Study: Manufakturen-Atlas 2025


The study “Manu­fak­turen-Atlas 2025” summa­rizes the current defi­n­i­tions with regard to manu­fac­tory produc­tion. The aim is to describe and quan­tify manu­fac­to­ries and compa­nies that can be seen as non-indus­trial economic actors, and finally to predict how German manu­fac­to­ries can react to the chal­lenges of glob­al­iza­tion and digi­ti­za­tion.

Germany enjoys a repu­ta­tion world­wide as a valued trading partner. German prod­ucts stand for reli­a­bility, quality and preci­sion, which is why their popu­larity extends beyond national borders. Espe­cially in times in which the image of the German auto­mo­tive industry is damaged, however, atten­tion shifts to the large number of German manu­fac­to­ries that domi­nate a consid­er­able part of the German luxury market.

In Germany there are auto­mo­bile and watch and jewelry manu­fac­turers and manu­fac­turers of high-quality fitness equip­ment, but also numerous fine cost producers. In recent years, the interest in manu­fac­to­ries and their prod­ucts has increased signif­i­cantly, which has also increased their impor­tance in the compe­ti­tion between German manu­fac­turers.

Produc­tion at COR Sitzmöbel

At the same time, however, the chal­lenges for manu­fac­to­ries are also increasing. Manu­fac­to­ries are repre­sen­ta­tives of a special culture, but they are also compa­nies that have to earn profits in a tough compe­ti­tion. The manu­fac­turing industry is faced with the problem that as a small-series produc­tion it is exposed to the same finan­cial burdens as large corpo­ra­tions, but has to make do with a much smaller budget. In addi­tion, glob­al­iza­tion and digi­ti­za­tion are increasing compe­ti­tion.

Logis­tics at COR Sitzmöbel

Concep­tual blur: Manu­fac­tory

Manu­fac­to­ries are regarded as the tran­si­tion between craftsmanship/artisanship and the factory during the 18th century. Nowa­days, however, they clearly distin­guish them­selves from these two concepts. In contrast to the craftsman’s busi­ness, series produc­tion is partic­u­larly impor­tant in manu­fac­to­ries. In contrast to the factory, the manu­fac­tory empha­sizes manual work.

COR Sitzmöbel

However some ques­tions arise when it comes to defining the term Manu­fac­tory. For example, what percentage must be hand-made during produc­tion? Is the manual produc­tion of the essen­tial compo­nents suffi­cient? What distin­guishes crafts enter­prises from manu­fac­to­ries? These ques­tions alone show that it is diffi­cult to give a legal defi­n­i­tion to the term manu­fac­tory.

It is there­fore often diffi­cult to justify whether a partic­ular case concerns a manu­fac­tory. A predom­i­nant share of manual work in produc­tion, a minimum size of the company (10 employees), a supra-regional customer market, belonging to the premium segment, the external percep­tion as a manu­fac­tory, the quality of the mate­rials used and the indi­vidual produc­tion according to the customer’s wishes are mentioned here as criteria.

Today, manu­fac­to­ries form the basis for luxury brands. For German brands, this luxury stands for authen­ticity, sustain­ability, inno­va­tion and under­state­ment. On the other hand, French luxury brands are known for elegance and Italian for eccen­tricity.

Manual work at COR

Current chal­lenges

Today, German luxury manu­fac­turers are exposed to a multi­tude of chal­lenges. In partic­ular, high costs and increasing compe­ti­tion face a compar­a­tively low budget and low sales volumes.

The high finan­cial burden on manu­fac­to­ries includes, among other things, years of training for employees, who often need many years of prac­tical expe­ri­ence after completing their training before they can master the tech­niques perfectly. Also, invest­ments for the complex hand­i­craft, as well as ever increasing inter­na­tion­al­iza­tion and marketing costs are expen­sive for the manu­fac­to­ries.

COR Sitzmöbel

In addi­tion, compe­ti­tion for manu­fac­to­ries is constantly growing. This is mainly the result of the democ­ra­ti­sa­tion of luxury, the lowering of barriers to market entry, glob­al­i­sa­tion and rapid tech­no­log­ical progress with the accom­pa­nying increase in the quality of indus­trial produc­tion. An increasing number of increas­ingly better copies and coun­ter­feits are also contributing to this devel­op­ment.

Due to such devel­op­ments, the impor­tanceof luxury brands customers is increasing more and more. It can even be said that customers are now just as impor­tant as the product itself. As a result, manu­fac­turers are exposed to an ever-increasing pres­sure to inno­vate in order to ensure their own attrac­tive­ness. However, as they are asso­ci­ated with values such as time­less­ness and tradi­tion, it is very diffi­cult for manu­fac­to­ries to be perceived as inno­v­a­tive, modern and orig­inal.

The trend study will be published on 12 October 2019.