Foresight, mutual respect in everyday operations, as well as carefully reflecting on the impact of all business activities on society and environment—these are the cornerstones of our business practices irrespective of Zeitgeist and legal requirements.
When possible, we try to quantify all aspects of sustainability and make it transparent. Ambitious, measurable targets help us convey and implement our goals. We aim to establish the concept of sustainability as a good foundation for establishing corporate responsibility as a self-evident basis of our actions. and one of the ways to do this is to make our reporting transparent. However, the most important elements are a strong will and commitment to take on the challenges of the future and to be responsible towards society.
Currently our efforts in the realm of sustainability focus primarily on:
Bechtle AG has joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The world’s largest initiative for sustainable and responsible corporate governance is sponsored by the United Nations and currently has more than 13,000 participants. In signing up, Bechtle pledges to integrate the ten UN Global Compact sustainability principles in human rights, labour, the environment, and anti-corruption into its corporate strategy and implement them in all its business dealings.
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An open and trusting relationship with customers, highest-quality standards, future-ready product solutions and responsible supplier management are the core of Bechtle’s customer-oriented approach.
In a customer survey, we significantly improved our overall average score in the IT System House & Managed Services business segment to 1.59.
Customers take priority at Bechtle.
More than 70,000 customers rely on us as their trusted IT partner.
In addition to the yearly audits, the DQS also conducts so-called recertification audits every three years, and, up till now, have not found one single major issue.
The success of IT projects depends primarily on understanding, clarity and openness. To achieve this, we have developed the Bechtle Fair Project (BFP). Project management, which is tailored to meet customer requirements, enables simplification and transparency, especially for highly complex projects, so that the project goals are readily understood and can be completed on time. By using BFP, the delivery, implementation, operation and maintenance and support of a solution can be calculated and controlled in a transparent manner.
To ensure that our customers’ requirements are systematically recorded and that we are able to fulfil them, we introduced a Bechtle Group-wide management system based on the ISO 9001 standard back in 1996. In addition to the yearly audits, the DQS also conducts so-called recertification audits every three years, and, up till now, have not found one single major issue. We successfully transitioned from the old standard ISO 9001:2008 to the new norm ISO 9001:2015 in the context of the matrix certification in the spring of 2017—the first company in Germany to do so.
Part of our quality management is the qualified management of complaints and queries. An active complaints management system provides us with important information on the strengths and weaknesses of our operations. This information allows us to continually improve our service quality and thus also customer satisfaction. In the IT E-commerce business unit, Bechtle direct Germany takes it one step further. Relevant customer feedback, including praise or suggestions for improvement, is documented in the ERP system and statistically analysed.
Our biggest internal service provider, Bechtle Logistik & Service, also established its own claims management as part of its quality management system in 2017. Its objective is also to transform any negative experiences our customers may have into a positive one, with the ultimate goal of maintaining a healthy long-term customer relationship. A central component of this system is its returns management. In order to avoid or minimise returns as much as possible, preventative measures are prioritised.
We help businesses to improve their energy balance by designing IT solutions that protect the environment and resources throughout their entire life cycle. Since 2007, we have preoccupied ourselves with the topic of green IT and sustainable IT concepts in different business units. For example, for certified data erasure according to BSI (German Federal Office for Information Security) and environmentally responsible disposal of obsolete hardware, Bechtle founded the Bechtle Remarketing GmbH in 2012 that specialises in the remarketing of used IT equipment.
Our binding data protection policies apply uniformly across the entire Bechtle Group to ensure a high level of data protection. In 2017, we moved significant parts of our data centre from Neckarsulm to Frankfurt and Rüsselsheim. The data centres in Neckarsulm, Frankfurt and Rüsselsheim are certified according to the internationally recognised security-relevant ISO 27001:2013 standard. In the medium term, it is planned to expand the ISO 27001 certification to other Bechtle locations.
