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Albstadt - Circular knitting machine builder Mayer & Cie is targeting a significant increase in sales for 2018 with a healthy order book and a new internal production system now in place.

The Albstadt, Germany based firm, along with its Czech and Chinese subsidiaries, generated sales of around €105 million in 2017, slightly below expectations but on a par with the previous year with approximately the same number of machines sold as 2016.

While both the market situation and the order position remained positive in 2017, Mayer & Cie noted that the annual results were impacted by the complex in-house ERP-system changeover, which went into operation in summer 2017 after several years of preparation. Issues with the changeover affected production flow with almost completed machines not able to be delivered to customers because parts were not available at the required time.

“We are dozens of machines behindhand,” explained Benjamin Mayer, Managing Director of Mayer & Cie. “That naturally has an effect on the result, which would otherwise have been significantly better. We did, after all, have the capacities and the orders. Fortunately, system changeovers of this kind are not a daily occurrence and we are confident that we have now largely put the initial difficulties behind us. We are sure that we will be able to work better and more efficiently than with our old system.”

In addition to its ERP-system update, Mayer & Cie also invested millions of euros in 2017 in other modernization projects, particularly at its Albstadt headquarters.

Recent investments include ten new production machines while work on the automated storage system has also progressed and is nearing completion. There was also refurbishment outside the factory gates.

With the new systems now in place, Mr Mayer said he was confident of reaching a sales target of €110 million for the year. “2018 has got off to a good start," he said. "Our order intake is stable and we expect to be back in calmer waters after our system changeover and to be able slowly but surely to work off our backlog of machines.”

Preparations are also scheduled to start this year for the integration of its US-based sister company and its products. Mayer Industries, the manufacturer of braiding machines for the production of hose tubing, based in Orangeburg, South Carolina, was founded in the early 1970s as a Mayer & Cie subsidiary and a circular knitting machine production site. The company is to be wound up in the medium term with production transferred to Albstadt in 2019.

"Preparations are under way for integrating this new product," Mr Mayer said. "The necessary infrastructure, above all the personnel capacities and production line, is to be in place next year. For us the integration of this technically related product is a good opportunity to develop an additional mainstay that is independent of our core business. We have repeatedly opted for diversification in past decades and had good experiences with it."


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