What opportunities does Chat GPT offer for your own company? What can digital assistance systems do? And why is sustainability more than just environmental protection?
These and many other questions were the focus of the "Business & Science Forum" hosted by Roth Industries together with RKW Hessen. Under the heading "Sustainability and AI - Opportunities for SMEs", there was food for thought from business practice and scientific research.
The RKW Hessen is an independent consulting and further education organisation of the State of Hesse supported by companies and business organisations and, as a "medium-sized business booster", is particularly dedicated to start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises. For the second time since 2015, RKW held its annual conference in cooperation with the "Forum for Business & Science" of Roth Industries, this year on the topic of "Sustainability and Artificial Intelligence".
RKW Hessen has been associated with the Roth company for many years, not least through the CEO of Roth Industries, Matthias Donges, who is a board member in the state organisation. He welcomed the 130 or so visitors to the "Manfred Roth Atrium", the headquarters of the Central Hessian manufacturer of energy and sanitary systems, and in his talk went into the various dimensions of sustainability at Roth companies. Last year, for example, Roth was named a finalist in the "Hessen Champions" in the "Job Motor" category for its commitment to training and job creation. The company's "Top Climate Commitment", which has been EMAS-certified since 2012 and can boast climate-neutral production sites, is also considered exemplary. For more than 75 years and also in the future, Roth has invested in its workforce, its products, in processes and in partnerships - for example with the "Hinterländer Werkstätten", a facility for people with disabilities.
"We work here in the region with the people and for the people, out of our corporate responsibility," emphasised Manfred Roth, whose three children today carry on the company legacy in the management of Roth Industries.
The path to a sustainability report
Oliver Conz, State Secretary in the Hessian Ministry for the Environment, Climate Protection, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, had previously opened the annual conference of RKW Hessen with a welcoming address. "The topics of sustainable business, digitalisation and subsequently also AI are important starting points," emphasised the State Secretary, "and we are very pleased to be here today with such a traditional and innovative company to jointly promote these topics.
Sascha Allissat, responsible for product technology and development in the Roth management, explained to the audience the path of Roth Werke towards a sustainability report. He did not omit the difficulties and obstacles, but nevertheless drew a positive conclusion of the process: "Just start - it's worth it!
Contributions from business and science
Speakers from business practice as well as from scientific institutions gave the guests of the annual conference insights into future technologies and their potential benefits in everyday business. For example, Laura Radermacher, Birkhoven GmbH, reported on the fine line between sustainability communication and supposed "greenwashing". Patrick Merke, head of the frankfurter akademie für neue arbeitskultur und neue führung (Frankfurt academy for new work culture and leadership), addressed the opportunities that Chat GPT can offer for leadership, among other things. Karl-Heinz Förderer from PSI Technics GmbH in Winningen presented digital assistance systems such as "Emma" for companies, while Christian Bulka from WIANCO OTT Robotics GmbH in Darmstadt highlighted the opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises under the heading "AI Konkret".
Sascha Gutzeit, Managing Director of RKW Hessen, emphasised: "The clever linking of AI and sustainability opens up competitive advantages for small and medium-sized enterprises in particular - for example through AI-supported resource planning, energy management or even supply chain optimisation, which lead to improved efficiency and a reduced ecological footprint."
Sustainability has been an integral part of Roth's business practice for many years.
After the conference, there was ample opportunity for exchange and networking. There was also strong demand for the plant tours offered by plant managers and business managers of the Roth plants - here, too, the focus was specifically on sustainability and environmental protection in the products of the Roth companies as well as in their manufacture.
"We don't pay lip service to sustainability, but have been living our corporate practice and entrepreneurial conviction for many years and decades," Christin Roth-Jäger, Managing Partner of Roth Werke, also emphasised "we are very pleased to be able to underline this claim as the host of this high-profile and forward-looking event."