“We have to integrate industry more into people's lives, socially and politically.”
These were the words of Hans Bühler's father, Dr. Max Bühler, in an address delivered to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. It is easy to see a connection between this visionary statement from 1972 and today's “We care for people”, the Optima Group's core promise.
Yes, Optima cares – not just about its own success, but also about society as a whole. This can be seen in many of Optima's activities. For example, when Optima invites state parliamentary candidates from different parties to participate in discussions to exchange ideas. The team planning the new, state-of-the-art logistics center, came up with effective work processes but did not forget to include a flower meadow during the extensive planning process, something that will delight bees and many other insects. More information on sustainability can be found here.
The company's vision of itself as an active member of society includes the annual targeted support of more than 100 initiatives, organizations, and associations – an act aimed at strengthening the “we”, whether in social, medical, cultural, or athletic terms. Optima has established long-standing partnerships with some of these organizations. When it comes to long-term objectives, continuity is now more important than ever. In some situations, however, only spontaneous and courageous action counts.
May 29, 2016: Storm Elvira hit the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg with torrential rain. There, in the small town of Braunsbach, two streams transformed into raging rivers, burst their banks, and merged to form a huge surge that flooded the entire town. Cars were swept away, trees uprooted and many houses destroyed. In the end, they were left with an avalanche of debris and a desolate scene that shocked even the most experienced disaster relief workers.
At Optima in nearby Schwäbisch Hall, everyone was affected by the news. Many employees were eager to lend a hand on site – and the company's management supported this desire to the best of its ability. It granted volunteers the opportunity to take time off work, provided equipment and tools from the Optima warehouse, and procured urgently needed materials at short notice. However, it did not stop there – in addition, a fundraising campaign was launched. Employees donated money and Optima quickly matched the amount – and 65,000 Euros was raised in a short amount of time! This was a welcome contribution for a town that had to start all over again after such a major natural disaster.
The immediate consequences of the war in Ukraine are devastating and have brought unspeakable suffering. Millions are on the run and need help in many ways. A straightforward and practical form of support is to provide backpacks filled with much needed items: Everyday essentials. Over 500 backpacks have reached people in need at the Polish border and in Ukraine.
Acting quickly and with a minimum of red tape in emergency situations is one aspect of social commitment. However, if you want to make a difference in the long term, it is essential to provide lasting support.
For this reason, the Schwäbisch Hall Community Foundation can now look forward to Optima's annual participation for the 20th time. This creates a scope for actions and many opportunities to provide help and support. The charitable institution primarily supports young people in emergency situations by providing financial resources and individual support.
Optima employees are also personally involved and participate in the “Christmas in a shoe box” campaign. During a “packing party” in the Optima canteen, the boxes are filled with both fun and useful items and then sent to children in need, mainly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Active worldwide, Doctors Without Borders is the largest independent organization for emergency medical aid in areas of conflict and war zones. Optima has consistently supported their extremely important work with a five-figure sum every year since the late 90s.
However, money is not always the most important factor: For the DKMS (German Bone Marrow Donor Center) Tübingen, which is dedicated to fighting blood cancer, Optima organized matching campaigns to find potential donors in the company. This has already led to several bone marrow donations that helped save lives.
Community life has many different facets. Culture and sport are two particularly important ones; after all, people are not just “homo economicus,” acting or thinking economically and rationally at all times. Especially at sporting and cultural events, people feel they are part of a larger whole and enjoy a sense of “we”.
Therefore, Optima enthusiastically supports the Unicorns. Founded in 1983 as a division of the TSG Schwäbisch Hall e. V., this team is among the pioneers in the world of German soccer. Their achievements are truly impressive. They are a five-time German champion, a four-time German runner-up, an eleven-time South German champion, and active players took part in one championship in the international CEFL. Likewise, the youth teams can be proud of their many titles and championships. After all, both the club and company agree, work with young people is the best way to ensure lasting success. By the way, the Unicorns play their home games at the Optima Sportpark – a sign of the enduring bond.
From the stadium to the heart of the city: When “Cyrano de Bergerac” fights his battles on the famous Grand Staircase in Schwäbisch Hall or “Nathan the Wise”, a German literature figure, speaks up for reason, freedom, humanity, and tolerance, they do so with the generous support of Optima.
One more topic should be mentioned, which Optima and especially Managing Director Hans Bühler are particularly fond of: the Robotics AG at schools in the Schwäbisch Hall district.
LEGO® Mindstorms building blocks are a fun way to spark a love for technology in children age eleven to fifteen. Students build robots and write simple programs to control them. Optima provides staff, supplies such as LEGO® kits and laptops, and training sessions for teachers. Optima considers the initiative a great way to support schools, which are often under a lot of pressure, as well as provide an important opportunity to get children and young people interested in a technical profession at an early age. After all, who's to say that one or two of the robotics students won't later want to deepen their knowledge and apply it on a much larger scale, not far from their old school?
Optima is pursuing similar goals with its “DO IT” event for young people. With expert support, young people develop programs to control motion detectors, alarm systems and LED displays, build 3D printers, and learn to work together on complex tasks.
Truly forward-looking projects and entirely in the spirit of “100 Years of Future”.