Trumpler GmbH are based in Worms on the river Rhine, a town whose connections with the leather industry date back as far as the early 1800s. Since the company were founded in 1868, Trumpler have gradually expanded their facilities on the Rhine. Three years ago, the company extended their pilot tannery to include facilities for running beamhouse trials on matched sides. Before this time, around 3% of the company’s products were destined for the domestic market. Since the launch of the company’s beamhouse products, that percentage has risen to 5%.

Trumpler then complemented their product palette with the launch of a range of enzymes for the beamhouse. This had several consequences. Firstly, it resulted in an increase of leather technicians employed by the company, and secondly Trumpler were able to acquire new land and buildings covering 11,000 sq m located next to their existing facilities. Now, the street front owned by the company has been extended to 600 metres.

The acquisition has also created the space Trumpler needed for a new powder production plant with the capacity to produce roughly 200 tons of various powder chemicals per month.

Faster delivery

Delivery times depend on the product range mix but, when the plant is fully operational, delivery times should be reduced significantly and the company’s internal logistic process will become faster.

According to the company, several advantages have already been seen. Firstly, the installation utilises state-of-the-art computer-controlled technology which facilitates weighing, milling and mixing the products semi-automatically and, secondly, it means that the machine needs only one operator at any time.

The mixing plant can be used for all beamhouse range powder products from soaking agents through liming and deliming agents as well as the company’s complete range of enzymatic materials and bates. Cross-contamination is avoided by air blast cleaning and emptying of the plant.

‘The new powder mixing plant has, to all intents and purposes, met our expectations and it is foreseen that a second and larger installation will be required by the end of 2003 in order to cope with increased demand for the products’, said Dr Thomas Feigel, marketing manager.

New German environmental protection laws say that raw materials are no longer allowed to be stored outside. Because of this, Trumpler have also built new storage facilities containing expensive safety precautions. Here, individual orders are processed by computer and the company are now able to ensure a faster delivery time and have more control over the quality of their products.

All in all, Trumpler Worms have invested around €5.1 million over the past three years, while group investment has been about €7.4 million during the same period.

In terms of group turnover, Trumpler have recorded a significant increase in sales over the past 30 years. In 1974, Trumpler recorded an annual turnover of around US$6.3 million and employed 68 workers. In 2001, turnover had risen to US$99.6 million with 335 employees. And this year, the company expected group turnover to rise by 5% to reach the US$110 million mark.

Planning ahead

Looking to the future, managing directors Norbert Schuster and Christian Roos predict that the company’s main focus will remain in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Trumpler began expanding abroad in the 1970s with the establishment of various subsidiaries, firstly in Europe and later worldwide. In fact, export turnover has always exceeded that of the domestic market; at present, export turnover is running at about 97%. ‘We don’t want to move away from Europe’, Feigel added, ‘but we will also concentrate on south and north America and also Asia.’ And today, around 35% of the company’s business is conducted on the Asian continent.

The company also recorded strong sales in Argentina last year. ‘Other companies have pulled out of Argentina over the past few years as they saw little point in staying, and this has worked to our benefit’, said Feigel. ‘We are also looking for long-term partnerships with different countries’, he added.

In terms of the company’s product portfolio, Trumpler have been concentrating on the production of fatliquors for the furniture and automotive upholstery markets over the past few years.

The company have moved away from the use of fish oils and now use vegetable oils, especially for their upholstery products, and expect sales of their vegetable products to double in the future.

‘To a certain extent, we also want to move away from easy-to-make fatliquors and head towards high-tech products such as waterproofing agents and products for the automotive upholstery industry’, said Feigel. ‘We actually have a patent pending on our hydrophobing products’, he added.