german industry

German Technology – The DIN-Norm

German Technology - The DIN Norm
© CurtisMmedia // Pixabay

Everything has its rules in Germany. It is not only a standard cliché but also true in many cases – especially when you take a look at the so-called DIN, the Deutsche Institut für Normung (German Institute for Standardization). This institute might be as German as Bratwurst and Sauerkraut. But besides confirming a cliché, it also makes the country and especially its economy work like a well-oiled machine.

The Origins of the DIN

It all began in times of war: When the German Reich was participating in World War I, every capacity of German industry was used for producing the goods they needed for the battles, especially shells, products of armor and machinery. For that purpose, factories in every part of the Reich had to contribute their parts. When they later have been assembled, they often just didn’t fit. That is why there was the need to standardize those goods – the so-called Deutsche Industrie-Norm (German industry norm) was born. The first step was to create production standards for heavy machines – they consist of uncountable different and sometimes even tiny parts, a proper fitting was, therefore, obligatory. The first part to be standardized was thus the taper pin, many other followed.

The war ended, and the German Kaiserreich stopped to exist, but the DIN was still alive and gained more and more importance. In the year 1920, the Deutsche Industrie-Normen became a voluntary association, and in the following years, it published those norms that are not only still in use, but the best known until today, for example, the DIN 476 that defines the different sizes of paper. It is not only used today (for example as size A4) but was also taken over by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to an international norm. Another popular standard was established in that time, the DIN 1451 that is still defining the letters of traffic signs in Germany. 

The Principles and Importance of the DIN in Germany

Soon, not only industrial goods were standardized by the DIN, but also other products of daily use. In the 1970s, the foundation even signed a treaty with the German government that proves that the DIN will be consulted in every matter of standardization of public goods and also that it will represent Germany in international affairs of standardization. Today, the DIN-norm (DIN 820) even defines the fundamental principles of the DIN: It says, for example, that norms are made for the public and not for the benefits of single companies and also that they are made to improve every part of life.

For that purpose, everybody can ask for a norm for something by just addressing the DIN and explaining the reasons why standardization would be necessary in this particular case. After publishing, they become a kind of recommendation towards industry, manufacturers, distributors and the customers: Nobody should be forced to follow the norm, but most of the affected persons and companies would normally do – it just makes things much easier. But in some cases, the German government even takes advantage of the DIN’s work by referring to their norms when passing new laws. Then, the norms become obligatory. So appreciate the work of this German institution when writing on a sheet of A4 paper the next time.

German Technology - The DIN Norm
german industry

8 German Start-ups to watch this year

German Start-ups
© pixabay

Since the beginning of the European debt crisis the continent has been undergoing a start-up revolution. And with its economy steadily expanding, Germany has been leading the way in it. As a generation of young, business-minded creatives come of age they are in the lookout for cities with low costs and diverse workforces.

Since the beginning of the crisis, the German capital proved ideal for young entrepreneurs. Attracting young graduates and professionals from across the world, Germany’s start-up scene is on its way to rivalling London and New York.

German start-up scene 

According to a survey by the Deutsche Startup Monitor, over half of German start-ups reported their operations to be good or satisfactory. We believe that the following companies are set to establish themselves as major players in the German start-up scene.

  •  Movago

Founded in August 2015, Movago is based in Berlin. The professional moving platform managed to raise an astounding Million EUR and facilitated over 2,000 moves in just three months. Using a sophisticated self-learning routing algorithm and standardized fixed prices Movago offers to companies, a cost-effective and free way of moving their operations.The company now operates in over seven European countries, and looks set to roll out even further.

  •  Juniqe

“Making great art affordable to all” is the motto of Berlin-based Juniqe. The company, established in 2014 by founders Lea Lange, Mark Pohl and Sebastian Hasebrink, works with artists from across the world to show and promote the best paintings and photographs as prints on products such as paper, mugs and clothes. Juniqe have been supported along the way by local business angels, and managed to raise over 3.2million in Venture Capital.

  •  HomeToGo

Travel accommodation provider HomeToGo has started out in 2015 and has managed to raise well over 8 million from investors. The company has a search engine for people looking to book apartments and holiday homes internationally and recently announced plans for rapid expansion, including a move into the U.S market.

  •  Spotcap

Spotcap lends its expertise to small businesses by granting them short-term loans and credit. This yet another Berlin-based company that has gone international having offices in Spain, the Netherlands and Australia.

