'SAMSON – Transformation of a Hidden Champion' is the title of the corporate chronicle of SAMSON AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT that the company's CEO, Dr. Andreas Widl, presented on 28 June 2022. The book contains texts and images that document the vivid, 115-year-long history of the valve manufacturer: it starts with the early days, covers the company's evolution into one of Germany's hidden champions and culminates in today's group that employs 4500 people who work in 60 subsidiaries and 17 production sites. "Over the past three years, our writers have put together a remarkable chronicle of our extraordinary family business", said Dr. Widl.
The two authors, Ms. Jelena Mitsiadis and Prof. Manfred Pohl from the Frankfurt institute for corporate history (Institut für Unternehmensgeschichte), corroborate their compelling storytelling with scientific depth. They tell the history of SAMSON from the fundamental invention of the first thermostat valve, then move on to the challenges involved in worldwide growth and end with the evolution of SAMSON into an international big player in the valve business in a digitalized world.
SAMSON's focus in this project was not merely on presenting itself as a worldwide leader in the manufacturing and development of valves and control systems. The chronicle was also intended to examine the challenges faced by a family business, such as training, corporate culture and corporate social responsibility as a large employer in the region. Dr. Widl underlined SAMSON's reliability as a partner: "We have always assumed responsibility in business and society."
In the chronicle, the authors expand on the milestones in 115 years of corporate history, rounding off their book with SAMSON as a company that helps shape the process industry, invents new valve generations and pioneers modern technologies, such as green hydrogen. Dr. Widl: "We think and act for the long term, in compliance with the applicable rules and based on sound ethics. We take on the priorities of today and the challenges of tomorrow at the same time."
The chronicle recounts the history of the five Sandvoss brothers Ernst, Heinrich, Carl, Wilhelm and Hermann (1871 – 1923) who made up their minds to learn a solid trade. Their inventiveness, dedication and determination to go the extra mile carried them into the 20th century to shape a business of international renown based on their close family ties. Because this is what SAMSON has become over one hundred years later under Dr. Nikolaus Hensel as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board. The idea of the founding father, Mr. Hermann Sandvoss, to use the thermal expansion of liquids for temperature control, which he also had patented, is the basis of SAMSON's success.
Charismatic entrepreneurs, among them Dr. Heinrich Arndt and Mr. Rolf Sandvoss, managed to derive new impetus and drive from overcoming challenging situations like inflation, the Great Depression, the banking crisis, the Nazi regime, the Zero Hour, the founding years of the German Republic, the Miracle on the Rhine and now the digital transformation of the economy. In 1975, SAMSON dropped the term 'Apparatebau' (apparatus engineering) from its company name and continued on with the add-on 'Mess- und Regeltechnik', the German equivalent of instrumentation and controls. In 1916, the city of Frankfurt am Main became the home of the company headquarters.
Yet, the chronicle is far more than a history book. Several chapters are dedicated to the present or provide a look into the future, embracing what was, what is and what will be. One of the topics dealt with in these sections includes the four-quadrant product matrix strategy introduced by Dr. Widl in 2016. 'Business alignment' and 'business model for the future' are terms often used in conjunction with the 'valve of the future', for example the award-winning FOCUS-1 smart process node. They also come up when talking about how to position such products on the international markets to ensure that SAMSON's innovative strength will also give the company a competitive edge for the next 115 years to come. This is how visionary ideas become tangible and necessary paradigm change occurs as part of transformation.
A company history worth reading – not only for SAMSON staff.
"The family company identity – the SAMSON identity – is the fusion of past, present, and future, and it will continue in spite of all the changes associated with digitalization, AI, and robotics that are shaping the company and providing it with a new and viable basis for future success."
Dr. Nikolaus Hensel, Chairman of the SAMSON AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT Supervisory Board in the preface of the chronicle
If you are interested in reading the chronicle, you can order it at executive-board-de(at)samsongroup.. com
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