100 years of DURABLE: keeping a finger on the pulse of the times
Iserlohn, 07/02/2020. DURABLE – the name says it all. Though the brand from the Sauerland region of Germany has only had this name since the early 1950s, the idea behind it has been the company’s guiding vision for its entire 100-year history. Future-proof solutions for modern forms of work, enduring quality and award-winning design – products ‘Made by DURABLE’ have always been and remain pioneers in innovation, efficiency and aesthetics. Long-term partnerships with retailers and continuous employee development are also key components of the company policy that targets sustainable success.
Around the world, the way we work has changed significantly in the past 100 years. The classic office with a typewriter and carbon paper are just as much a thing of the past as transporting goods in carriages. Computers, mobile devices and methods like Kaizen and agile working has changed the working environment just as much as the increasing flexibility in when and where we work. As a result, DURABLE currently offers a wide selection of modern workplace products for many different industries: from tablet holders to cable management systems, from mobile organisation to variable labelling and presentation concepts.
- It all started on 7 February 1920 with metal indexing tabs – the state-of-the-art filing system at the time. Karl Hunke and Wilhelm Jochheim founded a company together to produce them in Iserlohn. DURABLE is still owned by the founding families, making it a textbook example of the impressive success of German family-owned companies around the world.
Modern production and logistics:
- At the end of the 40s, DURABLE begins production of plastic items such as indexes.
- In the 50s and 60s, the company builds and commissions modern production facilities to the latest standards, enlarging and upgrading them continuously in the following decades. DURABLE’s first administrative building with open-plan offices is constructed in Iserlohn – a highly innovative form of workplace design at the time.
- In 1993, DURABLE purchases another production facility in Gotha and builds a new plant there in 2000.
- Also in 1993, DURABLE builds a modern distribution centre in Iserlohn-Sümmern, which is expanded considerably once again in 2016.
- In 2006, the Stettin plant is commissioned, adding another new, large production facility.
- In 2019, DURABLE makes a significant investment in the German location of Kamen-Methler, building a modern production hall with collaborative robots supporting workers there for the first time.
Expansion through acquisitions:
- On 1 January 2010, DURABLE takes over the Idealplast brand, diversifying its range of desk accessories and plastic containers by adding products from one of the leading providers in this segment. The product series for desks and many industrial applications are continued under umbrella brand DURABLE.
- In October 2010, DURABLE acquires parts of company Atlanta, known for its trolley and waste bin series. The new products are a perfect complement for DURABLE’s facility management ranges, for which the German brand is an established provider on the market.
From Sauerland into the world
- From an early stage, DURABLE has been among the more export-focused companies in the paper, office and stationary sector.
- Accordingly, it founded subsidiaries in England and Sweden in 1980,
- in the Netherlands in 1991,
- in Belgium in 1997,
- in France in 2000,
- in Austria and in the USA in 2001,
- and Italy in 2015, a market it had been serving by sales representatives since 2005.
- The company is also represented in Russia (since 2002) and has sales representatives in Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland.
Outstanding product innovations:
- The first clip folder rolls off the conveyor belt at DURABLE in 1959. Filing without punching: DURACLIP® holds things together that belong together – the first product of its kind to do so without damaging the individual pages. The invention is so revolutionary that the company needs to create a market for it first. In total, 500 million units have been sold since then. Without the clip folder, billions of sheets of paper would be lying about all over the place today.
- In 2009, DURABLE brings a brand-new form of flexible presentation to market: the DURAFRAME® info frame. Millions of this multi-award-winning product have been sold: The magnetic info frame is used in almost every sector, and still boasts strong growth potential today, which is why we have strategically expanded the range with a variety of versions. In 2018, DURABLE invests in its first TV campaign to promote its sales hit to other potential customers.
- In 2012, DURABLE launches a stylish, multi-award-winning organisational product, the VARICOLOR® drawer box. Every drawer has its own colour line, which not only adds a touch of colour to the working environment but also helps to organise the filing system efficiently thanks to colour coding. Due to its great success, the VARICOLOR® family is soon supplemented with boxes in different versions and new trendy colours.
- In 2015, DURABLE opens up a new segment with its new LUCTRA® luminaire brand. The LUCTRA® table and standard luminaires and mobile luminaires have won many awards and provide good working light in the office or at home. The professional, biologically effective LED lighting system implements the latest scientific findings on the effect of light on people (Human Centric Lighting). LUCTRA® light can reproduce natural daylight almost completely, thus supporting the individual's inner clock and promoting a sense of well-being.
- With its latest developments, DURABLE is once again showing its feel for modern work trends:
- The TABLET HOLDER range makes efficient work and presentation possible with tablets.
- The CAVOLINE® cable management system tames tangled cables in the workplace and at home.
- The QUADRO® multi-functional trolleys combine versatile uses with stylish elegance in trendy colours.
- With its innovative DURAFIX® ROLL, DURABLE offers individually customisable rolls of magnetic strips for quick positioning of information, for example at trade fairs or the POS.
- DURABLE’s monitor holders offer a particularly flexible solution for ergonomic workplaces.
Responsible corporate management:
A holistic approach to sustainability has been a key component of DURABLE’s corporate management for decades. “Companies that operate sustainably are more successful in the long run. In keeping with our vision of quality, our primary objective is to balance commercial, economic and social interests,” explain DURABLE’s Managing Directors Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke and Matthias Laue. “Besides great customer satisfaction, the top quality of our products, long-term commercial success through liquidity and profitability, this also includes continuously improving our environmental performance.” The sustainability report contains details on the goals the company has already reached and the measures that are currently being implemented.
Besides its founding fathers, long-standing Managing Directors Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke and Dieter Wäscher and, since 2006, Matthias Laue have played vital roles in DURABLE’s success story. Under their leadership, the company has become an internationally successful player in the last forty years. Thanks to their feel for trends, their innovation and entrepreneurial vision, DURABLE generates a turnover of EUR 100 million today, employs a workforce of 700 and sells its products in over 80 countries. In the anniversary year Horst-Werner Maier-Hunke hands over gradually the baton to Rolf Schifferens, who is on board as Managing Director since January 2020.
DURABLE is kicking off the new corporate century with an overhauled corporate design that references existing elements and transforms them into a modern forward-looking design. “The new corporate design emphasises our ambition to create modern, clear, excellent solutions for the workplace,” explains Martina Heiland, Press Officer at DURABLE.