INDUSTRY NEWS Wanted: tester for forest footwear I
n October, the Editor flew to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, at the invitation of the HAIX Group to visit its factory in Mala Subotica. This functional footwear specialist is based in the Bavarian town of Mainburg and recently launched the latest innovation in forestry footwear, the Protector Ultra, available in lime green and signal red, which was featured in the previous issue of Forest Bioenergy Review. The company’s range of footwear includes boots and shoes for a number of professions and trades of which forestry makes up 9% of the total. Other buyers include the
military (22%) police (21%) and the fire service (19%). The factory has 12,000 sq m of production space, backed by a further 3,300 sq m of storage and the comprehensive tour left nothing out. There are many more processes involved in creating a top quality boot for forest professionals than those in the press party expected and it was clear that the factory’s 770 employees take great pride in maintaining consistent quality. Operating a shift system, the factory turns out 10,000 pairs of boots and shoes across the entire HAIX range every day. It was revealed that 95%
of the materials used in the manufacturing process are sourced from the European Union and footwear is produced on the latest machinery using up-to-date technology. This approach has gained the company certification according
to ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 14001 for environmental management. As with any successful company, it is interesting to see how its pre-eminent position in the market was achieved and this is shown in the panel below:
HISTORY OF HAIX
1948 HAIX stands for Xaver Haimerl. Over 60 years ago, the founder of the company added the X from his first name to the first three letters of his last name and established the Haimerl Xaver shoe factory and becomes known as HAIX (the registered name).
1992 As well as being a certified master shoemaker in his father’s factory, Ewald Haimerl is the deputy fire chief of Mainburg’s fire service. He and his fire-fighting colleagues are equally unhappy with the rubber boots they have to wear at that time. The professional shoemaker designs a collection of functional leather fire boots for his comrades.
1993 The idea takes off and HAIX fire boots gain praise and recognition. Ewald Haimerl also develops boots and shoes for rescue workers and the police.
1999 HAIX produces more than 100,000 pairs of shoes per annum.
2003 HAIX North America Inc, a sales subsidiary, is established in Lexington, Kentucky, to serve the US and Canadian markets.
2006 Production exceeds 400,000 pairs per annum for the first time.
2008 HAIX designs special hunting boots in response to customer demand.
2009 A high-tech production facility is built in Croatia with a capacity of 3,000 pairs daily. A new sales subsidiary is established in Strasbourg, France. At the main site in Mainburg, plans for a new head office come to fruition.
2010 The company invests 4.7 million Euros in the expansion of the head office in Mainburg. The headquarters are scheduled for completion in Spring, 2012.
The Editor is now looking for a forestry worker to ‘test drive’ a pair of the new HAIX Protector Ultra boots, which will be theirs to keep. The boots, which are valued at £225, will be supplied on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. They are size 7 (Continental size 40.5) in signal red and, being sturdy and strong, yet light in weight, may be particularly suitable for a lumberjill. All that is asked in return is a 250-word report on how the £225 boots perform in the forest for publication in a future issue of this magazine. Just e-mail the Editor on: youngedito- firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are interested.
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2011 HAIX introduces its new corporate identity and continues investing in new facilities. The six millionth shoe leaves the production line since Ewald Haimerl developed his first boot for fire-fighters in 1992.
2012 The company employees over 800 people by the end of the year and production increases to 650,000 pairs per annum.
2013 HAIX adopts technology and know-how from Asia and extends the production plant in Europe with its high ecological and social standards.
2014 Production capacity is expanded at the HAIX plant in Croatia. A strategy of consistently sustainable production is established.
2015 HAIX produces one million pairs of shoes and has 1,100 employees worldwide. The production capacity in Croatia is doubled to 15,000 sq m and reaches 10,000 pairs of shoes per day.
2016 The target for this year is 1.2 million pairs of shoes.
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