2017 was a successful year for TÜV SÜD. Our revenue rose organically by 4.4 percent to over € 2.4 billion, while EBIT increased to € 201 million. 24,000-plus people at over 1,000 locations around the globe are passionate about their work at TÜV SÜD. These people and the dedication they show are the cornerstone of our success. However, success in the here and now is not enough. Looking ahead and preparing for the future is equally – if not more – important. In 2017, we made good progress in preparing our company even better for the future. Our aim is to be among the pioneers of digital transformation, and we plan to play a critical role in shaping the world of tomorrow.
Digitization is changing existing framework conditions and business models. It is giving rise to new opportunities – but also new risks and new competitors. As a result, many industries are facing major challenges. We pledge to continue mitigating these risks, ensuring the safety of technical systems and infrastructure on a broad scale, and helping our customers access global markets as the digital age evolves.
Companies seeking to explore new horizons and take a proactive approach to shaping the future need a vision, strategic skills, and the courage to make bold decisions as they venture into new, often unknown territory.
But courage to embrace change does not mean abandoning established methods and structures for the mere sake of renewal. Instead, we have to look closely at possible future scenarios, weigh their risks and opportunities, and then accept these challenges in full awareness of what they involve. Our guiding principle in the future will be the same as over the past 150 years: “To make our world a safer place by protecting people, the environment, and assets against technology-related risks.” Therefore for us, courage means continuously advancing and developing, moving to seize new opportunities while staying true to our principles.
In line with this philosophy, a strategic focus of our future development will be to “reinvent” our conventional testing and inspection services and align them to the changing technologies of today and tomorrow. Projects addressing this issue are currently underway in all divisions as part of the corporate strategy we are developing for the year 2025. Pursuing a two-pronged approach, these projects aim on the one hand to introduce digitized processes to make our existing services more efficient, and use data from smart systems to enhance customer value even further. For this purpose, we are expanding our present expertise by integrating artificial intelligence (AI). On the other hand, we are proactively developing new services to help our customers cope with the challenges resulting from digitized processes and new technologies. With this in mind, our development activities prioritize areas including cybersecurity and the secure processing and utilization of sensor data. In addition, we are also driving the development of testing and certification methods for new technologies, such as cyber-physical systems (CPS) and artificial intelligence.
Working with business partners and customers, we have launched promising projects for a number of technology trends: In additive manufacturing (AM), we provide testing and certification of 3D printing processes. Providing “digital twins,” we support our customers in simulating and optimizing the performance of large-scale infrastructure right from the planning phase, thereby helping them to avoid costly faults during operation later on. In sensor network installation, testing, and monitoring, we ensure the integrity and security of the data collected.
Central hubs for our Digital Services activities are our Business Assurance Division and two Centers of Competence in Germany and Singapore. They pool know-how and drive development. Our portfolio has been further expanded by our acquisition of the majority holding in Uniscon universal identity control GmbH in 2017. We can now offer our customers highly secure cloud solutions for data processing. With this acquisition, we have positioned ourselves at the core of digital transformation and taken the role of third-party provider of a reliable secure platform for handling sensitive data. Given that data availability and confidence in data security are key for the functioning and further growth of the Internet of Things, we now occupy a key position.
In 2017 we introduced the necessary organizational changes to become more agile and effective. Our Board of Management has become leaner. Responsibilities have been redefined and operational responsibility has been assigned to the new role of Chief Operating Officer (COO). A leadership council, with members including the CEOs of Divisions and the Key Regions of USA and China, has been established, and we have consolidated our sales and marketing activities.
However, TÜV SÜD is only as strong as the people working in our company. Given this, we will continue to invest in the further development of our employees’ skills and qualifications. We call upon every single one of our employees to rise to new challenges with courage and to learn new skills, thereby not only shaping digital transformation but their own personal development. For this purpose, we have launched the “Digital Readiness” program, a global continuous training program which will provide tailored and individual training to experts, managers, and top executives.
Digitization has characterized and driven change at TÜV SÜD in recent years, and will continue to be the key driver of change in the future. We are tackling the challenges with confidence and are using our current position of strength to set our company on the right course today – embracing the courage to shape the future.
Munich, March 23, 2018
Board of Management of TÜV SÜD AG
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Axel Stepken Ishan Palit Dr. Matthias J. Rapp