by Susanne Dickstein for Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, original to be found here.
The whole of Upper Austria is eagerly waiting for the return of the summer. The whole of Upper Austria? Not really because the 460 Fischer employees are impatiently waiting for the upcoming winter. The factory is operating at full speed.
Gerhard Rieder is ahead of his time. The product manager for the Alpine ski manufacturer Rieder Fischer has already completed the collection for the winter season 2012/13. Now, the patterns are being produced and they will be presented to the Fischer sales team in the autumn. "That’s when the quiet time of the year begins for me," says Rieder. But the middle of summer is not only stressful for product developers.
Production work at the headquarters in Ried has been operating at full speed in recent weeks. 60 percent of the goods for the coming winter season are already ready. "Shipping overseas starts in August, the European sporting goods retailers are next in line,” says CEO Franz Föttinger.
The pre-orders to the ski producer were received from March to May. And it is looking promising for the upcoming winter season: The order books currently show an increase of 30 percent over the previous year.
For the current fiscal year (year end on 28th February 2012) Föttinger expects a sales increase of 15 percent to €183 million. About 60 percent of sales come from Alpine Skiing, the rest from Cross-Country Skiing.
On the basis of the pre-orders in the spring, Fischer extrapolated the volumes to start the production and balance out any production peaks.
The employees benefit from a flexible work schedule based on annual working time, which was introduced two years ago. During the so-called XL-phase in the summer the factory staff are working two shifts of up to ten hours a day. "It would be optimal to produce all summer long," says Föttinger. For the team's sake, a two-week break has been scheduled however.
3000 pairs of racing skis
Before Herbert Hein goes on holiday, he will have prepared about 2000 of the 3000 pairs of skis he will finish his year. With 27 years of experience, he has worked for nine years in the racing division of the ski manufacturer. He is responsible for the skis that Ivica Kostelic and Nicole Hosp will hopefully win on often during the coming season.
Hein is trying to meet the special needs of the 45 athletes who ski Fischer at the European Cup and World Cup levels. And even though he has given up skiing decades ago, "I do not miss a ski race on TV," he says. No wonder, hence, that Hein keeps his fingers crossed for Kostelic rather than for Benni Raich.
Product Manager Gerhard Rieder does not even get lazy during the holidays. "After the collection is before the collection," he says as his thoughts on the beach will circle around the skis for the 2013/14 season.
Founded in 1924, the family enterprise is a world market leader in Nordic Skiing and one of the world's largest ski manufacturers. Headquarterd in Ried, production also takes place in Mukachevo (Ukraine). For the financial year 2011/12 sales of €183 million are expected The group also includes sportswear producer Löffler, also based in Ried.
Original courtesy of Oberösterreichische Nachrichten