The fittings manufacturer Blum records record sales.

New sales record for Blum

The fittings manufacturer Blum records record sales.

The Höchst fittings specialist closes the 2021/22 financial year with an 11.2 percent increase in sales.

The past financial year was another good year for kitchen and furniture manufacturer Blum. “The homing trend, living and furnishing, was also very popular with consumers last year. The demand for fittings has leveled off at a stable high level,” says Philipp Blum, Managing Director of Julius Blum GmbH, about the developments the industry. The Vorarlberg family business achieved group sales of 2,643.65 million euros in the past financial year and increased sales by 266 million.

“We have another challenging financial year behind us due to the ongoing corona pandemic and the war in Ukraine. We are all the more pleased about the 11.2 percent increase in sales,” explains Philipp Blum. Against the background of these exceptional global situations, however, the results must be viewed differently. Raw material prices have increased many times over, as have transport costs. “This year’s sales growth is based in part on volume increases and on the other hand on price adjustments that we had to make due to the massive additional costs,” says the managing director. The family business also recorded an increase of 644 employees – worldwide, 9,422 employees work for Blum every day, 6,981 of them in Austria.

Development of international markets

In Western Europe the increase was again large, particularly in Italy, Germany and the UK, while in Eastern Europe political developments had a dampening effect on the markets. “Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine is causing unspeakable suffering to the people there and has left us stunned since February. This war in the middle of Europe is shaking internal peace and stability to its foundations. Even if our colleagues at the Ukrainian branch are doing well given the circumstances we are still worried,” reports Philipp Blum. The lockdown in Shanghai and other Chinese cities in spring 2022 has slowed growth in China: “Our customers there have been hit hard. Nevertheless, the sales market in Asia has developed well overall,” explains Philipp Blum. Business was also satisfactory in North and South America. However, the international transport routes presented the company with challenges. He explains: “These include upheavals caused by the Ukraine war, the global shortage of freight containers, trucks and drivers. The supply chain is still tense worldwide.” The company is satisfied with the order situation and remains cautiously optimistic about future developments. “It is gratifying that we have been able to significantly reduce the delivery times for many product groups in recent months through the expansion of our production capacities and the additional employees,” informs the managing director.

Investments by the Blum Group

Blum is strengthening its main location with investments in the plants in Bregenz, Höchst and Gaißau – a total of 224 million in Vorarlberg. “This is where we develop products and manufacturing processes, this is where most of our added value is created,” says Managing Director Martin Blum. He emphasizes: “In order to master the challenges in the global supply chain and to reduce the ecological footprint, we are expanding the global production network – in Europe and internationally.” A major milestone in this regard is the completion of the new plant in Shanghai. The first systems have already been relocated and Blum has been assembling hinges for the local market since the beginning of April. The fittings manufacturer will also have additional production space at its subsidiary in Poland from 2023. The total investment volume for the past financial year is 339 million. For Martin Blum, one of the most important investments is in skilled workers. “With 400 trainees worldwide, 363 of them in Vorarlberg, and the further training of our employees, we counteract the shortage of skilled workers.” Motivated, committed and qualified employees are one of the most important success factors for Blum. “We have mastered another year together, which has definitely brought us to the breaking point as an organisation, that is only possible with an extraordinarily motivated team,” Martin Blum is convinced.

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