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EDAG Receives Top Innovator Award

Engineering service provider EDAG among the "Top 100":

Prize awarded by Ranga Yogeshwar at the German Medium Business Summit in Essen

Last Friday, EDAG was accepted into the exclusive ranks of the top 100 innovators in Germa-ny. For over 20 years, the "Top 100" seal has been a byword for innovative strength, thirst for knowledge and team spirit. On 27th June, 2014, the most successful think tanks in Germany received this coveted award. "Top 100". The awards were presented by mentor Ranga Yoge-shwar at the German Medium Business Summit in Essen, attended by over 1,000 guests.

Among the "Top 100" award winners were EDAG, architects of first class innovative process-es. The company, a leading engineering service provider, develops modules and vehicles for the automotive industry. The international No. 1 in the sector, this first rate innovator designs and constructs body manufacturing and vehicle assembly production plants.

One innovative idea presented by EDAG at the recent International Geneva Motor Show was a concept study demonstrating the future tool-less production of vehicle bodies and structural parts in 3D print (additive manufacturing). In this same field, EDAG also presented the housing for a power electronic system which had been created using additive manufacturing, a prac-tice-oriented solution for this new manufacturing method, and lightweight construction articles in carbon fibre, magnesium and steel.

Innovations like these are possible because the executive board encourages teams all around the world to exchange thoughts and ideas. In the strategic fields of lightweight construction, electric mobility and car IT, innovation management has the support of the EDAG Competence Centre, regular innovation groups, special networks in the intranet, and an open door policy. The company records suggestions for improvement in a KAIZEN system, and provides support with the assessment process and putting suggestions into practice.

Innovation services are the major drivers in EDAG's business model. For this reason, the ex-ecutive board is involved in all processes, and keeps a constant watch on the development of innovations and improvements. This enables the company to identify new business models at an early stage and keep an eye on the market.

The company frequently develops new solutions specifically for its international customers, the leading vehicle manufacturers. "Innovative impulses are often also a result of our ability to lis-ten properly. In this way, we find out what our customer really needs, and can then develop specific solutions," comments Dr. Martin Hillebrecht, Head of the Competence Centre for Lightweight Construction, Materials and Technologies.

For CTO Jörg Ohlsen, this success in the "Top 100" awards is something special: "Never to be satisfied with the status quo, and always to be hungering after improvement, is the attitude behind our EDAG brand. This attitude means that we improve ourselves, our customers' per-formance, and last but not least the mobility of tomorrow. The 'Top 100' award is a wonderful endorsement of this attitude, and a fine reward for our innovative activity."

The award underlines EDAG's reputation as an innovative, leading engineering partner to the automotive industry.

The "Top 100" competition

Before making it into the top 100, entrants first have to get through a challenging selection procedure. Innovation researcher Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke and his team at the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Vienna's University of Economics examined applications submitted by 247 companies. 148 of them, in three size groups (with no more than 100 companies per size group), receive the Top Innovator award. The focus of the examination was on innovation management and innovative success. "The Top 100 are extremely good at turning their ideas into market successes. This is the hurdle at which many other companies fall. Top innovators master this challenge with distinctive team spirit, efficient processes and frequently also by integrating customers and external partners in their developments at an early stage," says Prof. Franke.

You can see how good this year's top 100 are just by looking at the figures: 65 national market leaders and even 21 global market leaders are among the numbers. All together, the top innovators submitted almost 2,100 applications for international patents in the last three years. Their innovative strength brings the companies remarkable success: from 2011 to 2013, the growth rate of 82 percent of them was over the average for their particular sectors - on average by a substantial 22 percentage points. 41.6 percent of their turnover was earned through market innovations and innovative improvements. To compare: taking the average of all medium-sized companies in Germany, this value is just 6.8 percent. 62 of the top 100 are family-run enterprises.

The mentor

The "Top 100" mentor is journalist and TV presenter Ranga Yogeshwar.

Scientific management and cooperation partner

The scientific management has been in the hands of Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Vienna's University of Economics since 2002.
Franke's research is centred mainly on entrepreneurship, innovation management and marketing. The professor is one of the world's leading experts in user innovation. The Fraunhofer Society for the Advancement of Applied Research is the "Top 100" project partner. For more information see www.top100-germany.com

compamedia, mentor to the best medium-sized companies

Founded in 1993, compamedia GmbH has a team of 19 employees to organise the company comparisons "Top 100", "Top Job" and "Top Consultant" throughout Germany, and also set up "Ethics in Business", an alliance for values. The company supports and awards prizes to medium-sized companies that produce excellent results in the fields of innovation, human resource management, consulting and entrepreneurial social responsibility. compamedia carries out all of its projects in cooperation with renowned universities.