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The international Häfele Group for hardware technology and electronic access control systems also remained on course for growth in 2014. The company group achieved revenue of 1.144 billion Euros (2013: 1.071 billion). This represents an increase of 7 % compared to the previous year.
The company management reports that international markets in particular have made a significant contribution to this growth, because Häfele now generates 77 % of its revenue there. Growth in the USA has been developing at an outstanding rate for the past three years. There has been a slight drop in the excellent growth seen in Asia and the Pacific region, however, these regions continue to drive the company’s growth, just like the Gulf region. Western Europe has also generated an increased rate of growth again. The Häfele subsidiary in Great Britain particularly enjoyed great success. The overall performance saw the parent company in Germany achieve a growth of 6% whilst the international subsidiaries grew by 8%.
The company management of the Häfele Group considers the combined results from the last five years to be a remarkable success story for the Group. “Since the year of the crisis in 2009 we have been able to increase our revenue by more than 50 % thanks to the tremendous efforts and commitment shown by our employees both in Germany and on an international scale. Thousands of employees across the globe carry the Häfele family spirit with them in their hearts and are incredibly devoted to meeting our customers’ every wish. So much so that they always want to be just that bit better!” explains Sibylle Thierer, Managing Director, who took over management of the family-owned company rich in tradition in 2004 and now represents the 3rd generation.
The products and services of Häfele are used by the world’s leading furniture manufacturers, architects and planners, joiners/cabinet makers and trade. The number of employees working for Häfele around the world in 2014 has risen by 300 to a total of 6,900, of which 1,600 are employed in Germany.
Häfele is represented in over 150 countries throughout the world and has independent sales subsidiaries in 37 countries. With 23 sales subsidiaries operating for 15 years or more, the philosophy of staying in close contact with customers, which Häfele has lived by for many decades, enables the company to produce a range of products and services which are all tailored to their customers’ needs whilst also offering a different range of products in the USA than in Australia, Japan or Western Europe for example. This makes it possible to develop customized ranges which are then manufactured in one of the company’s six production facilities or in line with the “Häfele German Quality standards” at one of the locations of their 1,500 partners spread around the globe.
International own house assortments, such as the electronic access control system Dialock, which is used to open doors in global hotel chains as well as in small family-operated hotels, or Loox LED lighting, which is used in many kitchens and furniture pieces, make a considerable contribution to provide more convenience and luxury in buildings and furniture. According to Sibylle Thierer these own house assortments represent the dynamic innovative capability which the company has to offer. She has the following explanation of the family enterprise’s motto, “Our claim is ‘Thinking ahead’, which means that we must already be thinking about what our customers will need in future, today”.
There is also a firm focus on networking and the sustainability of the company. Häfele has invested 33 million Euros in markets, logistics and production last year. One of their strategies was to introduce the new SAP software which will greatly enhance the networking capabilities of the branches throughout the world. The roll-out of standardized processes and the communication between the companies is now set to be stepped up. The extensive and complex introduction of the SAP software for the parent company in Nagold at the turn of the year was the biggest challenge in the company’s recent history as all of the subsidiaries were affected by the changes. 20 subsidiaries from around the world, the Headquarters in Nagold, the logistics centre located in the Wolfsberg industrial park in Nagold, the packaging service and all German and global sales offices have been working with SAP since the start of January 2015. “I think it’s particularly important to mention that our customers have not been greatly impacted whilst making these changes due to the tremendous commitment shown by our employees,” explains Sibylle Thierer who is full of praise for her employees. With this new roll-out, the company is preparing itself for more growth in the coming years.
Due to the investments over the past years and exemplary logistics expertise, the Nagold-based distribution centre in the Wolfsberg industrial park, the international hub for furniture and hardware fittings, is now kitted out and ready for a growing number of assignments in the future. An average of 4,700 deliveries a day incorporating 25,000 items are sent on their way to customers all over the world from the centre. The volume of packages being shipped has seen an increase of 70 % over the past ten years and there seems to be no stopping this rate of growth.
Häfele is very optimistic about the year ahead and sees excellent opportunities to continue its growth on an international scale in 2015 due to its major investments in global standardized IT, in markets, logistics, production and services. The company expects to see a mid-single digit increase in revenue. The amount of investment of the Group for the coming year will be approximately 30 million Euros. Risks continue to be seen in the volatile foreign exchange markets and a flexible and careful approach will be needed, as was also the case in 2014, in order to react to any developments if required.