In around ten years from a sales & service company via a “garage solution” to the third production site
From November 2015, the Mayer & Cie. sales and service company in China’s Shanghai province is trading as Mayer & Cie. China (Mayer & Cie. CN). This move was necessary to secure a separate manufacturing licence and to increase the company’s capital contributions – and it makes Mayer & Cie. CN the Group’s third production site along with Germany and the Czech Republic.
The circular knitting machine manufacturer has had a branch in China for over ten years; it was opened in 2003. Benjamin Mayer, Managing Director, Mayer & Cie., says, “We set up a sales and service unit of our own in 2003 and decided at the end of 2011 to assemble machines in China. At the end of 2012 we began with a real ‘garage solution’ in China. It was, after all, for an experiment. We wanted to see whether machines specially developed for China would gain acceptance in the market there.”
In retrospect it is clear that what began as a bold venture was an extremely smart decision. The MSC (Mayer Single China) and MDC (Mayer Double China) are very popular in what is, by far, the world’s largest textiles market. Since 2012 the Chinese Mayer works has produced machines of its own in accordance with what the manufacturer calls the knitting head principle. This means that parts are manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Albstadt, Germany, then pre-assembled at the Czech works and finally assembled in China. This principle works on a grand scale. By the end of 2015 around 200 machines will leave the production hall in Shanghai until, in three years’ time, the number of machines produced there per year reaches 500. Along with the steady demand the capacities for this increase in production have been in place since May 2015. Early this summer, Mayer & Cie. CN with its current payroll of around 30 employees moved into larger and more representative premises.
“This development over the past ten years and our figures show that we can be successful in China,” Benjamin Mayer says. “At the same time they make it clear how important our Chinese location is as a part of our overall corporate strategy.”
Apart from Mayer & Cie.’s commercial successes and strategic considerations, assembling the knitting machines in China brings very tangible benefits for local customers. Delivery times for machines ordered are much shorter and more flexible, and they can be paid for in the local currency, China’s renminbi.