The new facility will enable Maplan to reduce assembly times by 30 percent, while also improving quality and consistency, according to Wolfgang Meyer, managing director. This, he noted, also has benefited the cost structure.
Maplan’s sales in 2015 reached €45 million, a record for the company, which has also seen its work force grow from 140 to 220 employees over the last five years.
Around 40% of business is currently in Europe, 30% in the US, with the rest in other locations around the world. The long-term goal, though is a market share profile of about third in each of the three main global regions.
And with the relocation now complete, an important target for Maplan is to grow in North America, Meyer said, “In my opinion the US business can grow quite massively.”
While Maplan is strong in the European automotive market, this is not the case in the US, where the company’s machines are used more for more moulding industrial seals and other parts, such as for the oil industry.
Meyer’s target is that Maplan is No. 1 or minimum No. 2 in all (the main) business fields: “Then you really play a role and if you take all of this together you are up to minimum doubling your turnover.
“So maybe with a time frame of three years or four years, I would say that should be possible. But the target is to grow sustainably, not to grow as fast as possible.”
Even more interesting, perhaps, is Maplan’s other target: Asia, where the company only supplies into major groups such as Parker, which have, for instance, global automotive strategies requiring machines that are standardised worldwide.
“The next big step is to work out a strategy for how to become a supplier for the local market in China,” Meyer said. This, he added, “will happen in the next three years, maybe by the next K show. Five years is too long."
The move, he added, will be necessary due to the cost of transporting machines over there. The goal, therefore, is to have a manufacturing operation, producing Maplan’s own machine-types rather than “a cooperation with someone who takes technology from wherever.”
But, the managing director emphasised, the “high-end machines that we are building in Austria will always be built in Austria. We don’t want to cannibalise ourselves and make the same machine in China because everyone will ask for a Chinese-built machine with the same specifications as a machine built in Austria.”
Meyer concluded: “So in China you will have say a medium machine with a quality standard that will fit perfectly into the market. This includes from a price point, which is very important.”