autonomously on sections of the highway because of its auto pilot system. Patryk Siedlecki from Tesla Austria was impressed with the test drive of the environmentally friendly car and expressed this to the Würth customer centre manager Jürgen Grünwald, according to a press article. Würth wants to expand the project to other customer centres.

Würth has regional presence

Würth Austria also has regional presence: Recently in April 2015 another customer centre was opened in St. Johann in Pongau in Salzburg. The central location and a large number of traders in the region have made the business location of St. Johann attractive for specialists in the assembly and fastening material business. More than 4000 items are available for craftsman and traders immediately on a sales area of 430 m². People can also choose other products from an extensive range of 100,000 items any time.

“We must be where our customers are. With the Austria-wide expansion of our cash & carry shops we are also able to cover the direct needs of our customers in the region”, says Hermann Eberl, sales manager of the Würth Austria customer centre. The guiding motive for the expansion strategy of Würth is the accessibility to a cash & carry shop within 30 min for customers from the industry and handicraft sector.