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The Rupp Report: The 125 Years Of The Trützschler Group

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

With a humble, but very appealing event in the spirit of the enterprise, the Germany-based Trützschler Group celebrated its 125th anniversary some days ago. Heinrich Trützschler and Michael Schürenkrämer, Ph.D., managing directors and representatives of the owner families, gave an interesting overview of the long and fascinating history of the successful textile machinery manufacturer.

Since 1991, Trützschler and Schürenkrämer have managed the company. Heinrich Trützschler is the son of Hans Trützschler, and Schürenkrämer is the son-in-law of Hermann Trützschler. In 2008, Dirk Burger, Ph.D., was appointed CEO, and Andreas Ebenhöh was appointed chief technology officer, while Trützschler and Schürenkrämer now focus mainly on the strategic orientation and development of the companies in the group.

Trützschler has successfully developed its enterprise over 125 years and four generations. According to Heinrich Trützschler, the most important factors for success are a high level of innovation, close customer relationships and good service, a long-term pursuit of success, and the flexibility of a family business. Today, the group employs some 3,000 employees at nine production sites worldwide, of which a total of 40 percent are in Germany -20 percent alone at its headquarters in Mönchengladbach. The share of exports leaving the main plant is more than 95 percent and total sales are approximately 400 million euros.

Founded in 1888 by Paul Heinrich Trützschler, the company was originally a locksmith and blacksmith shop in Crimmitschau, Saxony. Soon, it began to develop machines for the local textile industry in Saxony. After World War I, it continued to develop new products for the growing spinning industry. In the 1920s, Paul Heinrich's sons Bruno, Willy and Karl took over the business.

After World War II, there were an important textile industry and a significant number of customers in the Mönchengladbach area. That's why the sons of Karl and Willy — Hans and his cousin Hermann — refounded the company in 1947 in Monchengladbach in the district of Odenkirchen.

Hans, the merchant, took care of the commercial issues, and Hermann, the technician, directed and designed the production and product innovations. Heinrich Trützschler said that "the entrepreneurial skills of the two were outstanding and continue to have an effect up to now in the company."

Expansion Abroad
Hans and Hermann Trützschler recognized very early the strategic need to be present with their own production sites in the largest markets. In 1969, they established a U.S. branch with its own production in Charlotte. Today, some 130 employees are working in the United States.

Another production facility was opened in Curitiba, Brazil, in 1975. Currently, 225 people are working at Trützschler Industria e Comercio de Maquinas Ltda. (TRUINCO) in Brazil. Trützschler is still the only European company with its own production facilities in Brazil.

A particularity was the founding of Trumac Engineering Co. Pvt. Ltd. in Ahmedabad, India, in 1979. The plant has been continuously expanded and is now one of two major suppliers to the Indian spinning industry. Trumac was renamed Truetzschler India Pvt. Ltd. in 2010 (TIPL). Its 860 employees produce the entire Trützschler portfolio.

"A recipe for success already by our fathers was to build in foreign subsidiaries only up-to-date machinery and no old outdated equipment, plus offering exceptional good service for customers on site," said Heinrich Trützschler at an event organized to celebrate the company's anniversary. "That's how we achieved market shares of 50 percent and more in these important textile countries."

In 2001, Truetzschler Textile Machinery (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. (TTMS) was established in Shanghai. According to Trützschler, it is very successful and enjoys a 25-percent market share. There are 500 employees are working at the China plant.

In all plants, except in the U.S., Trützschler manufactures the complete range of machines for spinning preparation. These include opening and cleaning machines for cotton and man-made fibers, cards, and draw frames. Since a few months ago, combing machines are also being manufactured in India.

China, the largest market, is served by the local subsidiary TTMS. The second-largest market is India, which is supplied by TIPL; the same applies to the subsidiary TRUINCO in Brazil.

However, the main plant delivers equipment all over the world. The markets in order of turnover in recent years are Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam. The factory in Odenkirchen is still the group's global headquarters and has around 650 employees. Including the staff of the foreign subsidiaries, there are 2,365 employees working in the Spinning Division.

It Started With The Card
According to Schürenkrämer, the innovative strength of the company relies on many dedicated and creative heads that always have a common goal: "How can we make the product even more attractive for our customers?"

The decision to start producing the card in 1967 was the great step forward for Trützschler. The card has a revenue share of about 50 percent of the Spinning Division. "Since 1991, this machine was at eye level with the leading competitors, and four years later we were the clear No. 1," Schürenkrämer said. "Since then we have kept holding this position."

Low Fluctuation Of Employees
Heinrich Trützschler emphasizes the importance of the employees: "Without our employees, the success of the company would not have been possible. Some people already work with us in the third generation."

Schürenkrämer added: "The working environment in the company is very good; many people have known each other for decades. Thus, the fluctuation is very low; the large crowd of well over 800 people is celebrating an anniversary, which is clear proof of that."

Portfolio Expansion
From 2003 onwards, Trützschler has expanded its range of products. For decades, Trützschler has delivered machines and equipment to the nonwovens industry. Thoughts and ideas for an extension of these activities were taken into consideration more often for logistical reasons: On the one hand, the long-term expansion of the product range for the spinning sector is limited by a market that offers well-established, excellent spinning machines. On the other hand, the growth rate in the nonwovens industry - some 7 to 10 percent - is much higher. Table 1 shows clearly the direction for the new portfolio:


Core Business Remains
Both Trützschler and Schürenkramer emphasize that the traditional core business of spinning preparation through these acquisitions didn't stop at all. On the contrary, with the draw frame and the TC 11 card, the company succeeded again. On top that, the collaboration with Toyota, announced last year, brought to the market a combing machine with an innovative technology, which will provide a better quality and extended production. Schürenkrämer added: "Initial results are encouraging and first orders for larger quantities are already issued."

To finalize his speech, Heinrich Trützschler clearly pointed out that all production sites are working according to the same specifications and standards: "We are working according to global standard production." This is probably another reason for the company's success and the confidence of its global clientele.

Thanks to the current clever positioning of the group in the various markets, the Executive Board and the management team look with confidence and optimism into the future. The headquarters in Odenkirchen will be maintained. Annual investments of 6 million to 8 million euros should also strengthen the location and enable further development and creation of innovative products. Happy Birthday, Trützschler Group!

October 22, 2013