southern germany

Industry in

Southern Germany



field timber landscape
rural mold (2) turnover (2)
sauna attract arrangement
steam synergy component
radius capsules guarantee
mere raw (2) coincidence
rural perceive tuck away
exploit profitable press ahead
set up trainee short supply
region compress job security





Southern Germany is certainly not short of woodland. And that’s good news for the local economy.

Here in this rural region, there are many successful companies that are leaders in their field.

Stefan Schollhammer, KLAFS Managing Director: “You’ve seen the wonderful landscape. It’s an area rich in woodlands, so construction timber is in plentiful supply here. And we have the specialist knowledge of our staff.

These are great production conditions.”

The Klafs company has a turnover of over 100 million euros a year.

They make steam baths and saunas.

This one’s headed for Dohar.

Klafs is not the only global market leader in this region: there are more than 80 others within just a few kilometers.

And they can all buy hardware right next door.

Successful companies attract suppliers.

ILLIG is one company that benefits from this arrangement.

Karl Schauble, ILLIG Managing Director: “If we’re talking about synergies, then the crucial effect is that these companies can draw on an amazingly well developed supply structure.

That’s the major synergy effect.

We can get our major components within a 100 km radius of Heilbronn.”

ILLIG is also a global market leader in its field: it makes machines that mold packaging.

The best-known example: coffee is compressed into capsules with machines like this.

This part of northern Bavaria and Baden Wurtenburg has many big companies.

Andreas Schumm explains that it isn’t a mere coincidence.

Andreas Schumm, Business Manager, Economic Region Franken-Heilbronn GmbH : “Many companies that are world leaders today, were set up elsewhere.

But after the Second World War, they were rebuilt in rural regions — which weren’t so badly destroyed in the war.

That happened in the 1950s and 60s. And so the grew and developed, tucked away here.”

It was an era when agriculture was becoming unprofitable — and many farmers had to look for new jobs.

Andreas Schumm: “On the one hand they perceived it as a move away from agriculture into the factory.

On the other hand, they were used to working 24/7: farmers don’t have Saturdays and Sundays off.

The companies didn’t exploit that, but they were also happy to press ahead with things, to keep on working on things, until they were finished.”

Nowadays, skilled workers are in short supply here.

For example, Thiel-Abeg, a global market leader in the production of fans, seeks to attract employees with the ultimate in job security:

It guarantees its trainees a job for life — from their very first day.

Thomas Brommer, ZIEHL, ABBEG Export Manager: “We have to find young people; they are like raw diamonds: we have to get them in the company, train them, and keep them here.

There’s a lot of competition here for the best minds. That doesn’t just mean people with a university education, but those who work in production, who make the products.”

It’s Andreas Schumm’s job now to attract skilled workers from all across Europe to come to work here, in this region of top class companies.

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1. Lots of forests cover southern Germany. Is this correct or wrong? Are they an important resource?

2. Describe Klafs. What do they produce? Are they a successful company?

3. Are these companies scattered or clustered? Do they do business with each other?

4. All the companies in southern Germany are in big cities. True or false? Why are many companies located in rural areas?

5. Has the region always been industrial? Did the people always work in factories?

6. The companies exploited the new workers. They saw them as a source of cheap labour. Yes or no?

7. What is the industry’s main challenge or problem these days? What are the solutions?

A. Are there industrial regions in your country? Why have they developed industrially?

B. What are some examples of their products? Who do they trade with? What do they trade?

C. How could industrialization be increased? Is this always good?

D. Are some or many workers “exploited”? What are examples of exploitation? How can this be solved?

E. Is there a labor shortage? Why is labor in short supply? What are the solutions?

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