Bechtle targets the next generation of skilled workers and offers them an optimal working environment. A good company atmosphere, further education options, early promotions, fair pay, and a wide range of opportunities for personal and professional development are of particular importance to us.
In 2017, we hired 1,694 new colleagues.
The number of people employed by Bechtle by the end of the reporting year was 8,353.
The average period of employment was 6 years.
The loyalty of our employees to Bechtle is shown by the low, single-digit employee turnover rate of 8.4 per cent.
In 2017, 366 employee anniversaries for 10, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service in the company were celebrated group-wide.
Alone at the Bechtle headquarters, 54 school pupils completed their work placements in 2017.
In the reporting year, eleven trainees successfully completed the nine-month training programme.
Since 1985 , we offer professional training to junior employees at the company headquarters in Neckarsulm and also decentrally at many of the group’s different locations. Currently there are 15 technical and commercial career paths and integrated degree programmes to choose from, which are continually augmented to meet demands—most recently in September 2017 , the career path “Media designer in digital and print media” was added. By the end of 2017, Bechtle had a total 553 trainees and students on its payroll. 262 of these had technical training placements, while 212 chose commercial career paths. Added to that are 41 students in commercial and 38 in technical fields. In 2017, more than 170 young people began their vocational training and integrated programme at Bechtle.
How Bechtle harmonises economy with ecology while improving its own environmental track record.
In 2011, we introduced an environmental management system according to DIN EN ISO 14001 at the Bechtle AG headquarters. We record all environmentally relevant activities and ensure that our operational processes and the conduct of our employees complies with our environmental policies. In 2017, Bechtle ÖA direct became the first Bechtle subsidiary to receive an environmental management system certification according to ISO 14001. In the course of the 2018 financial year, we will be reviewing the merit of further certifications for Bechtle subsidiaries.
Within the framework of our environmental management system, the Executive Board devised a concrete environment programme in 2011 that contains targets and a plan of action. It also defines timelines, necessary resources and who is responsible for carrying out the plan.
Primarily, the programme pursues 7 individual goals:
Being close to the customer is essential for our sales personnel. To lower our CO2 footprint by a significant margin, we have made sustainability an integral part of our car pool policy. In 2017, our car pool contained some 90 electric or hybrid-powered cars. In the short to medium term, 10 per cent of our car pool will be electric or hybrid powered, At our company headquarters, we have a total of 64 charging stations—currently the largest number in one location in Germany.
We have been consistently pushing for more virtualisation of our data processing and storage for years. By using virtualised infrastructures of existing technologies more effectively, we lower energy consumption, cooling requirements, space requirements and administrative costs. At Bechtle the degree of virtualisation by the end of 2017 was 71 per cent. In the next five to seven years, the percentage will continue to rise until we reach 90 per cent.
For many years Bechtle has systematically focused on different possibilities of saving energy, especially at our corporate headquarters. In concrete terms, we reduced lighting intervals and optimised the air conditioning control. By moving our data centre from Neckarsulm to Frankfurt and Rüsselsheim in 2017, we were able to lower our energy consumption and carbon emissions considerably. The new data centre is equipped with the latest technology and is much more energy efficient than the old data centre.
In 2017, we installed two more photovoltaic solar power systems increasing the nominal power to over 1,349 kWp. In 2009, we commissioned a geothermal power generator for new buildings at our locations in Solingen and Gaildorf. The systems integrator in Karlsruhe has relied on geothermal power since 2011; in Freiburg, since 2012. The group headquarters in Neckarsulm has also had a geothermal field since 2016. In 2017 we were able to tap into another field below the new car park, which has increased the available geothermal power to 200 kWh.
Whenever possible, we send complete pallets or original packaging directly from the manufacturer or distributor to the customer. This reduces handling and repacking activities, lowers transport costs and minimises transport damage. The BECHTLE Box®, which was developed in collaboration with a supplier, is a highly flexible and customer-oriented solution. With this box, we are able to send IT products without using any cardboard boxes. This conserves resources, reduces costs and saves time when rolling out IT products.
