BZ SERIES JOBMOTOR (2): Spezial-Transformatoren-Stockach (STS) does a lot to get competent employees.
Which companies in South Baden created the most jobs in 2021 despite the Corona pandemic? What ideas have companies used to find and retain new employees in times of skilled worker shortages? In the Job Motor Competition being held for the 16th time, Badische Zeitung and its partners honor outstanding companies. Spezial-Transformatoren-Stockach GmbH & Co. is included. KG is in the category of 20 to 199 employees due to its concept of employee recruitment.
“You will hardly find a train in Europe without ingredients from us,” says Christophe Golden, not without pride. The 55-year-old physicist is the managing director and principal shareholder of Spezial-Transformatoren-Stockach GmbH & Co. KG, or STS for short. The company based on Lake Constance specializes in the development and manufacture of so-called inductors and electrical components that are used, for example, to adjust current and voltage and to store electrical energy
Since Gulden started there in 1996, the number of employees has more than tripled from about 50 to 155 now. Annual turnover has now increased from 3.5 to 21 million euros – and the chances of further growth are not bad. The recipe for success at STS is primarily the concentrated knowledge of STS employees and a strict focus on a very specific class of electrotechnical components. “About 15 percent of our workforce is involved in research and development,” says the company’s president. There is no catalog with standard products; Instead, new inductors, called chokers and transformers, are newly designed according to customer requirements. “In addition, we build small to medium-sized lots, typically 100 to 10,000 of one type annually,” the entrepreneur explains. Besides a high degree of automation, production in Germany is economically viable. “We have development and production under one roof here in Stockach and we have no plans to change this,” says Gulden. This combination also allows for better and more flexible handling of customer requests and development tasks.
The components of the company in place since 1973 cover a wide range of technical requirements when dealing with electricity, outputs up to ten megawatts, which corresponds to the nominal output of large wind turbines. Voltages up to 60 kV, that is, in the high voltage range, currents up to ten kA and frequencies from one kilohertz to ten megahertz. This is one of the reasons why they are used in a variety of applications.
An important field of application is railway technology. “By using our parts, we ensure, for example, that the auxiliary power source on the trains is working, that is, the electricity that comes from the overhead line is also available and suitable for charging a mobile phone at the station,” explains Golden. This applies to regional trains as well as high-speed trains, electric trams and the subway.
STS inductors are also used in industrial systems, for example in high-voltage power supplies for coating systems, for drive transformers in large electric motors, for induction heating or in test stands for electric vehicles. “Sometimes a few hundred kilowatts have to be quickly loaded into the car and then unloaded again,” says Gulden-STS, often STS inductors play a key role here.
Another field of application is medical technology. STS components are used, for example, in high-frequency arc surgery, in breaking up kidney stones or in X-ray machines. Finally, STS is also working on the topics of renewable energies and the smart grid, i.e. the smart energy grid.
“We know that we can continue to succeed only with good, qualified and motivated employees,” says Gulden. Because the requirements in product development and production are enormous – refrigeration, electrical insulation, material qualification, compliance with a wide range of safety and quality standards and many other aspects must be taken into account. Accordingly, great importance is attached to personnel selection and personnel management. “In particular, we need competent engineers from the fields of electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, as well as physicists,” says Michael Bauer, the company’s commercial director. “We want to retain employees for the long term, which is why the right candidates always receive a detailed half-day tour of the company and, depending on the job, can also learn about business personas,” says Bauer. Transparency as an employer is very important in order to develop a relationship of mutual trust with employees.
Executives are trained systematically and continuously, for example through seminars offered by the WVIB Association. There are media events for the entire workforce at least three times a year so that everyone knows the current situation. Staff evaluations are conducted monthly. “We’ve also agreed to distribute a third of the profits to employees, which is typically about two additional monthly salaries a year,” says Bauer. Showcasing a working bike, financial support for special recreational apparel – with the STS company logo – and corporate health management are some of the benefits the workforce has. STS is also active as a coach and works with the Co-operative State University of Hurbe, among others. There are close ties with the Konstanz University of Applied Sciences and Coburg University of Applied Sciences.
Employees appreciate the commitment of the employer. “Regular employee meetings in particular are great because nothing builds up when you work together,” says Natalie Seca, who works in finance and human resources at STS. The company also supported her in further training to become an accountant. “We try to provide all employees with the prospects for development and qualification in the company,” says Michael Bauer.