Hoechst, Austria | July 2019
Blum ends financial year with turnover increase of 48.72 million euros
Austrian manufacturer of fittings grows internationally
The Blum Group increased turnover by 2.6% in the 2018/2019 financial year. The fittings manufacturer from Vorarlberg, Austria owes its stable development to innovations, ongoing improvements to products and services, an ever-growing market presence and the commitment of its employees.
In comparison to the previous year, manufacturer of fittings, Blum was able to increase its turnover by 2.6% to 1,887.85 million euros, achieving positive results for the 2018/2019 financial year ended 30 June 2019. Blum achieves 48% of its turnover in the EU area and 15% in the USA. The fittings specialist delivers its products to more than 120 countries all over the world and is represented internationally by 31 subsidiaries and/or representative offices and agencies. The third generation has taken the helm of the family-owned company, and Gerhard E. Blum will now focus on the Blum Group Holding. For the newly formed Management Board consisting of Philipp Blum, Martin Blum, Urs Bolter and Gerhard Humpeler and the Corporate Management Group, the key to future success is working together in a close-knit network and consistently building on the strengths and competencies of employees.
Success through employees’ commitment
Managing Director Philipp Blum sees the people in the company as a key success factor: “Our employees all over the world are networked, highly motivated and work closely together across departments and national boundaries. They’re responsible for the positive development of our company,” he says, underlining the important role of the workforce. 7,983 persons worked worldwide for the fittings manufacturer on 30 June 2019. This is an increase of 372 employees in comparison to the previous year. In addition, 103 new apprentices (25 of whom are girls) will start a programme of vocational training with Blum on 1 September 2019. From autumn, Blum will be training 384 apprentices worldwide (363 of whom in Vorarlberg and 21 at Blum USA).
The market was rather subdued in Western Europe. However, the positive developments of the last few years have continued in Central and Eastern Europe. The European Union is important to the stability of Blum. It is where the fittings manufacturer from Hoechst achieves 48% of its turnover. Although the market continued to stagnate in South America, the 2018/2019 financial year was a good one for the long-established company in North America. Results were also satisfactory in the Asia Pacific region, where Blum achieved good growth in comparison to the previous year.
Investments and production plants
Investments of the Blum Group totalled 242 million euros in the 2018/2019 business year. The new Stamping Centre in Dornbirn has been completed, as has the extension to the plant in Bregenz. The next step will be to add a new 49,000 sq. metre (527,400 sq. ft) production bay to the plant in Bregenz. Construction work should be completed by the summer of 2021. Quite a substantial part of investments relates to the development of market organisations so that they can better serve customers on site. Blum USA, for example, will see an expansion of its Incoming Goods area, Dispatch area and high bay warehouse, and new premises will be built for Blum’s subsidiary in Canada. The project consists of a warehouse, offices and showroom. Construction work has also started on an extension to the administration building in Poland. The company has bought an additional plot of land close to its current premises in China, where Blum has been able to continuously increase its clientele over the last few years. Here, the manufacturer is planning to build local assembly facilities and an automated high bay warehouse over the next few years. “We are committed to maintaining our main production site in Vorarlberg, Austria. This is where we develop and optimise our products and manufacturing procedures in our eight plants. In addition, we establish production facilities in markets where there is sufficient demand for our products and where it is logistically sensible to do so. We set up a local production plant in the USA 40 years ago; we have a similar situation in China today,” says Managing Director Martin Blum, explaining the company’s approach.
Blum assesses its environmental impact and use of resources on an ongoing basis and strives to take measures to minimise its footprint. As a member of the Vorarlberg Alliance on Climate Neutrality, Blum seeks to promote sustainability and take action to protect our climate. For example, 75% of its waste heat is used to heat production bays and offices. Biomass (an environmentally-friendly source of energy) is being employed for the first time to heat Plant 8 in Dornbirn. Since 2018, 100 per cent of Blum’s energy has been generated from hydropower. Managing Director Martin Blum sums up the company’s efforts as follows: “For Blum, sustainability means wholeheartedly assuming responsibility for the environment and society. It means that we use renewable energy, reduce our CO2 emissions and offset any remaining or unavoidable carbon emissions.”
Products and services
The fittings specialist from Hoechst displayed numerous innovations at international trendsetting interzum in Cologne in May 2019. Blum presented its latest box system, MERIVOBOX for the first time at the trade show. The innovation complements Blum’s range of box systems and provides furniture manufacturers with an easy-to-assemble platform that offers great variety in design. In response to the positive feedback from customers, Blum will also implement pocket systems for closing off living areas and concealing large furniture fronts. The company again demonstrated its innovative drive with two concept studies: a concealed lift system and SERVO-DRIVE smart, a smart solution that causes furniture to open and close with simple voice commands. Blum also launched a new online platform called “Blum Inspirations”, where customers can discover inspiring ideas on how to create a higher quality of living with clever furniture solutions. “We develop innovative products to meet customers’ needs. Our wide range of services is designed to provide our customers with suitable support in this rapidly changing digital world. But it will always be important to maintain personal contact with our customers and partners,” explains Philipp Blum.
