The Slovenia Times

Baumüller Dravinja marrying Slovenian know-how with German capital

Industry & Agriculture

Baumüller Dravinja, a Slovenske Konjice-based company, specialises in production of electrical enclosures and control panels. Owned by the German family-run business Baumüller, the 100% export-oriented company has been experiencing significant growth in recent years and has become a major employer in the Štajerska region in eastern Slovenia.

The Nürnberg-based group also manufactures prefabricated panels, metal enclosures and metal equipment at its Slovenian subsidiary, which was founded 28 years ago.

In the previous decade, Baumüller Dravinja began to move away from the predominantly printing sector, branching out into other areas such as plastics processing, machine building, the automotive and food industries, medicine and media technology.

"The decision I and my colleague Helmut Hauf made at the time - he's in charge of sales and purchasing and I'm responsible for development and human resources - quickly turned out to be the right one.

"Ever since 2009, after the end of the global financial crisis, our growth has been very reliable and constant. We've been making a name for ourselves in the fields of media technology and woodworking machines as well," said Baumüller Dravinja's Jožef Klajnšek, who is running the company together with Hauf.

It is the diversification of their business that ensures that, even in the event of a new economic crisis, the company would not be shaken so badly. "A crisis never hits all sectors at once. And the fact that we work for different clients is our advantage," Klajnšek added.

Since the financial crisis, Baumüller Dravinja's sales revenue has grown from €4.5 million to more than €40 million, a figure they posted last year.

Baumüller Dravinja specialises in production of electrical enclosures and control panels. Photo: Baumüller Dravinja

This year, due to signs of reduced demand amid rising energy prices and overall price hikes, the company set realistic targets and it expects roughly the same results as in 2022.

Over a span of nearly three decades or ever since the German group took over the small Slovenian company IMP, the number of employees has increased from 32 to 370, and the production premises increased from 3,600 m2 to over 13,000 m2.

Baumüller Dravinja is now opening a new, €4 million facility that will double its capacity for producing electrical equipment.

Its main markets are Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and France. In addition to Germany and Slovenia, the German group, a leading producer of electrical drive and automations systems, is present also in the Czech Republic and China, developing and manufacturing smart system solutions for mechanical engineering and e-mobility in more than 40 subsidiaries worldwide.

The owners have great trust in the Slovenian company, whose motto is "everything can be done", said Klajnšek, adding: "If I called Nürnberg and suggested we start inflating balloons because it would be profitable, that would get the green light."

An engineer, he keeps in touch with production processes by making several daily rounds of the shop floor and engaging in direct conversation with the employees.

The owners visit the company at least twice a year, most recently Andreas Baumüller, who was there in February for the opening of the new facility.

Like most companies, recruitment has been a major challenge for Baumüller Dravinja in recent years. Most of its production requires manual skills, only sheet metal cutting is automated. People are mainly recruited locally, even if they do not have the right qualifications, because they train them themselves, and they need craftsmen in metalwork and electricians in particular.

To reduce its dependency on energy markets and its environmental footprint, the company will soon launch a rooftop solar plant. Its future aim is to produce enough energy itself to meet the day shift's energy needs.

Due to expanding production, the company is currently hiring new workers and would like its headcount to exceed 400 in the future. Its ambition does not end there, as within two or three years Baumüller Dravinja aims to increase its sales revenue to at least €45 million.


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