November 2022
Christian Stolz, head of the research and development division at Janitza. (Photos: Ralf A. Niggemann)

Power to Change

At the company Janitza in Lahnau, digitization is effective on three levels: in their products, in their production, and in their processes. With overwhelming success.

It was in 2017 that we first wrote about visiting Janitza electronics in Lahnau. Since then, the company has grown enormously. A new building directly at the entrance to the town was inaugurated in 2020. By 2022, the number of employees has grown to over 300. The annual turnover has tripled within five years. Rather incredible, if one didn’t see it with one’s own eyes.

In the past, which in digital reckoning of time is not that long ago, there were many voices predicting that digitization would take place at the expense of many jobs. Christian Stolz was not among them and he can testify that it turned out differently. 19 years ago, he startet out at Janitza as a software developer. Today, he is head of the research and development division. “Digitization has progressed rapidly here in our company during the past years”, he relates with a winsome smile on his face: “In the same period, we recruited a lot of employees. In 2021 alone, almost 80 positions were filled. At the end of this year, the results will not be much different.”

Janitza has been developing measuring instruments and software for efficient energy management for decades. Faced with the latest eco-political and economic developments, energy management has involuntarily become the topic of the moment. The extensive product portfolio of the specialists from Lahnau is more in demand than ever because the innovative energy and power quality measurement technology supports both companies and local communities in reducing costs and enhancing the energy efficiency. Among them are energy supply companies, energy-intensive computer centers or plants in the heavy industry, medical centers or hotel compounds, industrial parks or residential areas. “Currently, we get so many inquiries that we don’t know at all how to manage all those commissions”, says Thomas Hilbig, head of the products and communication division. As long as orders are about standard products, processing them is more easily feasible. But Janitza has the aspiration to not only do consulting and deliver extremely sophisticated technical solutions but also to carry out implementing, instruction and training together with their customers. This is part of the systematic and methodical approach at Janitza’s.

Development of hardware and software at the headquarters in Lahnau

“We offer complete system solutions to our customers – from current transformers and measuring instruments to products for industrial data communication and IT solutions with corresponding databases down to data analysis and data evaluation”, explains managing director Markus Janitza. And here we are smack in the middle of the subject matter, digitization: “Our GridVis® software, the GridVis® Cloud, and the Janitza APPs are closely interconnected with the UMG meters. Hardware and software work hand in hand”, says Janitza. “What matters for the customers is that the handling of our communication architecture with its numerous interfaces and protocols is user-friendly and that data can be easily examined and evaluated.”

So in order for the measuring technology to work perfectly and for the customers to be able to readout data on their monitors and mobile terminals in a most convenient way, Janitza has continually expanded and upgraded their product development. “The vast majority of our measuring instruments is developed and produced here at our headquarters”, Christian Stolz points out. In the new building, about 80 employees are working nonstop on refining the hardware and software components. They make sure that all analogous and digital cogwheels engage with each other perfectly. The latest digital developments include a cloud platform providing an all-in-one solution for energy monitoring which can be controlled from all over the world and be expanded with Add-ons.

Digital products and efficient processes

Actually, there is no clear answer to the question if digitization propels the product range or vice versa – at best, it may be answered with a counter question: which is that of chicken and egg. For Christian Stolz and Thomas Hilbig, it is at any rate certain that both the developments in the range of products and the growing digitization will keep on changing the manner of working. Only recently, another ultramodern SMD assembly line was taken into operation in Janitza’s production line in order to lay the technological foundation for the future. To ensure electromagnetic compatibility of devices and plants, Janitza even treated themselves to their own in-house EMC system.

»Our growth is based to a large extent on the motivation and dedication of our teams.«

Markus Janitza

Needless to say that they won’t reveal what exactly is happening inside the open-space offices of the developer teams. Only that much: Who wouldn't like to work in a team which goes by the name “Power Rangers”? Not all of them are in the company that day, some of the employees are working remotely from their home offices – but the team spirit of the “Power Rangers” is not only a name on the door but permeates everything. Obviously, this is well received. “Our growth is based to a large extent on the motivation and dedication of our teams who occasionally surpass themselves”, Markus Janitza enthuses. And his company always needs more of it. More skilled professionals to reinforce the teams in Lahnau and in their subsidiaries in Austria and the USA. New structures to reproduce the global presence digitally as well. Efficient digital processes to interconnect the growing organization.

Successful recruiting and content employees

While many companies and industrial branches worry about a shortage of skilled workers, Janitza has been quite successful in finding qualified specialists. “That we are a modern enterprise which is handling both products and production as well as processes digitally appeals to many young people and entices them to send us their application”, Thomas Hilbig rejoices. And there are many indications that job applicants grow into extraordinarily content employees. On the employer review site kununu at any rate, the company comes off extremely well: with a score of 4.8 and a recommendation of 100 percent over the last two years. If this stays this way, there won’t be anything hindering Janitza’s further growth, at least with regards to personnel.

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