Nonwovens / Technical Textiles

2022-04-28

Sandler continues to grow in 2021 and provides a cautious outlook for 2022

Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler © 2022 Sandler
The nonwovens specialist from Upper Franconia in Germany closes 2021 with a growth in revenue but challenges continue to arise due to the extraordinary increase in energy prices since 2017. The strategic approach of "diversification in terms of technologies, industries and locations" is paying off and will provide further stability in the future.

The growth rate is mainly attributable to the capacity expansion at the U.S. plant, and there was also double-digit sales growth in technical products. However, due to the geopolitical situation and the continued explosion in raw material and energy prices expected in 2022, the company remains cautious about the financial year 2022.

Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany – Sandler, headquartered in the Upper Franconian town of Schwarzenbach/Saale, District Hof, increased both its revenue and number of its employees in 2021. However, challenges increasingly arise from the extraordinary rise in energy prices since 2017. 990 employees including 61 trainees (previous year: 940) generated 365 million Euros in turnover, an increase of 11 percent (previous year: 328). This rate of growth is mainly attributable to the capacity expansion at the U.S. subsidiary Sandler Nonwoven Corporation in Perry, Georgia. In addition, there was double-digit sales growth in technical products.

Overall, the nonwovens specialist remains cautious about the ongoing financial year, also due to spiralling energy costs that are expected to become even more serious in 2022. CEO Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler: "In early January, we still hoped that the lessening of the turmoil surrounding the Corona pandemic would bring not only our industry back to clearer waters. However, the belligerent attack on Ukraine, geopolitical uncertainty and the continued increase in energy costs are clouding the waters again in terms of our outlook. At the same time, we are seeing our long-term strategy of consistently focussing on diversification in terms of technologies and industries, and the establishment of an additional company location, confirmed."

In 2021, the coronavirus pandemic also made great demands on "our dedicated and motivated staff", sums up Sandler. But the entire Sandler team fought shoulder-to-shoulder for the success of the company at both locations. A high level of expertise and a correspondingly high level of commitment and flexibility made a successful year possible despite the continued massive restrictions caused by the pandemic and despite the market changes. Sandler: "Our teams in Schwarzenbach and Perry did a great job."

Sandler has not only managed to stand up to Covid-19 in so doing. The reactions to the pandemic have completely changed the market and the market environment over the past two years. Businesses that had been growing over many years have stalled, and supply chains have been turned upside down. The CEO casts his mind back to the supply bottlenecks worldwide, longer delivery times and the dramatic price increases in almost all goods and services. "We had already arrived at this point from a high cost level and believed that we had reached the tip of the cost iceberg. But that has not proved to be the case in 2021 and this trend – we can now say after the first quarter of this year – will continue in 2022. "However, despite facing major logistical challenges, we still managed to deliver on time," emphasises Sandler.


Looking beyond the current financial year into the future, the CEO continues to view environmental protection and sustainability as fixed, highly relevant constants in the corporate strategy. Sandler pursues a constant goal of reducing its ecological footprint even further.

The company continues to focus on providing its junior employees with excellent training and training and developing the staff even further, especially in view of the ever-increasing challenges. The motto here being, "well-trained specialists and managers are what drives us". Trainees are integrated into exciting tasks at an early stage and can grow as a result. More experienced colleagues from all the departments can train in leadership tasks and teamwork or pursue their own individual professional career paths. Just as in 2020, a “corona bonus” was awarded to every employee worldwide for the 2021 financial year to pay special tribute to the tremendous efforts made by the team.

Digitalisation has also been driven forward. Sandler kicked of the ‘Fit for Future’ programme four years ago to pave the way for fully entering the digital age. Among other things, the introduction of a standardised ERP software has made an important contribution to this. It helps to optimise new processes and enhance organisational structures. Not only does the company benefit from this internally, it also generates the "greatest possible benefit for our partners", explains the CEO.

Dr. Sandler looks on the current energy costs in Germany with concern. "We are in global competition with other companies that have always had a different cost situation in this regard. "As an energy-intensive company, we need a reliable infrastructure. The current situation is a burden on our business and is an extreme driver of costs," emphasises Dr Sandler's fellow board member, Dr. Ulrich Hornfeck, who is responsible for sales.

The CEO attributes the fact that Sandler also received key awards last year to the company's extraordinary commitment and team spirit. For example, Procter & Gamble awarded Sandler the prestigious 'External Business Partner of the Year' award as one of only eight out of approximately 60,000 suppliers. "Being honoured by our long-standing customer in this way means a great deal to us," emphasises Dr. Sandler. An award of the Bavarian State Government is also important to the CEO: Sandler received the 'Bavaria’s Best 50' award for the third time, joining the ranks of the 50 best owner-managed companies in the State of Bavaria. These companies are representative of the productivity, creativity and innovative strength of Bavarian small and medium-sized enterprises.



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