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Trailblazers | January 2016

India, 3rd largest market for Mayer & Cie.

Mayer & Cie. is a world-leading manufacturer of circular knitting machines.

For 110 years, the owner-managed family firm has been at home in the Swabian Alb, the location of the market and technology leader’s head office to this day – in Albstadt, where the knitting machines are, for the most part, manufactured. The company’s central administration and research and development (R&D) department are also in Albstadt.

Mayer & Cie. sells its capital equipment all over the world via an international network of sales representatives. Today, the key markets are almost without exception outside Europe. This trend seems likely to continue, and Mayer & Cie. is well prepared for it – and for the further challenges that the industry faces.

Successful company history

Jointly with other owners, Johannes Mayer founded Vereinigte Mechanische Werkstätten Mayer & Cie. Tailfingen in 1905. For its first three decades the company manufactured circular spring needle machines. In 1935 Mayer & Cie presented its first circular knitting machine, developed in-house, with series production commencing in 1939. In subsequent years the range was extended and production steadily increased, so that in 1968 the 10,000th circular knitting machine, an OVJA 36, was delivered to the customer. In 1980, the company’s 75th year, the 25,000th circular knitting machine was installed at the customer’s premises. At the end of the 1980s Mayer & Cie. launched its Relanit machines in the market. They remain, to this day, a unique Mayer & Cie. selling proposition and have always been a best seller.

In the wake of the financial and economic crisis of 2007 to 2009, which caused heavy sales losses both in the industry and at Mayer & Cie., the company was forced in September 2009 to apply for self-administered insolvency. A good year later, Mayer & Cie. was out of the red, back in the black and able to cancel the insolvency proceedings in November 2010. Comprehensive reconstruction resulted in the company getting back on its feet fast, and it ended 2012 with a profit of EUR 4.6 million once more. In 2013 this earned the then management duo Rainer Mayer and Josef Kleebinder the Turnarounder of the Year award. Mayer & Cie.’s order books continue to be full, with production facilities operating above capacity. In spring 2015 the 70,000th knitting machine with the green MCT emblem, an MV 4-3.2 II, left the Albstadt works.

Vision for the future

The family firm is currently managed by the fourth generation of the Mayer family. Benjamin and Marcus Mayer have been joint managing directors since the longstanding (third-generation) managing director Rainer Mayer, their father and uncle respectively, died last April. They are assisted by Sebastian Mayer, Rainer Mayer’s youngest son, who is in charge of business development.

“My cousin, my brother and I took over the company’s management with a clear target for the future,” Benjamin Mayer says. “We would like to make our products a little better, a little faster and a little more efficient every day. We are convinced that we are correctly positioned and that we have the know-how and, above all, the people we need to continue to set standards in our field.”

Production and R&D at head office

The company has extensive production capacities at its head office location in Albstadt, where most of the knitting machines – around 1,200 a year – are manufactured, as are many components, including the knitting head for most of the Mayer knitting machines.

Albstadt is also the home of the research and development department. Mayer & Cie. invests around five per cent of its annual sales revenue in R&D – an above-average proportion for the in

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