Federal Statistical Office reported that VDMA or the German manufacturers of woodworking machines achieved a new Production record of 3.37 billion euros in 2019 coupled with a small plus of 0.6 percent. While growth rates of 14, 5 and 2 percent were achieved in the first three quarters of 2019, production went down by 10 percent in the fourth quarter. This reflected the lower order activity in the previous months in manufacturing in Germany. “Overall, we can be very satisfied with the result for 2019. Whether the minus 10 percent production value forecast in September last year will remain unchanged for the current year 2020 is more than questionable at the moment,” said Dr. Bernhard Dirr,
VDMA represents around 3300 German and European machine and plant engineering companies. The industry stands for innovation, export orientation, medium-sized companies and employs around four million people in Europe, more than one million of them in Germany alone
Last year, the export value of German manufacturers declined by 3 percent year-on-year to EUR 2.40 billion. Above all, the losses in the three top markets China (-3 percent), USA (-16 percent) and Poland (-19 percent) contributed significantly to the negative development. German imports also decreased by 5 percent to a value of 556 million euros.
Outlook into the unknown
The extent of the expected drop in sales is hardly foreseeable at the present time and can therefore not be roughly quantified. In any case, the challenges that woodworking machine construction and the entire mechanical engineering industry must face are likely to extend well beyond 2020.
Fortunately, production is still at a relatively high level. It is positive that the supply chains – with a few exceptions – still work quite well in Germany. The delivery of parts from abroad, for example from Poland or Italy, is sometimes difficult.
“We are optimistic about the high global demand for wood products. Be it the increased trend towards timber construction or for affordable furniture for the emerging economies. We work with the material of the future. We are not concerned about the industry. The growth will return ”, Dirr is sure.