Looking ahead to the 2019/2020 financial year
The long-established company believes there is a great deal of uncertainty about future global economic development. “There are global signs of a slowdown in the dynamic growth of previous years,” comments Managing Director Philipp Blum. The fact that BREXIT has not yet been regulated has created a great deal of uncertainty in the EU, as has the reignited trade conflict between the USA and China. The economic situation in Turkey remains uncertain. Nevertheless, Blum will approach the new business year with restrained optimism and will focus on ongoing innovation, market development and close customer relationships.
Höchst, Austria | February 2019
Award winning product design by Blum
German Design Award and iF Design Award for stay lift and fixing system
International juries are often impressed by the design of Blum products and have frequently recognised their products with awards. The Austrian fittings specialist has now won the German Design Award for two of its latest products: EXPANDO T fixing mechanism and AVENTOS HK top stay lift. What is more, the stay lift has also won the iF Design Award.
Design plays an important role in the development of modern furniture fittings. On the one hand, well-thought-out solutions support design trends. On the other, they excel in their own right in terms of design and function. Austrian manufacturer of fittings, Blum, is pleased to announce that it has recently won another much sought-after award – for not just one, but two products. The company was presented with the German Design Award 2019 for EXPANDO T, its innovative fixing mechanism for thin fronts made of unusual materials and the AVENTOS HK top stay lift which is linear in design and small in size. What is more, Blum has also bagged the iF Design Award for its new lift system.
Focus on design quality
The German Design Award is presented by the German Design Council, which is based in Frankfurt am Main. The non-profit foundation strives to raise awareness about the importance of good product design and rewards innovative products and projects, manufacturers and designers who are pioneering in the German and international design landscape. The iF Design Award, which was first presented in 1954 by iF Industrie Forum Design e. V. in Hanover, rewards outstanding industrial design and aims to build a bridge between culture and commerce.
German Design Award 2019 for EXPANDOT, Blum’s new fixing mechanism for thin fronts made of unusual materials
Hoechst, Austria | July 2018
Blum increases turnover by 50 million euros in the 2017/2018 financial year
Austrian fittings manufacturer enjoys another year of growth
The Blum Group upped its turnover by 2.8 % in the 2017/2018 financial year thanks to products and services that are consistently geared to furniture manufacturers’ needs, international market presence and great flexibility on the part of employees. Growth amounted to 5 % adjusted for currency effects.
Manufacturer of fittings, Blum, increased its turnover by 2.8 % in comparison to the previous year and recorded 1,839.42 million euros in turnover in the business year ended 30 June 2018. Growth amounted to 5 % adjusted for currency effects. Blum achieved 48 % of its turnover in the EU area and 15 % in the USA. The fittings specialist delivers its products to more than 120 countries all over the world and is represented internationally by 30 subsidiaries and representative offices. It has been decided that the third generation will take the helm of Julius Blum GmbH on 1 July 2019.
Employees are the basis of our success
“Our success is mainly due to the high performance of our team worldwide and the excellent collaboration between all our departments and organisations,” says Managing Director Gerhard E. Blum, underlining the importance of employees to Blum. On average, the fittings manufacturer employed 7,509 persons worldwide, which is a growth of 368 employees in comparison to the previous year. In addition, 94 new apprentices (15 of whom girls) will start a technical course of training with Blum Austria on 1 September. The Blum Group will provide vocational training to 361 apprentices (19 of whom at Blum USA) as of autumn.
Different market developments
Most markets in Western Europe achieved an increase in turnover in the 2017/2018 financial year. The company benefited from continued recovery in South European markets and recorded ongoing positive developments in Eastern Europe. The upswing of the Russian market was very pleasing. The strength of the euro had a negative impact on sales in America, the Pacific region and in Asia over the last 12 months. This led to a decrease in turnover in North and South America, although the development was positive in the national currency. In Asia, above all in India, China and South East Asia, growth continued despite negative currency effects.
Regional and international investments
The first production hall of the new Stamping Centre (Plant 8) in Dornbirn was completed and employees started moving into the new premises before the start of the holiday shutdown. The high bay warehouse with 11,600 places will go into operation at the same time. The second production hall should be completed by April 2019. Employees will move into the new office building at Plant 2 in Hoechst from September to December 2018. A substantial amount is also invested in Blum’s market organisations to further improve the company’s offering worldwide. For example, a new high bay warehouse was put into operation in Poland, and a new showroom opened in Slovakia. The extension to the office building and warehouse in Portugal should be completed by September 2018. Investments of the Blum Group totalled 216 million euros in the 2017/2018 business year.
