Defined as a key topic for EVVAGRI 302-2: Energy consumptionUN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), No. 8: Decent work conditions and economic growth; No. 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Our management approach – our why:
Inventive spirit for over 100 years
Since its foundation in 1919, EVVA's distinctive inventive spirit has probably been its most important attribute. This is already reflected in the company's name: The name EVVA in German comes from Erfindungs, Versuchs und Verwertungs Anstalt (in English: invention, experimentation and application institute). Permanent innovation is an absolute necessity for EVVA. Access technologies must always be up-to-date and be able to withstand criminal techniques in the best possible way.
How important this topic is for EVVA in every sustainable aspect is impressively demonstrated by its leading position in the materiality matrix. Without exception, all participants in the stakeholder dialogue rated "innovation" as highly relevant and impactful. In the dialogues, customers and trade partners emphasise above all the importance of innovative security mechanisms for keys and cylinders, fast product development times and easy installation.
The impact of EVVA innovations. 1) Economical:
Our 55-strong team in Research & Development (R&D) invents product innovations and processes that guarantee highly secure access. This is something that millions of customers and users rely on, as well as approximately 10,000 business partners and distributors. They sell our solutions and, as specialist dealers, they rely on innovative and at the same time reliable products. Security products must meet high standards and be internationally certified; these can also change – which is why ongoing research and development is essential. EVVA invests at least 6% of revenues in R&D
Design sprints and joint innovation process with customer Design sprint is a customer-centric method to develop new ideas and business solutions to complex problems. EVVA works together with renowned institutes. We conduct intensive R&D dialogue with customers and trade partners during product development in order to best meet and anticipate market needs. EVVA has, for example, constructed test-ready prototypes of the new electronic access systems for customers and incorporated their feedback into the development process
Patents. Our innovations – such as non-reproducible magnet technologies, security elements hidden inside the key or state-of-the-art encryption methods for electronic security systems – are currently protected by over 370 patents in around 50 countries. Only EVVA may produce these security solutions. This uniqueness is the foundation for our success and that of our trade partners.
In the last major EVVA Partner Survey 2017 (conducted in 9 European countries with EVVA subsidiaries), we received the highest rating in the "degree of innovation" category compared to other security companies: 1.4 on a four-point scale
EVVA holds 370 patents for its innovations, plus currently 51 patents pending.
The in-house mechanical engineering team has designed more than half of all machines used at EVVA. Very valuable innovation know-how that also has an economic impact: Further developments and repairs can usually be carried out internally. Read more under Security of supply
You can find out everything about Industry 4.0 innovations under Digitalisation
Long service life Innovative not only means inventing better products and technologies, but also ensuring a long lifespan – especially in a disposable culture. The more durable the products are, the less resources need to be used. You can find out in detail how EVVA achieves this and which quality targets we aim to achieve under Quality
Low power design "We use the same advanced semiconductor technologies in our products that are also found in smartphones and wearables", says Johann Notbauer, Group President Market Innovation and Technology. "These are designed for particularly energy-saving operation, because the batteries in these systems also need to last a long time. With this strategy, our products benefit from innovations in the smartphone segment." Thanks to this technology, EVVA's electronic components only require 25 microamps, i.e. a quarter to a third of the previous power requirement: The batteries can be used for much longer, currently about 3 years. This is also the reason why our electronic access systems can offer more and more additional functions without increasing the power demand during use. EVVA is working to extend the service life of the batteries even further: in the direction of 5 years.
EVVA also offers additional solutions that go beyond its core business, such as energy-saving switches that only activate lights, air conditioning etc. when someone enters the room. If batteries are required, they can be used for many years and – thanks to the status messages – until the end
EVVA developed the modular design of locking cylinders back in 1998 and has since expanded it further. EVVA received the City of Vienna's Öko Business Award for this. The advantage: If necessary, the fitter can adapt the cylinder length to the respective door thickness on site using modular extension elements. This flexible approach not only reduces warehousing and waste, but also CO² emissions, as unnecessary car journeys by fitters are eliminated. However, exact CO² savings data is not available
EVVA is cooperatively developing new types of Clean Production machines that manufacture without oil and water, which massively reduces resource consumption (more under Clean Production).
The reassuring feeling of security is one of the basic needs of mankind. Permanent research and development in access technology not only provides physical protection, but also psychological security. The figures provided by the victim support organisation "Weißer Ring" show how strong this feeling is: Up to 20 percent of all burglary victims suffer from long-term anxiety. The German Psychological Academy (Quelle ntv; https://www.n-tv.de/ratgeber/Wie-Opfer-mit-dem-Schock-fertig-werden-article20581071.html) adds that 10 percent move out of their home after a burglary.
