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SKZ positions itself for the future

The divisions of product testing, certification and analytical services at the German Plastics Center (SKZ) are adapting to current market conditions. In doing so, they are guided by a consistent future-proof and sustainable strategy. The pro-active action plans and restructuring serve a customer and industry-centric focus and orientation in the future.

January 24, 2023
Produktprüfung Prüflabor

Autoclave testing in the laboratories of the testing department of the German Plastics Center (Source: Luca Hoffmannbeck, SKZ)

Analytics, testing and product certification reinvent themselves

Just three years after SKZ was founded in 1961, the German Plastics Center was already operating successfully as an officially accredited testing institute for plastics. In 1974, the first SKZ test label was awarded. With the takeover of Analytik Service Obernburg GmbH (ASO) as a former unit of the large corporation Akzo Nobel and finally of Mainsite into the parent company SKZ-Testing GmbH, another major milestone was reached. The range of tasks has constantly expanded during this time, the market environment has changed and the structures have grown accordingly. Today, SKZ-Testing and ASO are very important cornerstones in the SKZ Group, which is also dedicated to research and development, education and training, networking and also corporate certification for the plastics industry and beyond. SKZ is thus unique in the world today both in terms of its size and the breadth of its range of services.

"One of SKZ's great strengths is its ability to adapt and change," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Pauline Iden, designated chair of the supervisory board. True to this motto, the product testing, certification and analytics divisions are also adapting to current circumstances. After its foundation, the SKZ was blessed with numerous unique selling points due to the then still young material of plastics. On a large scale, the SKZ was de facto a mandatory testing and monitoring institution. Much has changed since its beginnings over 60 years ago. Today, there are numerous other testing facilities, the standards and guidelines have changed, in some cases fundamentally, and not every product needs to be certified today. At the same time, more and more manufacturers shy away from the cost and effort of independent third-party monitoring, although this is beneficial for quality and safety. The customers of the producers benefit from such an independent certification, but above all they benefit themselves, e.g. by minimizing liability, reducing rejects or increasing their own sales opportunities by opening up new markets.

The business unit wants to consistently adapt to these changes and orient itself towards the future. Dr. Thomas Hochrein, Managing Director for SKZ-Testing und ASO GmbH since June 2022, is pursuing a stringent and comprehensive plan of action here. Five years ago, he was already able to successfully put SKZ's research & development and training and education business units, and most recently its event business, on a sustainable footing for the future. 

Hochrein describes the objective for the two companies as follows: "Within a very short time, we want to present ourselves as an attractive partner not only for our existing customers, but also for numerous new customers. In order to achieve this, we will focus even more on the customer and the various industries we serve in the future." For this purpose, restructuring measures are currently underway and numerous action plans are flanking this project. Above all, the synergies within the SKZ Group, but also between SKZ-Testing and ASO, are also to be used more than before. For better support of customers and partners, an industry-focused customer and project management as well as a sales department will be newly established. Capacity utilization in the laboratory areas is to be significantly increased and, overall, improved productivity and profitability are to guarantee attractive price models for customers. In addition to the expansion of existing business areas, new target industries and business models are currently being considered, which also hold great potential in the long and medium term.

"In this way, the SKZ would like to manifest its business strategy based on sustainability in this segment as well, in order to continue to be a proven partner and pioneer for the industry and its customers in the future. True to the SKZ motto 'We solve this with certainty!', this task will certainly be mastered with flying colors as well," comments board member Prof. Dr. Martin Bastian on the current activities at SKZ. The development of the SKZ Group so far proves him right. With a forecast turnover of over € 42 million, the SKZ Group will once again reach an all-time high in 2022.

Further information about SKZ division testing
and about Analytik Service Obernburg (ASO)

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Contact Person:

Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Hochrein
Managing director

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