Environmental protection and careful use of resources
Blum attaches importance to environmental protection and careful use of resources. That is why the company has been investing in environmentally-friendly measures for decades. Since the start of 2018, 100 per cent of Blum’s energy has been generated from certified hydropower. With this measure the manufacturer of fittings intends to reduce its CO2 emissions in Austria by well over a third. Blum has teamed up with other companies in the province and is an active member of three environmental protection networks: Climate Neutral Alliance 2025, the Energy Efficiency Network and the “Wirtschaft Mobil” network. 13 electric cars are at employees’ disposal for business journeys in the region. Being one of the largest employers in the region, Blum supports its employees in using environmentally-friendly modes of transport. The company advertises and actively promotes ecological campaigns such as the “Radius - Bike to Work Competition” held throughout Vorarlberg.
Bespoke package of products and services
For Blum, the Eurocucina in Milan is a very important international trade show. It provides a yardstick to assess how well furniture manufacturers accept the company’s products. This year in Milan, customers displayed many new Blum products which the company had presented at trendsetting interzum in Cologne the previous year. These included Expando T, the unique fixing method for thin fronts of special materials which opens up completely new design horizons and the new Aventos HK top lift system. Customers also presented the multitude of differentiation options offered by Blum’s box systems. There is still a very strong trend towards handle-less designs which can be implemented with Blum’s wide range of motion technologies (both mechanical and electrical systems). All motion technologies are tailored optimally to every application. Blum again extended its offering of services in the last business year. In addition to products, services are an important part of Blum’s overall performance.
Change to corporate organisation
The transition to the next generation in Julius Blum GmbH will be initiated at the start of this financial year. Managing Directors Gerhard E. Blum, Philipp Blum and Martin Blum will jointly manage the company from 1 July 2018. They will be supported by longstanding employees Urs Bolter (Managing Director of Blum International Consulting) and Gerhard Humpeler (Head of Finance). The Management Team and the Corporate Management Group will gradually take over the responsibilities of Gerhard E. Blum as of the start of the 2018/2019 financial year. After the transition on 1 July 2019, Gerhard E. and his brother Herbert Blum will continue to jointly manage the holding company of the Blum Group.
Forecast for the 2018/2019 business year
“We will approach the new business year with restrained optimism. There are many question marks and there is a great deal of uncertainty about future developments. On the one hand, the Brexit process in Europe has still not been clarified and it is uncertain what direction the EU should take. On the other hand, we are deeply concerned about growing national interests, e.g. the mutual imposition of tariffs and an escalation of economic sanctions,” says Gerhard E. Blum, providing a prudent forecast of the forthcoming financial year.
Facts and figures as of 30/06/2018
Turnover worldwide: 1,839.42 million euros (+ 2.8 % on previous year)
Distribution of turnover: EU 48%, USA 15 %, other markets 37 %
Employees worldwide (as of 30 June 2018): 7611 employees (+ 324 on previous year)
Employees in Vorarlberg (as of 30 June 2018): 5769 employees (+ 239 on previous year)
Apprentices with the Group (as of September 2018): 361 (19 of whom at Blum USA); 94 new apprentices (15 of whom girls) will join Blum Vorarlberg and 6 new apprentices will join Blum USA on 1 September 2018
Investments: 216 million euros (182.5 million euros of which in Vorarlberg)
Hoechst, Austria | June 2017
Blum wins Global Player Award
Austria’s export prize is awarded by a prominent jury every year. Fittings Manufacturer Blum from Hoechst had the honour of receiving the Global Player Award at the 23rd Awards Ceremony in Vienna.
“We’ve been building our presence in markets all over the world for more than five decades so internationalisation is firmly rooted throughout our company,” said Managing Director Gerhard E. Blum, explaining the company’s exporting history. Speaking at the ceremony he went on to say that the key to success in global markets was the ability to be open to different mentalities and consequently to acknowledge and respect different cultures. But he also pointed out that the second strategic pillar to success was innovative products combined with high investments in R & D and the capacity to adapt products to specific national requirements. This required profound knowledge of customer needs and international markets.
Award for strong international position
Blum’s management recognised early on that it would have to focus on exporting products to achieve sustainable success. Today, Blum exports 97% of its products to more than 120 countries around the globe. The fittings specialist from Hoechst is represented all over the world with 29 subsidiaries and/or agencies in the four corners of the earth. These were the factors that weighed strongly in Blum’s favour. The company was presented with the Global Player Award by the Austrian Chamber of Commerce on 26 June. The award is given to companies that have built up a strong position on the global market over the years. In addition, the award winner must operate an efficient international network and even be regarded as a pioneer in a specific country or industry. Candidates are nominated by Austria’s Foreign Trade Office. The jury consists of prominent members and is chaired by President of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce Christoph Leitl.