The Häfele Story

  • Häfele Australia History

    1977 - 2014

  • How it all began

    1923 - 1944

  • Reconstruction

    1945 - 1959

  • Modern times

    1960 - 1979

  • Growth

    1980 - 1999

  • Häfele today

    2000 - present

1977

The beginning - Häfele Australia

Konrad Hengstler is appointed Sales Representative for Häfele Australia.
He initially works from home, and stocks a small amount of the most popular items in his garage. All other orders are shipped and delivered direct from Germany.

1981-1989

Nissan Civillian 'Travelling Showroom'

1981
Acquisition of Schneider in Kenzingen.

1982
Häfele Australia Pty.Ltd. is founded with its headquarters in Mordialloc.

1985
Häfele celebrates the opening of the first South Australia office in Underdale, SA.
In the same year, Häfele opens its first New South Wales office in Lidcombe, NSW.

1986
The Nissan Civilian 'Travelling Showroom' is fitted with the latest hardware technology, heads to the most remote areas of Australia.

1988
Häfele opens its first Western Australia office in Malaga, WA. 

1989
Häfele's Queensland office is opened in Coopers Plains, QLD.

1991-1993

Häfele Australia's New Head Office is Established

1991
Häfele Australia becomes a smoke-free workplace.

1992
Häfele Australia reaches 10years and celebrates with all staff in King Island.

1993
Häfele Australia's new headquarters in Dandenong is established.

The inaugural Newsletter for Häfele and Häfele New Zealand staff named 'Connection' was published.

1994-1999

Konrad Hands Over the Reigns to Peter Farrugia

1995

Häfele obtains ISO 9001 certification.

1996

Häfele New Zealand opens a Christchurch Office to service the South Island.

1998

Konrad Hengstler hands over the reins to Peter Farrugia, who had been Managing Director of Häfele New Zealand for 10 years.

The first 'The Complete Häfele' Furniture Fittings is published inhouse.

1999

Häfele equips all Account Managers with laptops.

Häfele New Zealand celebrates 10 years and completion of their new Head Office in Auckland.

2000-2003

'TWINS' Released

2000

The Häfele+ Catalogue is, is published inhouse by Häfele Australia.

2001

The Sydney office is opened in Pyrmont, NSW.

The new W.A. Distribution Centre is opened in Malaga, WA.

Our first website is launched.

2002

The Adelaide Office and Design Centre is opened in Adelaide, SA.

Häfele New Zealand celebrates the opening of the Design Centre in Wellington.

Häfele Australia celebrates its 20th year in operation and takes all staff to Queensland for the celebration.

2003

The official launch of the Häfele 'Twins' Catalogue. The biggest ever release in Häfele Australia opens its new Sydney Office/Distribution Centre in Wetherill Park, NSW.

 

2004-2006

'KONG' is Born

2004

The Canberra Design Centre is opened in Kingston, ACT.

Häfele Australia's Production department is moved to 'TopCo' at No.1 Monterey Road,
Dandenong, VIC.

2005

The Häfele logo changes and the slogan becomes "Finding Better Ways".

The Melbourne Design Centre is opened.

2006

20 Years after the first mobile showroom 'KONG' is born in Häfele Australia. Fitted with the latest in Furniture and Architectural Hardware. 'KONG' travels all over Australia. 

The Tasmanian sales office is opened in Launceston.

Häfele New Zealand opens its first Design Centre in Auckland.

Häfele Australia celebrates the opening of 'Häfele Home' the first retail based showroom located in Newstead QLD. 

2007-2008

Häfele Australia Celebrates 25 Years in Operation

2007

Häfele reaches 25 years and celebrates with all staff in the 'Red Centre' of Australia.

The Newcastle Design Centre is opened in Newcastle, NSW.

The Brisbane Design Centre is opened.

2008

The inaugural 'The Complete Häfele' Architectural Hardware Catalogue is published and released.

The second Tasmanian office is opened in Hobart.

2009-2010

Häfele Australia Celebrates the Opening of QLD new Sales and Distribution Office

2009

The Canberra Design Centre is re-located to Fyshwick, ACT.

Häfele acquires Huwil in Budapest Hungry to add to its production capabilities.

'KONG is redesigned, re-fitted and ready to travel around Australia again.

2010

The opening of the Queensland Sales and Distribution Office is celebrated this year.

Häfele Home is relocated to South Brisbane, QLD.

The opening of the Perth Design Centre is celebrated. 

2011

"Functionality for You"

Häfele changes its claim to "Functionality for You"

Furniture has to suit the people who use it. Its role should be to simplify daily life and add greater convenience, not only in the office but within our own homes.

Among experts in the field, “Häfele Functionality” has become synonymous with greater convenience and pioneering ideas for living, working and leisure, and underpins the company’s hardware technology credentials in the fields of furniture construction, in intelligent application of the electronic locking and access control Dialock, in optimum office organization and in innovative storage space management.

Häfele Australia establishes its retail division.

SAP Business software is implemented, to improve service and efficiency.

2012

Häfele Australia Launches iPad app.

