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Strong 2021 for Sandler, despite challenges

Long-term strategy of diversification paying dividends.

25th April 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany

Industrial, Medical/Hygiene

Nonwoven manufacturer Sandler, headquartered in Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany, increased both its revenue and the number of its employees in 2021. Challenges, however, have been increasingly arising from climbing energy prices.

With 990 employees including 61 trainees the company generated €365 million in turnover in 2021, an increase of 11%. This growth is mainly attributable to the capacity expansion at the company’s US 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 due to spiralling energy costs that are expected to become even more serious in 2022.

“In early January, we still hoped that the lessening of the turmoil surrounding the Corona pandemic would bring our industry back to clearer waters,” said  CEO Dr Christian Heinrich Sandler. “However, the belligerent attack on Ukraine, geopolitical uncertainty and the continued increase in energy costs are clouding the waters again in terms of outlook. In Germany, we are in global competition with other companies that have always had a different situation in terms of energy costs. 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. At the same time, we are seeing our long-term strategy of consistently focusing on diversification in terms of technologies and industries and the establishment of an additional company location paying dividends.”

The reactions to the pandemic have completely changed the market and the market environment over the past two years, he added.

Logistical challenges

“Businesses that had been growing over many years have stalled, and supply chains have been turned upside down, with supply bottlenecks worldwide, longer delivery times and dramatic price increases in almost all goods and services,” Sandler said. “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. However, despite facing major logistical challenges, we still managed to deliver on time.”

Looking beyond the current financial year, the CEO continues to view environmental protection and sustainability as fixed, highly relevant constants in corporate strategy. Sandler is pursuing an ongoing goal of reducing its ecological footprint  further.

The company also continues to focus on providing its junior employees with advanced training,

“Well-trained specialists and managers are what drives us,” Sandler said. “More experienced colleagues from all 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 off its ‘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, helping 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,” Sandler said.

The company also received key awards last year. Procter & Gamble awarded presnted the company with its 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,” said Sandler.

The company also received Bavaria’s Best 50 award for the third time. These companies are representative of the productivity, creativity and innovative strength of Bavarian small and medium-sized enterprises.

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