"We are aware of our responsibility"

Rosenbauer International AG based in Upper Austria is one of the internationally leading manufacturers of fire-fighting equipment. When its German subsidiary was involved in antitrust proceedings in 2011, the Rosenbauer Group had a veritable problem. The management took decisive action to solve this problem and intensively focused on regulatory compliance. Two years later, the compliance management system of Rosenbauer was certified according to the new ONR 192050. Dr. Wolfgang Stroh, Compliance Manager of Rosenbauer, talks about his experiences.

Municipal vehicle
Photo: Rosenbauer

The figures speak for themselves: Sales of EUR 645 million and an increase by 19 per cent against the previous year – that is the balance of 2012. In the current business year, the fire-fighter supplier from Leonding in Upper Austria wants to exceed the turnover mark of 700 million. Business goes well, and Rosenbauer grows. At Leonding, production facilities are being expanded and manufacturing and service organizations are planned to be set up in Saudi Arabia. The company's staff totals almost 2,500 employees.  

"Growth and rising sales, of course, also result in more responsibility," knows Wolfgang Stroh who is in charge of ensuring compliance with legal requirements and codes by Rosenbauer. However, compliance is not limited to those issues. Within the framework of corporate governance, it also serves to promote good governance. Rosenbauer deals with this topic in an open manner – which may be due to the experiences made by the enterprise. For Wolfgang Stroh who also contributed to the development of the document on compliance management systems in Committee 265 of Austrian Standards, this is not surprising: "Experience shows that wherever there was a concrete incident it is much easier to introduce a compliance management system than elsewhere. The employees are aware of what is at stake and can better understand the purpose of the changes required.“

Evidence of reliability

Dr. Wolfgang Stroh

Rosenbauer has learned its lesson well and thoroughly. After the antitrust proceedings in Germany, Rosenbauer employees were increasingly asked to demonstrate compliance – in procurement procedures, too. For example, Berlin's fire-fighters demanded comprehensive declarations before they were again ready to negotiate with the Austrian supplier. "We have understood the concerns of our customers and therefore realized our responsibility to demonstrate that we are reliable business partners," explains Compliance Manager Stroh. "The first step was to set up our compliance management system that we subsequently adjusted to ONR 192050. And it was also a matter of course to demonstrate the system's conformity by a certificate.“  

ONR 192050 - a milestone

An existing German standard was not suitable for Rosenbauer. Defining a procedure purely based on checklists and no substance-related requirements, it was geared to major enterprises having more than 5,000 employees. "The Austrian ONR was appreciated as a milestone in Germany as well," explains Dr. Peter Jonas who is in charge of certifications at Austrian Standards. "We check whether the compliance management system is in conformity with the normative requirements and to which extent the specifications are applied in practice by the management and employees. The core element of the certification procedure is an audit performed by lawyers and chartered accountants with ample experience in the field of compliance. In the audit, documents are examined - of course, in strict confidence - and random checks are performed. And you can be sure that the auditors know what to watch out for.“

Standards as a basis of success

Airport vehicle
Photo: Rosenbauer

By successfully completing the certification process according to the ONR on compliance management systems, Rosenbauer International AG again demonstrated that the enterprise actively solves problems and fulfils its responsibility to customers and other stakeholders. Once more, standards contributed to building trust in order to lay the foundations for co-operation. Rosenbauer has long been aware of how important standards are. The fire-fighter supplier has already been a member of the association Austrian Standards Institute since 1948 (!) and numerous Rosenbauer experts are also actively involved in the (further) development of standards - not least because "you stay abreast of new trends and you can actively contribute to shaping those things that are relevant for you," believes Wolfgang Stroh.

Rosenbauer is also highly familiar with the application of standards. Twenty years ago, the enterprise was already certified according to the quality management standard ISO 9001 and, in the course of the years, it also obtained certificates according to ISO 14001 (environmental management), OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety) as well as ISO 50001 (energy management). Being active in an international market that is strongly driven by standards, the fire-fighter supplier Rosenbauer has a natural interest in standards. "Not only Austrian standards are relevant for our products. In our business with other European countries as well as Asia and America, we have to comply above all with ISO standards, but also German DIN standards and the fire protection regulations of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the USA,“ declares Wolfgang Stroh.

Thus, the success story of Rosenbauer International AG can also be described as a success of standardization. Building on the standards that are required for manufacturing first-class products, this solid basis is further strengthened by standards governing different areas of management. Finally, good governance rules and compliance management help to safeguard success in business in the long term.

Rosenbauer International AG is one of the internationally leading manufacturers of fire-fighting equipement. For more than 145 years, the enterprise based in Leonding (Upper Austria) develops special vehicles and systems for fire and disaster protection. Its portfolio includes municipal fire engines, aerial ladders, hydraulic platforms, airport, industry and special vehicles, fire-fighter equipment, fire-fighting systems and telematic vehicle management solutions. The products meet the requirements of Austrian, European and US standards. Rosenbauer is present in more than in 100 countires and generated sales of EUR 645 million group-wide in 2012.

Author: Herbert Hirner

PR ID: 0660-2013-08-05 / compliance_rosenbauer