Mannheim - In 2016 TÜV SÜD will be celebrating both the company’s 150th anniversary and – as the company is Germany’s oldest TÜV organisation – 150 years of technical safety in Germany. On 6 January 1866, 22 companies in the Baden region of Germany established the Mannheim-based Association for the Inspection and Insurance of Steam Boilers (Gesellschaft zur Ueberwachung und Versicherung von Dampfkesseln mit dem Sitze in Mannheim). To mark the occasion, on 14 January 2016 Dr Peter Kurz, Mayor of the City of Mannheim, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Axel Stepken, Chairman of the Board of Management of TÜV SÜD AG, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ernst Schadow, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TÜV SÜD e.V., unveiled a commemorative column at the city location in Quadrant D2,6 where the organisation was founded.
The precise reason for the foundation was a disaster that had taken place roughly one year earlier – in 1865 – at Aktienbrauerei, a Mannheim-based brewery. The liberal tradition of the Grand Duchy of Baden paved the way for the establishment of the new association, which had the mission to carry out regular steam-boiler inspections to prevent accidents. “As Mannheim is a city known for its entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, it was only logical for TÜV SÜD to be founded right here in Mannheim.
TÜV SÜD not only plays a major role in the economic history of our city; it is also a significant factor in the city’s reputation, because the name of TÜV is inextricably linked with safety and a high level of technical expertise. These positive attributes are also associated with Mannheim as a business centre. Safety, technical expertise and quality support innovations and new developments. In a new economic age widely characterised by small-scale start-ups, this kind of assistance and support are imperative“, explains Dr Peter Kurz, Mayor of the City of Mannheim.
The Mannheim model – setting a precedent
The Mannheim model set a precedent for other cities and regions and evolved into the launch-pad of technical inspection in Germany. Today, TÜV SÜD has around 22,600 staff and a global network of operations – while remaining true to its roots. The company applies high-calibre expertise in testing technologies and products and ensuring they are reliable, safe and sustainable. Mannheim continues to be an important location, with around 500 professionals from all important divisions on site. TÜV SÜD cooperates with the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (Duale Hochschule Baden-Wuerttemberg Mannheim, DHBW) in the field of mechanical engineering studies / focus on HVAC and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mannheim University.
The concept of third-party technical testing and inspection quickly became firmly anchored in Germany. “Striking a balance between technological progress and people’s desire to feel safe and secure became a societal need, which was met by the new organisation”, explains Prof. Ernst Schadow, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TÜV SÜD e.V. Soon after 1866, further steam boiler inspection associations (Dampfkesselrevisionsvereine) were established:, in Munich in 1870, in Frankfurt and Offenbach in 1873, in Stuttgart in 1875 and in Chemnitz in 1879. These regional organisations formed the foundation of today’s TÜV SÜD Group and its global operations.
Prof Axel Stepken, CEO and President of TÜV SÜD AG, emphasises, “The foundation of the Mannheim-based association in 1866 introduced the idea of technical safety to Germany. And our company's mission has remained the same ever since. TÜV SÜD’s expertise and technical know-how make technology safe, reliable and sustainable, thus ensuring its acceptance by the public throughout the world. Our activities ensure that people can trust in technology – and that customers can trust in their suppliers, even though they may be thousands of kilometres apart.“ In 2016, TÜV SÜD will celebrate this significant societal function of minimising risk and inspiring trust.
Being at the forefront of the technological revolution
Thanks to its technological expertise, TÜV SÜD has played a major role in every industrial revolution to date and will continue to be at the forefront of technological revolutions both today and in the future. In the anniversary year of 2016, the organisation of specialists will invest in centres of digital expertise in Munich and Singapore. The experts at these new centres will support customers on all issues related to digitisation in the future, providing impetus and streamlining efforts throughout the TÜV SÜD Group. Chairman of the Board of Management of TÜV SÜD Axel Stepken explains, “Digital transformation will have a profound and comprehensive effect on virtually all sectors of business, industry and society – including many of our core business models. All our activities in this field must revolve around the central question of how business, industry and society can make use of the opportunities offered by digitisation while keeping the associated risks to a minimum.”
The City of Mannheim also addresses the topic of digitisation: “Our Smart Production network, initiated by the City of Mannheim’s Economic Support Department (Mannheimer Wirtschaftsförderung), continues our tradition as the ‘city of start-ups’. We support partnerships between business and research, clusters and start-ups, urban profiling and marketing. In a few days Mannheim will hold the official foundation event of the network. The objective is to focus the various opportunities offered by the metropolitan region in the fields of information and communication technology and automation and production technology. Providing a comprehensive service portfolio, TÜV SÜD is an important service provider supporting business across virtually all industries at the business centre of Mannheim. Given this, I would very much welcome the addition of TÜV SÜD as a partner in our network”, explains Mayor. Peter Kurz.
Doubled within one decade
In 2015, TÜV SÜD laid good foundations for the anniversary year ahead. Stepken stresses, “We continued on the path of sustainable growth in 2015 and generated revenue of around 2.2 billion euros – a year-on-year increase of approximately 6.5 per cent. We have thus succeeded in doubling our consolidated revenue within the last decade.” By comparison, in 2005 TÜV SÜD reported revenue of 1.034 billion euros. The number of employees working on behalf of TÜV SÜD also rose significantly in 2015 to its current level of over 22,600. TÜV SÜD thus continues to be a job machine. The testing and inspection organisation has welcomed around 1,000 new employees on board in every single year of the past two decades. At present, over half of TÜV SÜD's employees work outside Germany.