At AWISA 2012 Häfele Australia launches the Häfele catalogue app. The first of it's kind within the industry. Users can download all the catalogues they want, all stored in this simple to use, light to carry app.

Häfele Australia celebrates 30 years in operation and releases the 30th Anniversary edition of 'The complete Häfele' Furniture Fittings Catalogue.

 

2013

Celebrating 90 Years Worldwide

Häfele celebrates its 90th year in operation. From its humble beginnings in 1923, to now global leader in the hardware industry.

Häfele establishes and implements the new Global Brand Identity. Our core values become: Passionately Customer Focused and Visionary Entrepreneurial Spirit.

'KONG' is redesigned, re-fitted and ready to travel around Australia again.

Häfele Australia expands its logistical reach, with a mega Distribution Centre DC1 in Dandenong. 

2014

Sliding and Folding Doors for Furniture and Buildings Catalogue Released

The new Sliding and Folding Doors For Furniture and Buildings Catalogue is released. The first since the "The Complete Häfele Sliding and Folding" 2003.

Häfele's flagship new Corporate Design Showroom is opened at Head Office Dandenong. All showrooms nationwide will be derived from this design.

Häfele Australia expands its logistical reach, with a second mega Distribution Centre DC2 in Dandenong. 

2015-2016

The Häfele engineered MX Drawer System

2015

Häfele Australia launches their brand new vehicle branding.

Tasmania relocates and opens their brand new showroom in Hobart.

2016

Häfele Australia launches their redeveloped website www.hafele.com.au.

The Häfele engineered MX Drawer system is successfully launched at AWISA 2016.

Store in Nagold, 1930
Adolf Häfele, company founder
1923

Established

The founding of Häfele falls into a time of deep reaching political and social upheaval. The Weimar Republic is just a few years old, the consequences of the First World War are still evident everywhere.

1923, when inflation reached its climax in Germany, two young men, Adolf Häfele and Hermann Funk, take their fate into their own hands: on 1st December they set up a speciality store for joinery needs called "Products for the hardware and tool industry" in Aulendorf in Württemberg.

Adolf Häfele and staff in front of the Häfele hardware store in Nagold
1927

Moving to Nagold

The young company specialised in joinery and carpentry supplies and moved to Nagold, the former centre of the furniture production in Württemberg.

From there, Adolf Häfele visited the woodworking shops and furniture manufactures in the area; he noted names and the customers’ requirements and in so doing, established the company's first regional network.

His credo still has central importance today: personal contact, industry and product knowledge, reliability and fast delivery of the required products.

1930

Successful start-up years

Adolf Häfele established the first wholesale warehouse and organised the distribution of the goods. His innovative product assortment and excellent service put him ahead of his time, enabling him to acquire many new clients.

Häfele exhibition stand, Strasbourg, 1933
1933

First exports

Häfele participates in a foreign trade fair in 1933 for the first time and presents "furniture fittings for bedrooms and kitchens" in Strasbourg.

The still young company receives the "Gold Medal" for the configuration of the exhibition stand. The export of the fittings to the neighbouring countries is also starting slowly.

By this point, Häfele employs a sizeable force of travelling salesmen who visit customers at home and in neighbouring countries.

First Häfele furniture fittings catalogue
1939

First catalogue

The first furniture fittings catalogue was published in 1939 with a circulation of 20,000 copies. Distributed in Germany and abroad, it forms the foundation for international sales of Häfele products.

The symbolic cover shows a picture of a globe which became the logo of the rapidly growing business.  

Häfele company buildings at Freudenstädter Straße 70 in Nagold
1945

New beginnings

Adolf Häfele takes his company safely and largely unscathed through the Second World War. After the end of the war, the plight in the country is great, however, the reconstruction results in an active demand for fittings and joinery needs. Things are quickly moving forward again. In February 1946, Walther Thierer, Häfele's nephew, enters the company.

1948

25 years of Häfele

In October 1948, Häfele celebrates its 25th anniversary. At this time, the company is well positioned: with a total of 29 employees and revenue rising to nearly two million DM.

Walter Thierer
1949

Change in management

Company founder Adolf Häfele passed away in 1949, only four years after the end of the Second World War. Right in the middle of the reconstruction efforts in Germany, his 26 year old nephew Walter Thierer takes over the management of the company with the support of the Häfele and Thierer family shareholders.

Road sale after a major fire in 1950
1950

Cornerstone of modernism

The year 1950 begins with a disaster, however one that turned out for the best: a fire destroys the company building during the night of New Year's Eve. But Walther Thierer acts quickly: first, a road sale bridges the emergency and the transactions are resumed in makeshift barracks. At the same time, the foundation for today's headquarters in Nagold is laid. The result is a new building with offices and a warehouse space totalling 2,500 square metres.

Production of special fittings for furniture ornaments and brass grills
1954

Entry into production

In April 1954, Häfele started his own production of special fittings for furniture ornaments and brass grills. Demand for the products quickly grows so much that the production area must be expanded several times.

Nagold distribution centre, 1974
The first foreign subsidiary is founded in Kreuzlingen
1960

A spirit of optimism

In the economic miracle years following World War II, Häfele first primarily serves the domestic market.