Technical solutions are becoming ever more complex as market requirements increase. Innovation is required here in order to simplify operation even further for humans, as the success of smartphones shows. Clarity comes before complexity. EVVA examples: electronic access solutions with simple operation via software or smartphone, applications precisely adapted to the respective user, faster installations and uncomplicated assembly instructions via video
Internal improvement and innovation initiatives
For many years, employees have been able to submit suggestions for improvements to products, processes, etc. via the internal WoW! initiative. The table shows the number of submitted and accepted WoW! proposals in the reporting period:
WoW! suggestions for improvement
The reason for the decline from 2019 onwards is that production-related proposals are no longer processed via WoW!, but directly via the so-called EPOS teams (EPOS stands for "EVVAs ProductionOptimised System"). EVVA has also set up its own suggestion platform called Genius for innovation suggestions – i.e. for completely new ideas rather than improvements to existing ones.
Challenge: Anticipate trends
What is still considered new today may be outdated tomorrow or on the day after. Being up to date is evolution and not a closed matter. Market leaders such as EVVA must therefore always have a sense of trends that can establish themselves as the spirit of the times. EVVA uses future orientation strategically: All divisions deal with future trends as part of their tasks and for the past year a trend radar has been used across all divisions. In the 1970s, EVVA was the first company to calculate cylinder locking systems with a computer and in the 1990s developed the first cylinders online. In 1993, we were the first locking system manufacturer in Europe to be awarded the ISO 9001 quality certificate. EVVA also exceeded all GDPR guidelines with the AirKey electronic access system in 2014, years before they became mandatory.
The big challenge for a technology company is therefore to recognise at an early stage what the decisive factors are for the future. And what needs to be done now to be ready. Innovation does not happen by chance, but requires a structured approach. One EVVA method for this is the Genius internal innovation management system, which is now being expanded – see targets.
How: Over the next few years, EVVA will be launching a range of mechanical and electronic access innovations. These are protected internationally by a number of new patents. The EVVA "Patent Management" department in R&D coordinates the application as well as the ongoing review and monitoring of our patents.
Positive effects: Patent-protected access solutions are a unique selling point and protect against imitation. This guarantees our position as a European market leader and thus the economic sustainability of our company and our business partners.
How: The in-house R&D department is currently finalising a new mechanical access system – together with various internal departments. The security concept is unique and consists of an innovative combination of mechanical and magnetic coding.
Positive effects: More precise details cannot yet be given for reasons relating to intellectual property rights.
How: A typical innovation indicator is the level of a company's revenue created by new products. We want to generate at least 10% of our revenues in 2024 with products that have only been on the market since 2019.
Positive effects: A technology company should not dwell too long and certainly not exclusively on its past successes. Technical development and the spirit of times are changing rapidly. Market leaders must always keep their finger on the pulse and anticipate trends.
How: Both commercial requirements (how to develop the product so that it makes a profit?) and social requirements (how to ensure that it is safe to use?) have always been part of the product design process. EVVA has also taken environmental impacts into account and has already been able to win many green building projects (see certifications). At present, R&D specifications do not yet have an ongoing obligation to meet ecological requirements. EVVA will change this from 2021 and check new products over their life cycle accordingly (e.g. recycling potential; maximum energy consumption over the average duration of use; connected devices that enable maintenance via radio, etc.). This does not refer to statutory requirements that EVVA must comply with, but to self-imposed commitments.
Positive effects: Through mandatory inclusion in the R&D specification (which specifies what requirements a product must meet), we expect to see further benefits to the environment in terms of minimised maintenance efforts, faster installations, or extending battery life by years.
How: Quantitative survey of all EVVA trade partners across all subsidiaries (in 9 countries).
Positive effects: In the last major survey in 2017, EVVA received the highest rating in the "degree of innovation" category involving 600 partners (1.4 on a four-point scale). We want to maintain this excellent level, because the spirit of pioneering and innovation has been part of our identity since EVVA was founded in 1919 as an "Erfindungs-, Versuchs- und Verwertungs-Anstalt" (in English: invention, experimentation and application institute).
How: In the reporting period, EVVA established "Genius", a second initiative for employee suggestions. While you can use WoW! to submit improvements for existing products or processes, Genius Innovation Management is open to completely new ideas. Employees can currently contribute their individual ideas here. EVVA will officially launch Phase 2 of Genius by 2022 and supplement it with another, more structured process: A team of employees uses creative methods to collaborate on the development of completely new ideas and application solutions. A first – successful – pilot run already took place in 2020.
Positive effects: Innovation teams are given the opportunity to develop completely new ideas and applications – and then test these ideas and applications in practice as a start-up within EVVA.