International consulting and project management company Drees & Sommer continued its growth trajectory of the past decades in fiscal 2017. Consolidated sales rose from EUR 334.8 million in 2016 to EUR 380.1 million in 2017. Profits were also up again, at EUR 45.0 million. The equity ratio was 36.0 percent. As well as being the market leader for project and construction management in Germany and Switzerland, the partner-led company is now one of the leading real estate consulting companies in Europe, especially in facility management consulting and in the user experience (UX) area.
Combining Extensive Professional Expertise and Process Knowledge with Innovative Methods
Steffen Szeidl, Member of the Executive Board of Drees & Sommer SE, explained what has proved of particular value to the company: ‘All our projects involve the use of our extensive professional expertise and process knowledge, which we have built up over almost five decades. We combine our range of services with innovative methods and digital processes. These include the digital planning method BIM and the modularization of construction components associated with it, as well as digitization strategies for smart commercial buildings and the consistent application of lean construction management during the construction process. In our work, we always focus on ensuring that our clients gain added value in terms of efficiency, costs or returns.’
Mergers and Acquisitions Contributing to Growth
Much of the international growth resulted from the expansion of the Group’s locations in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This was partly achieved by mergers and acquisitions.
These included Reso Partners AG, a Swiss real estate and facility management consulting and services company; and Procore Netherlands and United Kingdom, experts in working environments and real estate strategies. Further international expansion is planned for 2018, concentrating on the European markets. In Germany, Drees & Sommer has expanded its range of services for the automotive industry by acquiring a 100 percent stake in dsa-engineering GmbH, which specializes in factory planning in relation to production plants and buildings.
Outlook for 2018: Advancing New Digital Business Models
Drees & Sommer has been offering an automated yet informative preliminary assessment of real estate online with its Asset Check tool in partnership with bulwiengesa since 2017. In 2018, Drees & Sommer launched Building Material Scout, the first web-based platform for sustainable and healthy building products and materials. Information on the materials and ingredients used in more than 10,600 products is currently available. Steffen Szeidl commented: ‘Like Asset Check, Building Material Scout is another element of our strategy to become the leading provider of digital business models for real estate by providing client-oriented solutions.’
Another key component of Drees & Sommer’s digital roadmap is to step up its collaboration with promising startups. These already include more than 15 companies focusing on areas such as measurement and visualization of building interiors, providing solutions for digital operation of buildings, or using artificial intelligence to analyze databases and documents.
Ensuring Successful Realization of Construction Projects
Despite the encouraging developments, current market limitations present a challenge. In 2017, these became more apparent than ever. The lack of construction capacity has increasingly become an obstacle to making builders’ property dreams a reality. The trend in construction prices also remains a critical factor. To counteract these trends, Drees & Sommer has developed a strategic procurement process for substantial and large construction projects. Dierk Mutschler, Member of the Executive Board of Drees & Sommer SE, explained: ‘In this process, we create a new product by combining at an early stage our market knowledge of construction prices, building processes, company capacity, and tendering approaches with the procurement expertise of professionals in large industrial companies.’ He believes the company is well prepared for the future: ‘We are optimistic. With our new products and innovative solutions, in the coming years we are sure to consolidate our pioneering role as an innovation leader and driver of digital transformation in the market.’