  •  Marley Spoon

Cooking start-up Marley Spoon started in 2014. It dedicates itself to providing innovative recipes, cooked with local, fresh ingredients. The company whips up recipes every week. Upon selection sends, each customer receives a box full of instructions and the needed ingredients. Since their inception, they have achieved massive mainstream success – 10.3 million.

  •  Dubsmash

Entertainment app Dubsmash is a start-up created purely for the millennials. It allows users to record selfie videos of themselves, and overlay them with music and voiceovers from popular culture. The Berlin-based company has raised over 5 million in capital, and has taken Germany by storm

  •  Movinga

Offering customers up to 70% discount, Movinga provides a cheap moving service renters and businesses. With the cooperation of business moguls and investors, the company raised 32.8 million in 2015. Based in Berlin, they now also operate in the UK, Sweden and Italy, to name just a few countries.

  •  Zeotap

Data analyst Zeotap announced 6.4 million in venture capital funding in August 2015. The company offers telecommunication companies different ways to monetize their data. Its senior team has worked at high profile companies such as Vodafone, IBM and Fyber.

German Start-ups
german industry

German Automobile Industry Giant BMW Celebrates 100 Years

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Driving into the Future

Iconic German automobile manufacturer BMW celebrated its 100 year anniversary on March 7th. For one day, the company halted production throughout their 30 international plants, and invited their workers – all 116,000 of them – to join them in toasting a century of success.

BMW bosses took full advantage of the occasion, and unveiled their vision of the ‘car of the future’ – a hyper-modern super vehicle that includes, among many hi-tech features, a self-driving facility and a digital driving companion that has the ability to predict the driver’s thoughts.

It’s the newest innovation of a company that has constantly sought to develop bigger and better ideas. CEO Harald Krüger predicts at least a 20 year wait before the first models come out but used the unveiling to highlight BMW’s innate ability to adapt to changes in the market and society.

The Company’s Nazi Past

Today, BMW is an iconic German brand that enjoys a solid reputation both at home and abroad. Their stats are impressive; steady sales of over 2 million cars a year, sales of over 88 billion EUR per annum, and having overtaken Mercedes-Benz as the world’s leading luxury brand in.

Despite the recent economic slump in China, and stiff competition from other high-end car manufacturers, the company has been holding steady and maintaining growth against the odds for years, leading The Economist to dub them “a benchmark for success in the German automobile industry”.

However, BMW’s route to success wasn’t always so smooth. The company started out in 1916 as the Bayerische Motoren Werke – that’s Bavarian Engine Manufacturers, FYI – and worked solely on producing aircraft engines. They launched their first motorbikes soon after, and in 1928 their first car, the Dixi 3/15, hit the market.

Following the years of the Great War and World War Two, BMW shifted its focus to producing engines for the Luftwaffe. Its owner Günter Quandt was a member of the Nazi party and enjoyed very close ties with those at the top. His business empire exploited over 50,000 forced laborers, many of them forced in concentration camp. 25,000 of them were “employed” at various BMW plants, one of which was situated in close proximity to the notorious Dachau camp.

Until recent years the company was reluctant to admit its ties to the Nazi party, and refused to accept responsibility for harm caused or donate money to survivors.

However, the Quandt family, who still own the company, commissioned a study that dug into their shady past. In 2011, they admitted their Nazi past, apologized and paid their dues.

A Steady rise ever Since

After the war, things looked shaky for BMW when the decline in motorbike sales and stiff competition from mass-market car producers threatened to lead to a takeover by Daimler. Fortunately Herbert Quandt pushed the company to make mid-range cars (such as the BMW 1500 in 1959) and pulled the company back from the brink.

Since then, BMW’s only major fault was their disastrous acquisition of the Rover Group in 1994. After trying to resuscitate the ailing British company for six years, they finally admitted defeat in 2000 and sold off most of the group, keeping only the Mini, which went on to achieve huge mass-market success. The company rebuilt itself again, and has been doing big business since current CEO Norman Reithofer and his “number one” strategy put them back on the map for good.

Experts worry that the company could be facing hard times as their stream of ideas, slows to a trickle. Competitors such as Mercedes, Jaguar, and Volvo are upping their game in a bid to corner a larger share of the luxury market, and typical mass market brands such as Citroen and Ford have been experimenting with premium auto production with varying levels of success.