“Titans”, “Transformers” and “Pioneers” are the names of the categories in which the medium-sized company prize is awarded by the media, in which FOCUS online is also involved. Companies that have proven to be particularly resilient during the crisis were honored this weekend.
In Harsewinkel, deep in East Westphalia, they will also survive this war. And afterwards it will be better than before. After the First World War, the Claas brothers expanded the company premises in 1919 and turned a Klitsche into a factory for straw binders.
During the Second World War, when production switched to armaments, the first almost self-propelled combine harvester was quietly developed here and brought to market in the early 1950s. And now, with two of the world’s top grain suppliers at war, they’re tinkering with the aftermath.
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The family is primarily responsible for this: Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser as chairwoman of the supervisory board and Helmut, Reinhold and Patrick Claas as members of the board. They ensure continuity from which crises ricochet off. For more than a century.
That’s why Claas is the award-winning “Titan” that received this year’s “Mittelstandspreis der Medien”. The “Titans” are defined by the jury as companies “that have always existed and will always exist.”
The company must have existed for at least 100 years. Claas, founded in 1913, today stands for continuously variable transmissions in tractors, crawler tracks for combine harvesters that minimize ground pressure, the “Max Cut” cutter bar with side suspension and a cutting width of up to 3.4 metres. And for smart farming, for digital systems.
The chain from seed to fertilizer to harvest must run smoothly in order to be able to bake enough bread for the world. Claas occupies the last third in this chain. The more effective the machines from Harsewinkel are, the more can be added.
If they fail, the harvest is threatened. Crop failures in Russia and Ukraine, which together account for a third of the world grain supply, are having disastrous consequences for the rest of humanity. It can therefore be said: without Claas, more people in the world would starve.
And if someone in Harsewinkel thinks about how things should continue in Russia, where Claas also produced, then he or she is not considered politically misguided or disloyal, but possibly a savior of human lives.
“We are currently facing a very challenging accumulation of crises,” says Claas CEO Thomas Böck. However, only to put everything back into perspective immediately afterwards: the problems, the confidence and the serenity that comes with a history that has lasted longer than, for example, that of the Soviet Union ever did.
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“Farming is a cyclical business. In our history, we have therefore repeatedly had to deal with major falls in demand, most recently during the global financial crisis,” says Böck.
“We currently have the opposite problem: we have to live with the paradox that we can only partially meet the very strong global demand for our products because of the fragile supply chains.”
All of this cannot shake Claas. “We enter into long-term relationships and don’t just look at the short-term effect. This approach ensures orientation and stability even in confusing times,” assures Böck. After all, in Harsewinkel they have a core competence in digging their way out of the mud.
The article “Without Claas, more people in the world would starve” comes from WirtschaftsKurier.