Despite varying developments in different market regions, the Blum Group increased its turnover in the 2014/2015 financial year, thanks to product innovations, international market presence, consistent investments and the high degree of flexibility by the staff. The family-owned fittings firm posted an 8% growth in turnover compared to last year.

Thanks to innovative products, international market presence, consistent investments and the company’s flexible employees, the company, based in Hoechst, Austria, grew sales by 8% in comparison to the previous year and recorded in excess of €1.555m in turnover. 50% of the turnover was generated in the EU area, 15% in the USA.

Markets fared differently
Most of Western Europe recorded a positive growth in the last financial year. The fittings manufacturer is also pleased with the development of sales in Eastern Europe. Significant losses were, however, recorded in Russia and Ukraine due to the impact of the conflict there. Business continued to be good in North America, whereas the economic situation in South America was characterised by ups and downs. Most markets in Asia Pacific continued to record a positive development.

Employees – the key to success
“Our success is not only due to our product innovations but mainly due to the flexibility of our employees and the good co-operation between departments,” says managing director Gerhard E Blum.

On average, the Blum Group employed 6515 people worldwide, a growth of 328 from last year. 82 new apprentices will start a technical course of training with Blum Austria this September resulting in a total of 298 trainees serving an apprenticeship with the Blum Group.

Investments during the 2014/2015 financial year
Investments by the Blum Group totalled more than €171m in the 2014/2015 business year. In Austria, a new high bay warehouse was put into operation at Plant 2 in Hoechst. Construction work was started on an extension to Plant 4 in Bregenz, Austria to increase production and warehousing capacities.

Blum will have doubled the capacity of its vocational training centre in Dornbirn, Austria by the time the company takes on its new apprentices in September.

Blum set the course for its future corporate development by buying a 40,000 sq m plot of land in Dornbirn, near to Plant 7. Construction will begin for a new stamping centre in the autumn.

Blum also invested in its locations worldwide. Production and warehousing facilities were expanded in Poland, and an extension to offices and warehousing area was completed in Russia. Warehousing capacities are currently being increased in Brazil, and construction work was started on a new central warehouse in Shanghai, China.

New products and services
Blum continued to pursue its strategic goals and carried out intensive activities to develop new products and services in the 2014/2015 financial year.

The company has, for example, picked up the latest design trend – handle-less, touch-to-open frontals for kitchens and furniture throughout the home – and offers well thought-out and consistent solutions in all product groups to support the trend.

This applies to box systems, runner systems for wooden drawers and to lift and hinge systems. Blum’s latest motion technology, Tip-On Blumotion, combines mechanical one-touch opening with soft and effortless closing. It was presented at Interzum in Cologne this year and was very well received by visitors.

The company’s product offering is rounded off by various services, such as the Online Product Configurator which helps users quickly find the right fittings, and a new mobile app that helps manufacturers and fitters with dimensioning and the adjustment of fittings. Marketing and logistics services are being extended on an ongoing basis.

Looking ahead to the 2015/2016 financial year
All forecasts must be seen in the context of the possibility of short-term changes in markets – a phenomenon the company has had to live with since the crisis of 2008. Unexpected events in financial markets or an escalation of the conflicts in familiar crisis areas can quickly lead to a new situation.

Nevertheless, the family-owned firm is convinced that its innovative products, international market presence and well-qualified and flexible employees will put it in a good position to continue this upward trend in the 2015/2016 financial year.

Facts and figures

  • Turnover worldwide - Over €1.555m (up 8%)
  • Distribution of turnover - EU 50%, USA 15%, other markets 35%
  • Employees - 6608 employees (up 251) 
  • Employees in Vorarlberg, Austria - 5012 employees (up 165)
  • Apprentices - 298 (14 of whom are with Blum USA); 82 new apprentices will join Blum in Vorarlberg on 1st September 2015
  • Investments - €171m (approximately €123m of which in Vorarlberg)