When Andreas Stihl developed his first chainsaw in 1926, his aim and vision was to “ease people’s work with and in nature”. STIHL has been the world’s best-selling chainsaw brand since 1971.
Since the company was founded by Andreas Stihl, it has developed from a one-man operation into an internationally active manufacturer of chainsaws and outdoor power tools. In four blog posts we give an insight into the eventful chapters of the company story. Part 4 covers the period from 1995 to 2016.
Structural changes: The STIHL holding company
The entry of the third generation takes place along with great structural changes. In 1995, the STIHL companies are placed under the roof of a holding company. A far-reaching partnership agreement ensures that the group continues to be 100-percent family owned. This is an important step, because the STIHL family withdraws form the operational business.
For the first time, the STIHL Group is managed by an Executive Board without any members of the Stihl family, since 2003 under Executive Board Chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora. The family is included in all strategic decisions through the Advisory Board of the holding company and through the Supervisory Board of STIHL AG, which was founded in 1997.
Strong and quiet: Battery technology
The range of battery tools is started in 2009 with cordless hedge trimmers. The first cordless chainsaw follows a year later.
In 2014, STIHL launches the world’s first battery-powered cordless cut-off machine: the STIHL TSA 230.
Today the STIHL group generates annual revenue of more than three billion euros. With an equity ratio of 70 percent, all investments can be financed from its own resources. In order to create the right conditions for further growth, one billion euros will be invested worldwide between 2015 and 2018.
STIHL aims to achieve continual long-term growth. “The desire to grow is natural. For a company that has its roots in forestry, this ambition is well established. We always aim to grow above ourselves in everything we do. Because only when we improve ourselves, are we able to pass on this capability to others.” (Dr. Nikolas Stihl).
In addition to continuity, the company’s great strengths include its focus on core competencies. This means that STIHL has a consistent orientation towards the needs of its customers, produces no less that top quality for them, and makes sure that advice, instruction and service are at the same level as the product quality.
“Innovation and a focus on core competencies are our great strengths. Our most important benchmark is quality. It involves the entire lifecycle of a product – from production to service.” says Dr. Bertram Kandziora. This reflects the motto of the company’s founder: “Every chainsaw is only as good as its service.”
In 2016, STIHL opens a new production logistics center in Waiblingen and a new building for the development center with floor space of 12,600 square meters (135,000 square feet). The production network is further expanded with the new ZAMA carburetor plant in the Philippines.
You can find out more about the beginnings of the STIHL story in our article The STIHL story, part 1: The saw should be carried to the tree, and not the tree to the saw (1926-1945).