“No doubt, it is always a challenge to carry on with an enterprise that has been established in the market for such a long time. But we have been extremely lucky to have made the right decisions time and again,” points out Managing Director Thomas Müller who, together with his brother Stefan, manages the family company in the seventh generation. However, the next generation is already involved in the company’s daily operations and will take over in due time.
The company went through stormy times, following its expropriation in Silesia after the war. In 1948, it shifted its production to Straelen where it has experienced growth ever since. Müller Kerzenfabrik produces five million candles and lights every day at its three production sites in Germany, Poland and China. It has become market leader in pillar candles, generating an overall turnover of 100 million EUR.
“When we decided to expand our production abroad and set our eyes on Poland, we could not foresee that this would turn out to be a real success. Since 1988 we have been manufacturing in Grudziadz, and today, the majority of our candle production is located there. We have at our disposal a fully automated production area of 100,000 m² where the entire range can be produced,” stresses Mr. Müller.
Since 2008, the Polish production site has been manufacturing large volumes for IKEA. “As competition is strong, we have continuously invested in our Polish production and have set up lean management processes with a high level of automation. The candles are produced fully automatically in large quantities,” says Mr. Müller.
In 2000, Müller Kerzenfabrik went even one step further when it opened a production site near Shanghai in China. “Initially, manual work was relatively cheap but in the meantime prices in China have also increased,” adds Mr. Müller.
Müller Kerzenfabrik supplies large retailers in Germany and in Europe either under private label or under its own brand. Its wide product range and its strong focus on sustainable raw materials have made Müller Kerzenfabrik really stand out in the market.
“We have mainly switched from paraffin to palm oil that is grown sustainably according to the standards of the RSPO. As an active member of the organisation, we are involved in pursuing new standards for our raw materials paraffin and palm wax for the benefit of the planet. Tradition is also about safeguarding our environment,” says Mr. Müller.