Bechtle AG and its subsidiaries sponsor various community projects that serve the community in many different ways. Programmes sponsored by Bechtle benefit children/youth, education and sports.
Part of our success depends on finding the right balance between the interests of society and those of our business. Given that importance, we do not view social commitment as an end in itself rather, as an opportunity to proactively contribute to the world we work and live in. By contributing to a strong, united and vigorous community, we are also fostering an environment and climate in which we can continue to grow successfully.
In 2009, Bechtle’s founding member, Ralf Klenk, started the foundation “Big Help for Little Heroes” (Große Hilfe für kleine Helden). It supports sick children and their families during their stay at the Heilbronn children’s clinic and during their recovery time.
Between 2015 and 2017 we also gave financial support to St. Paulusheim in Eberbach. The local charity "Katholische Frauen Heidelberg e.V." serves children and young people who can no longer live at home due to a family crisis.
As a sign of our commitment to the region, we have a co-operation with the Neckarsulm Sport Union Club, which is significant in the region both in terms of its size and its professional organisation. Our contribution to the development of young talent matches perfectly with our focus on sponsoring education, young people and sports. That’s why we have been sponsoring a youth co-ordinator at the club since 2014.
We have also been supporting the Sport Union’s youth camp since 2016 with a yearly subsidy. what's more, we also sponsor regional sporting events. Since 2005, we have been a silent sponsor of the Trollinger Marathon. In 2017, we supported the STIMME Firmenlauf (corporate run), as well as the Albert Schweitzer Gymnasium charity race with proceeds going to the “Lauf zum Leben” organisation.
Bechtle has been co-funding an endowed professorship at Heilbronn University since 2009 with a focus on logistics.
The co-operation with the Chair for Technological Logistics Management, Prof. Dr. Susanne Hetterich, has already led to a variety of synergic joint projects and current research input.
What if there were an inexhaustible energy source that barely generated any CO2 emissions, was independent of wind and weather, available at a stable price, didn’t spoil the landscape or leave any radioactive waste behind? Answer: We should harness this energy, and that’s exactly what Bechtle is doing.
Bechtle was so satisfied with its future-secure energy source that geothermal energy became the 2017 sustainability project. And since this type of project combines profitability and sustainability so successfully and advantageously, Bechtle went one better. The excavators were back in action in the reporting year as they once again dug nearly 50 metres down into the earth—this time drilling 110 holes—connecting the newly built multi-storey car park with the existing geothermal field. And now, Bechtle has access to 200 kWh of geothermal power at its Neckarsulm location.
Geothermal energy fits perfectly into Bechtle’s energy concept. For years, Bechtle has generated clean energy with its photovoltaic solar power system at its headquarters in Neckarsulm. When we expanded our warehouse and built our new multi-storey car park, we also installed two more solar power systems and increased our nominal power to over 1,349 kWp. In months with peak sunlight hours, the combination of geothermal and solar power enables the warehouse to be CO2 neutral. We are currently reviewing possibilities to invest in more renewable energy to further reduce our CO2 emissions over the course of the entire year. In the long term, we want to invest in alternative energy sources at all locations where this is possible and where the climatic and geological requirements are met, in order to keep our CO2 emissions as low as possible. Part of that also includes the appropriate building insulation. The expanded warehouse, for example, was re-insulated and now fulfils the requirements of the KFW energy efficiency standard 70.
'Geothermal' denotes the branch of natural sciences dedicated to studying geothermal properties beneath the earth’s crust, and 'geothermal energy' defines the generation of power from energy sources stored below the earth’s surface. Through the use of different technological methods, it can be used not only to heat and cool, but also to generate electricity. A liquid circulates in an underground system of pipes that acts as a heat exchanger. This enables the heat energy below the earth’s surface to be captured and channelled to a heat pump on the surface, or used directly for cooling in the summer months when the air temperature is higher than that below the earth's surface.