Company profile Schwan-STABILO, Heroldsberg
Schwan-STABILO , based in Heroldsberg by Nuremberg, is a company with a long tradition. Founded in 1855 by Gustav Schwanhäußer, it is still owned by the Schwanhäußer family. Although many consumers use STABILO products for writing, drawing or highlighting, few of them know that the Schwan-STABILO is also the world market leader in cosmetic pencils.
A career that began more or less by chance
In 1927 Schwan-STABILO manufactured the "dermatograph", a pencil with which surgeons could draw lines on their patients' skin. Obviously, the line produced by this pencil had to be precise and adhere to the skin well. In other words, it had the ideal attributes of an eyebrow pencil! Its only drawback was its length: but resourceful women simply shortened it to fit inside their handbags. What started off with inexplicably high sales of a product intended for a relatively small target group, was to be the beginning of career in cosmetics that continues to this day. It was not until the 1970s that the company really intensified its efforts to expand this product division. Modern management methods were introduced, and henceforth the philosophy has been:"Customers first"! Since that first successful product, many more developments from Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics have shaped the industry, and the company has become the partner of cosmetics manufacturers of world-wide renown. As a private-label manufacturer, however, it produces exclusively as a contract manufacturer and has no brand of its own. One glance at the current balance sheet will suffice to show just how successful this concept has been to this very day: approx. 60 percent of the company's total turnover was made in the cosmetics unit in the 2000/01 financial year.
Special corporate structures, more precisely manufacturing according to a system known as the "fractal factory", have been a major factor in this success. Designed by the Frauenhofer Institute, this system was introduced at Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics in the late 1980s. Small teams are given the responsibility for certain groups of products. What advantages does this give us? On the one hand, the employees identify more strongly with their products - through greater responsibility, which naturally also makes their daily work more enjoyable. On the other hand, customers benefit from fast and flexible co-operation thanks to flat hierarchies. Customer satisfaction therefore is the benchmark for the success of the company. In the recent past Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics has received two awards for this approach: "Best Factory" (1998, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and second place as "Best Company" (1999, Wirtschaftswoche).
Comprehensive Product range
Our product range has long encompassed the whole spectrum of decorative make-up: concealers, eyebrow pencils, eyeliners and khol, eye shadow, rouge, lip-liners and lipsticks, body art (temporary tattoo), touch-up for hair or nail whitener. With over 10,000 colours and a wide variety of textures and production processes, there are no limits to the flights of the imagination they make possible. And every day they are joined by new customer-specific developments; in short, the products are as diverse as the women who use them. The basic models - pens with twist mechanism - have vivid names, like Slim, Slumbo, Jumbo, Biggi, Dipliner and Matic. A selection of all kinds of applicators and caps rounds off the product range.
Meeting our customers' needs: wide-ranging service
Regular presentations of new products, a colour service ("Fashion Colour") and even complete product concepts are all part of the range of customer services with which Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics goes well beyond the traditional role of contract manufacturer. For smaller companies in particular, this means vital support in terms of marketing. After all, the lead time for coming fashion trends alone is one and a half years.
Think-Tank: Tomorrow Cosmetics
Especially in the very fast-moving decorative cosmetics sector, customer loyalty and satisfaction have a very important role to play. Consistently high quality has to be maintained regardless of the greater speed and flexibility required of today's production and delivery systems. Traditional German virtues, such as thoroughness and great technical know-how, are very good basic qualifications in this respect.
Beyond that, in order to be well-equipped to meet our customers' constantly growing requirements in the future, the company decided to invest approx. DM27m in its own future in 1997. The result was what we call the "Technikum", a centre where we can concentrate much more intensively on research and development. Undisturbed by the day-to-day business, the "Tomorrow Cosmetics" division focuses exclusively on research into and development of new products, substances and production processes. Highly qualified staff from our chemical and technical departments not only work together in close proximity but also co-operate hand-in-hand on the respective projects - which is something of a novelty in our industry. In addition, there are regular innovation meetings. Project teams then implement the decisions taken and assume responsibility for the entire process.
This is just one of many examples of how Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics has enjoyed years of success in the global market thanks to commitment, inventiveness and intelligent processes.
Schwan-STABILO Cosmetics is the only supplier in this market with a network of branches in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. This guarantees, on the one hand, local market access without import barriers or exchange rate risks to all the world's major economic regions; on the other, it opens up completely new perspectives regarding low-cost mass production.
Yet despite all the expansion plans, our headquarters in Heroldsberg by Nuremberg will continue to play a leading role in the future, especially when it comes to working towards greater international success - and, of course, in the service of female beauty - with all our know-how, with great commitment and with the desire to take up new challenges!