Ten years after the start of Malmar Latvia, the Belgian company from Ghent is opening a new production facility in Bulgaria. “We are copying the strategy successfully employed for our Latvia plant”, says Koen Desimpelaere, Sales & Business Development manager at Malmar.
Malmar processes steel sheet into finished products which OEMs assemble into their final products. In addition to conventional steel processing, such as laser cutting, CNC folding, robot welding and riveting, the company has a state-of-the-art paintshop in Latvia that meets the automotive sector’s most stringent requirements. Malmar is also increasingly active in the sub-assembly of lighting groups and smaller parts composed of sheet metal combined with rubber sealing, insulation, etc.
Just-in-time specialist from Ghent
The company was founded in 1947 and has been owned by current CEO Dorsan De Buysscher since 2005. It is still headquartered in Belgium.
From Ghent, Malmar directs the soon-to-be two foreign sites, makes investment decisions and handles administration and logistics. The company currently has some 15 employees in Belgium and 152 in Latvia.
“After they are produced in Latvia, all parts are sent directly to our logistics centre in Ghent”, says Koen Desimpelaere. “From there, they are sent to our customers on a just-in-time basis and in the right quantities. Our business model is based on a push-pull approach. Latvia produces larger production batches, and ‘pushes’ them to Belgium. We can perfectly meet customer demand (‘pull’) via our warehouse in Belgium. This approach eliminates a headache for our customers since we hold buffer inventory for them.”
Malmars many customers include companies such as Volvo Trucks, Volvo Buses, Renault Trucks, Caterpillar, Cargotec (Hiab & Kalmar), Atlas Copco and Dynapac.
10 years of success in Latvia
Rapid growth and high customer demand prompted Malmar to expand its production facilities to a new strategic location: Latvia, and more specifically the city of Ventspils.
Production started in July 2006, with just six employees. Over the years, Malmar Latvia has evolved into a state-of-the-art production facility and now has over 150 employees and a high-tech paintshop.
The company recently invested in two new machines: a milling machine and a welding robot. They help boost the efficiency of existing production equipment and make it possible to produce more sophisticated parts.
95% of all Malmar products is produced and finished in Latvia. Only a bit of post-production assembly is done in Ghent.
New production plant in Bulgaria
This foreign success is now set to be replicated in Bulgaria.
The team realised that ongoing growth – driven by new customers and more parts in its portfolio – required a new production facility for Malmar.
“We are proud to announce that a new production plant will open its doors in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in Q3 2016”, the company reports. “This new facility, located in southern Europe in a low-cost environment, will focus exclusively on production, leveraging the same ‘push’ principle. This means that, based on yearly quantities, it will work with maximum batch sizes and minimum setups. In turn, Malmar Belgium will maintain a reserve inventory to keep up with requested just-in-time deliveries for its customers. The new production facility will allow us to continue growing sustainably in the years ahead.”