Before the acquisition by ADCURAM, WO&WO was embedded as a specialist for shading systems in a larger group of companies specializing in the construction of prefabricated houses. WO&WO’s business was therefore outside the core business. At that time, production of the traditional company, which was founded in 1952, took place at three locations in Graz (headquarters), Hall in Tyrol, and Břeclav in the Czech Republic.
In the year of acquisition, WO&WO generated sales of 45 million euros and employed a total of around 310 people.
Due to its long-standing integration into the large corporate group, WO&WO was without an effective independent management structure, and important management positions were inadequately staffed. The individual sites operated largely in isolation from one another, and necessary coordination processes within the company, even across sites, were not clearly defined. Although WO&WO was strongly positioned as a brand within the group of companies, it was unable to fully develop the development and innovation potential necessary for the future.
With the support of ADCURAM, the WO&WO team very quickly developed and implemented strategically and operationally important packages of measures – initially primarily to optimize the management structure and synchronize sales and production processes. After an extensive analysis of all business areas, further important optimization measures were initiated, such as a clear strategy of differentiation between standard and special colors for the awning products, which enabled a significant improvement in delivery capability.
Following the extensive analysis phase and the leveraging of initial optimization potential, in the 2nd year after the acquisition the operational Adcuram team focused on holistic packages of measures for continuous process optimization and company-wide cost efficiency improvements. The cost awareness created in the company with these measures has been consistently and successfully continued in subsequent years.
In the strategic analysis, it became clear that there were limits to WO&WO’s targeted growth due to the previously highly fragmented production sites. An essential cornerstone for optimization was to be the establishment of a central production competence center for textile shading systems in Gabersdorf in the south of Styria, not far from WO&WO’s headquarters in Graz. As early as March 2018, it was possible to relocate part of the production from Hall to the new Gabersdorf site.
The complete relocation took place by September 2021, and was completed with the closure of the Hall site in Tyrol.
The strategic acquisition of Wadiasch, a local competitor for window shutters, enabled organic growth to be driven forward and the product portfolio to be strengthened. Rapid integration of the former Wadiasch production into the main site in Graz was possible primarily because the new Gabersdorf site was already under construction.
The strategic goal was to support the implementation of the growth strategy in the following years through a production system with three low-complexity sites in Graz, Gabersdorf and Breclav, which bundles the respective production technologies at the sites and enables the synergies of cross-site material and finished product logistics.
The strategic concentration on three low-complexity production sites in Graz, Gabersdorf and Breclav allowed WO&WO to further strengthen its brand and innovative power. The consistent further development of the website and marketing material required for sales was initiated and implemented on a sustainable basis for the coming years. The sales process was further professionalized through the establishment of a company-wide CRM system and thus focused on the customer throughout the company.
Derived from customer needs, a stringent innovation process was developed and implemented, which has sustainably strengthened WO&WO’s innovative power in subsequent years. In order to be able to keep WO&WO’s market promises, the foundation was laid for a common system of key performance indicators to control quality, delivery reliability, productivity and inventories for all production sites.
On the basis of stable core processes and a growth-oriented production structure, WO&WO has increasingly started to expand its core markets in France, Switzerland and Germany around the strong home market of Austria at the beginning of 2020. In particular, an important milestone was reached on the German market with the opening of a branch and showroom in Rutesheim for a local presence in southern Germany.
In parallel, the international business with awning components was further expanded for Europe as well as North America and Australia. This made it possible to better compensate for the high seasonality of WO&WO’s business for production.
Another milestone was WO&WO’s increased commitment to digitalization: with the opening of its own web store in January 2021 and the installation of the first version of a virtual reality app for product configuration, the company laid two important cornerstones for a stronger digital presence on the Internet.
With its financing competence and strong expertise in the operational implementation of necessary business and production change processes, Adcuram has succeeded in bringing WO&WO back on track for sustainable success in recent years. Today, the specialist for sun protection and shading systems is one of the leading players in its industry in its core markets of Austria, Germany and France and generated sales at the time of the sale that were around 40% higher than the sales at the time of the acquisition in 2015.
For the future of WO&WO, a strategic investor has been found in the French industrial group SFPI, which has the reputation and strength to continue implementing its ambitious growth strategy together with WO&WO from now on: in 2025, sales are to grow by a further 25%. In addition to further strengthening its position in its home market of Austria, the company also plans to expand its international presence through targeted expansions into neighboring countries, with a focus on expanding its overseas customer base, among other things. And the sun protection specialist also intends to further accelerate the innovation and digitization drive initiated together with ADCURAM with product innovations and greater digitization of supply chain management.