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Europe & Middle East Outlook

edgebanding
furniture
manufacturing
technology
AdvantEdge
Czech Republic
Humpolec

HRANIPEX

Cutting Edge

From its humble Humpolec-based beginnings, Hranipex has risen to become a crucial distributor and progressive developer of furniture edges in the European value chain  

Writer: Jonathan Dyble  |  Project Manager: Thomas Arnold

 

Starting a business can be one of the most exciting and important moments in the life of any budding entrepreneur. Turning an idea into a proven concept, however, is by no means an easy task.

Just look at the statistics. Of the near-140,000 new businesses born around the world every day, roughly 90 percent of these are expected to fail, doomed to struggle with everything from talent shortages and poor timing to lacklustre demand and negative cashflows.

Resultantly, its often hard for young startups to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet this makes the success stories all the more impressive, one such example being Hranipex.

Starting out in Humpolec, Czechia – a humble town comprising just 10,800 people located 70 minutes’ drive southeast of Prague – it is a business that began with just three employees. Today, however, it has flourished into one of Europe’s leading manufacturers and distributors of furniture edges.

“Hranipex is a great story of a Czech company that was built in a six square metre garage, only to become a multinational global player 26 years later,” Ondřej Krátký, the organisation’s Product and Marketing Manager affirms.

The organisation has maintained an impressive growth curve throughout this timeline, having nailed its niche as a one-stop shop for edges, specialised glues and cleaners required for the gluing of furniture components.

And for Krátký, this prosperous trajectory was a major draw.

“I previously operated in the building and industry segment, but working with furniture components has unveiled a lot of new insights,” he reveals. “I’m now closer to the design of the products, and the scale of the sector is something that really interests me.”

Much of the same can be said for Petr Zmátlo – a former veteran of the ICT software solutions market now positioned as the Sales Director of Hranipex.

“I was looking to alter my career path when the challenge to take over the United Kingdom branch presented itself,” he affirms. “I’ve since stepped into my current role helping to oversee our global operations, after what can only be described as a fantastic experience.”

For both men, embracing the edgebanding industry was a transition made easy by Hranipex.

When it comes to employment, the company opts to acquire the very best talent, often supplementing experience with ambition, passion and enthusiasm, a relatively unique approach upheld by its internal training academy.

“The training academy focuses on the smooth and full onboarding of new team members,” Zmátlo explains. “It can take a couple of months to fully educate new staff on our whole service and product ranges, so this facility is designed to set every individual up with the ability to fully serve our markets.”

From the word go, staff members are provided with the platform to become champions of the Hranipex brand. In turn, the company is able to maintain its wider philosophy focused on consolidating the cornerstones of customer satisfaction (quality, speed, reliability, top service and a professional approach).

Now operating 12 branches across Europe and exporting to 65 countries around the world, ensuring consistency in these values can be a challenge. Yet they remain underpinned by its esteemed workforce owed to these proactive employment and training practices.

“In spite of our growing footprint, we are still family owned, and treat our customers and staff like family. We’re proud of our human approach and the knowhow of our people,” the Sales Director adds.

Krátký echoes this: “Happy customers are key,” he says. “We’re personable and strive to deliver what our customers need when they need it.”

Ahead of the curve

Innovative is not only descriptive of Hranipex’s track record on talent development, however. Rather, it is a word that defines the company which, in many ways, is spearheading progression through its recognition of the role of emerging technologies across the board.

Research from the International Data Corporation has forecast global digital transformation expenditure to reach $1.18 trillion this year, with discrete manufacturing ($221.6 billion) and process manufacturing ($124.5 billion) leading the way.

Indeed, if the strategic focus of 
Hranipex is anything to go by, then 
it’s easy to see why.

“A lot of new trends are emerging,” Krátký declares. “New technologies are taking the furniture industry to the next level, while the tastes of the end-customers are repeating or periodically changing. This provides a nice mixture between the traditional and the transformative.”

The launch of AdvantEdge, the company’s new flagship product, is the most recent example of its willingness to embrace change.

The result of fruitful, transparent collaboration between internal research, development and product departments, it offers a unique, highly accessible way of achieving hot air machine edgebanding, creating near-invisible joints and maintaining a flawless design in furniture production.

“AdvantEdge offers an unforeseen flexibility and service in hot air solutions on the existing market,” Krátký affirms. “We think it will be a great asset for us through 2020 and beyond. The results so far have been fantastic.”

Aligned with the company’s existing portfolio, AdvantEdge’s integration has been seamless, the firm able to create hot air layers from any design in its existing collection of 1,660 different edges.

“This is definitely a game changer for the coming year,” Zmátlo adds. “The new technology we’ve developed allows us to provide hot air solutions for even the smallest of demands.

“We’re confident it will assist our customers in improving their production.”

Indeed, AdvantEdge is an exciting development, and in many ways an industry first. Yet Hranipex’s ability to deliver such a product should come as no surprise.

Taking a trip inside any of the company’s facilities, be it production halls, warehouses or offices, you will find modern equipment, decor and amenities such as on-site gyms – all details that have been fine tuned in the aim of inspiring a technologically-motivated, personal approach, underpinned by openness and positive attitudes.

“Innovation is crucial to the company’s success and AdvantEdge is just one point of reference,” Krátký reiterates.

“We continue to put a lot of effort into preparing new products in the hope of delivering exciting news for our customers in the future. New products have to be spot on, and Hranipex has been very successful in responding to trends to deliver these at the right place, at the right time, in the right way.”

Capitalising on cooperation

Progressive attitudes and an emphasis on employee excellence aside, the enterprise’s success can also be somewhat attributed to the role of its suppliers and partners.

Keen to maintain rapid response times and service delivery, Hranipex’s own agility is only as effective as that of its supply chain network – a network built on long term relationships, trust and mutual benefit.

“Supply chain is critical for us,” Zmátlo adds. “Our customers frequently request special services and therefore all parts of our supply chain have to react both at speed and with precise accuracy.”

In the eyes of the Sales Director and Product and Marketing Manager, partner loyalty and customer loyalty go hand in hand, both individuals highlighting their appreciation for the separate contributions of these parties alike in propelling Hranipex to ever greater heights.

The bonds that the company creates do not stop here, however, the business also closely allied with the communities in which it operates. To this end, social responsibility is of paramount importance.

Krátký explains: “Taking our headquarters in Humpolec as one example, we support local schools for mentally and physically disabled children and sanctuaries for adults with mental illnesses. We also hold beneficial sporting events such as HraniRun where the money collected goes to the supporting of local organisations.”

Similar efforts are undertaken across each of Hranipex’s 12 branches, set to expand in line with the company’s wider trajectory moving forward.

Speaking with both Krátký and Zmátlo, it is clear that the business’s future strategy remains simple, focused on providing the best services and the best products available on the market.

And while innovations such as AdvantEdge will be crucial in consolidating the company’s reputation for excellence to this extent, the current climate is looking equally bright and should serve to further Hranipex’s ambitions ahead.

It is for this reason that Zmátlo is able to conclude in a buoyant fashion.

“Materials for furniture manufacturing are key for furniture producers,” he states. “There is significant demand on housing needs for the entire population across the whole of Europe, and if you build houses, offices and flats, you need to equip them with furniture.

“This in mind, I can safely say that I am optimistic about the future of this industry and our position within it.”