A business year mastered with team spirit
Awning manufacturer markilux is looking back on a successful year in 2021 because the manufacturer's products were once again in high demand. The company recorded an increase in turnover of around 17 million euros compared to the previous year in spite of the challenging situation in the market for raw materials and delays in the supply chain. Thanks to the trust and understanding on the part of markilux specialist dealers, however, the company managed to handle the situation well.
"2021 was once again a challenging, but also positive, year for markilux because we were able to increase our turnover again: from 122 million euros in 2020 to around 139 million euros," says a delighted Klaus Wuchner, Director of Sales and Marketing. There was an enormous increase in growth in the first few months of the year. But from the second quarter, the volume of new orders decreased somewhat. That was when customers were also starting to invest money in consumer goods and holidays again. "As a result, growth was not quite as strong as in the previous year. Nevertheless, we are extremely satisfied with the result," Mr Wuchner stresses.
Successful in spite of delays in the supply chain
Production at the awning factory was once again very demanding last year due to tension in the raw material markets and delays in the supply chain. This really put the Procurement Department in the company to the test because, as Mr Wuchner explains, the product mix of cassette awnings and pergola systems was still very much in demand in 2021. The new "pergola stretch" in particular has turned out to be a real hit. "It quickly won over our specialist dealers with its installation-friendly construction. And it even won two design prizes, one for its technology and one for its aesthetic appearance," he emphasises. So, in its first year, the sales figures exceeded all the company's expectations, in both the commercial and the private sectors.
Production required improvisation skills
According to Michael Gerling, Director of R&D and Production, the past year put great demands on the company's creative potential. He explains: "Due to material shortages, we had to improvise a lot. And that meant that alongside artificial intelligence, the company needed above all human intelligence." And it was not just Purchasing that had its hands full, but also the technical specialists in the awning factory, who were faced with the added complication of strict hygiene regulations. But, strong team spirit and good cooperation among the entire staff made it possible to deal with the situation professionally, along with the support of automated and digitalised processes that have become indispensable today - especially since, as Mr Gerling explains, the marked shortage in skilled workers is increasingly becoming a permanent challenge for the company.
Investments made in training and in digital tools
This is why, according to Heike Reinermann, Head of HR, the company has been concentrating for years now on training its own skilled workers well. Ms Reinermann stresses: "In 2021 we invested even more in training. And that was also the case for the introduction of new professions and special programmes for trainees and up-and-coming supervisors and managers." That is the only way to ensure the company's requirements in terms of skilled workers can be fulfilled. The integration of new employees is now very digitally orientated, through the use of webinars, e-learning and online meetings, as are many other processes within the company. This is something Christiane Berning, Head of the Marketing and Business Development Department, can confirm. "All things digital have become a fixed part of our everyday work. Such as our offer of online tools which is very helpful for communication with end consumers," she explains. This is why markilux launched a new version of its Augmented Reality App in 2021. The company also redesigned its own website to make it even more user-friendly and equipped their specialist dealers' websites with additional digital tools. Since then, specialist dealers have been able to enter their orders online.
Need for patience and understanding
Klaus Wuchner sets great store by investments in external communication and in collaboration with the company's specialist dealers. He explains: "Last year, we also did as much as we could to support our specialist dealers in their marketing and sales activities. Nevertheless, there were times when patience was of the essence." This was because delivery dates were delayed due to the pandemic, resulting in considerable pressure from end consumers. But trust and understanding from our specialist dealers made it possible for the year to end on a positive note on both sides. The willingness of the staff to react flexibly to the situation also contributed to this. "In 2021, the entire markilux team once more worked incredibly well together which brought in excellent results," says Mr Wuchner. This includes the success of the markilux Academy, which was also very well attended last year due to the large increase in the number of courses available on line.
Continuing the positive trend in 2022
Looking back, Klaus Wuchner and Michael Gerling, the two Directors, agree that the past two years have put the company to the test, but that it has become all the stronger for it. Nevertheless, owing to the political and economic situation, they are starting off the 2022 season with only cautious optimism. But, with further developments in markilux folding-arm awning and pergola systems, they hope to continue the positive trend as far as the sales figures are concerned. To pave the way for this, the company will be making considerable investments in Production, Sales and Marketing in 2022. And according to Christiane Berning, the company already has fantastic ideas for exclusive fabric patterns and materials in the pipeline for the new markilux collection that will be introduced in 2023.
For further information, please visit: markilux.com
An der Alten Ziegelei 34
Fon: +49 (0) 251-1347740
markilux stands for 'Design Made in Germany', innovative new products and excellent quality in the exterior solar protection sector. Since 1972 folding-arm awnings, conservatory awnings and vertical blinds have been produced at its manufacturing facility in Emsdetten, northern Germany. The high-quality products are distributed by professional partners in Germany and abroad. Selected companies assure the high qualitative standards during the assembly of the awnings.
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