But it's only a matter of time before returning to the activities abroad. In 1964, Häfele took advantage of the spirit of optimism of the 1960s and founded the first foreign subsidiary in Switzerland.

Häfele exhibition bus
1966

Häfele exhibition bus

The export department is developed in Nagold and a company-owned sales organisation for France, "Häfele France GmbH & Co." is founded.

The travelling activities of the sales pioneers in Nagold become even more important and the first mobile Häfele exhibition departs on tour. In the following years, the bus also serves as an exhibition stand abroad.

The Complete Häfele
1971

The Complete Häfele

"The Complete Häfele" is published for the first time and is the largest reference tool for furniture fittings in the world.

The Complete Häfele offers more than 25,000 articles for sale, but also contains detailed drawings and installation instructions – not only a reference book, but an instructional textbooks as well.

1972

Across the Big Pond

A large exhibition bus makes a 12,000-mile trip through the furniture centres of the USA. This is the beginning of Häfele's success story in the United States: In 1973, Häfele America Co. is founded.

These mobile exhibits have been deployed successfully in other countries and are often the first step in opening a market. By the early 70s Häfele achieved export levels of 40% and became one of the pioneers and founders of the export nation Germany.

The first editions of The Complete Häfele are published in English, French and Spanish
1973

The Complete Häfele

"The Complete Häfele" appears in English, the world's lingua franca, as well as in French as "Le Grand Häfele" and in Spanish as "El Gran Häfele".

Today this comprehensive reference tool for hardware technology is available in more than 24 languages, along with many special editions aimed at specific target groups and countries.

Distribution centre in Nagold
1974

Start of in-house development

Häfele launches an in-house development department. The company quickly causes a sensation by producing innovative hardware and exerts a lasting influence on furniture construction with its successful solutions.

The same year, the distribution centre in Nagold is ready to begin operations, laying the foundation for Häfele's logistics services. With a high-rise storage facility in which track guided vehicles pick products off the shelves, Häfele was a quick and reliable logistics partner, even at that time.

Establishment of national Häfele sales offices
Company building of Häfele Malaysia
1980

Additional foreign subsidiaries

Häfele establishes the third subsidiary in the United Kingdom. Then it's blow by blow: Subsidiaries are opened in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan... A veritable founding boom sets in.

Today there is no continent that Häfele is not represented by its own subsidiary or a sales office.

Hans Nock
1982

Lasting values

In 1982 Hans Nock, export manager in Nagold since the 1960s, takes over management of the company and becomes "the Engine" of Häfele’s foreign business. Growth is successful thanks to the power of the family company and its earnest efforts. The export share rises to 70 percent.

Minifix connector system
1983

Minifix

The thorough understanding of customer needs allows Häfele to become a problem solver for many challenges. One such example is Häfele's development of the Minifix connector system with the centric ball principle, which continues to be successful around the world, even today. The small Minifix revolutionises the industry and accelerates the growth of the newly created RTA furniture sector.

Häfele's own production plant Häfele Berlin now produces 500 million Minifix in 30 versions.

Häfele sales office in Kaltenkirchen
1985

Establishment of national sales offices

From the beginning, Häfele focuses on its proximity to customers. Visiting partners on-site and individual conversations are an essential part of the company culture. Investment is made to expand sales offices in Germany starting in 1985. Shorter distances to customers, smaller sales units and personal contact is the new motto. Integrated showrooms make a visit to the sales offices particularly interesting and are very popular with customers.

Häfele headquarters in Nagold
1996

Expansion of Häfele Nagold

Häfele headquarters in Nagold is also expanded. Häfele constructs a new building on an adjacent, 5,000 square metre lot at Adolf-Häfele-Straße 1.

Today, a large and modern showroom, conference rooms, offices, data centre and a test workshop are located in the award-winning building. The company's strategies are developed, and the product ranges are selected and documented at headquarters. Central IT is located here, and from here, the global sales organizations are controlled.

Häfele Argentina
1997

Latin America

The founding wave covers the entire American continent. It is started in 1997 with a subsidiary in Mexico. Brazil follows in 1998 and Argentina in 1999.

Häfele headquarters in Nagold
2002

China and Eastern Europe

While the last "open spots" on the map of Western Europe were developed by Häfele during the late 90s and at the beginning of the new millennium, the company now puts out its feelers to Eastern Europe and China. In 2002 Häfele establishes the first subsidiary in Eastern Europe, in Poland. Turkey and China follow in 2005; Russia in 2006; Ukraine and Romania in 2009; and Kazakhstan, Serbia and the Czech Republic in 2010.

Sybille Thierer
2003

The courage to be modern

Sibylle Thierer, daughter of Walther Thierer, assumes responsibility for the company at the beginning of the new millennium and represents the third generation of family management.

She paves the way for modern times by focusing all decisions on the benefits of innovative ideas and products.

Häfele 360° Project Service
2006

360° Project Service

Häfele's 360° Project Service has formed the foundation of the ongoing, successful business with architects, investors and builders since 2006. It encompasses manufacturer-independent procurement of architectural hardware and project fittings, the "StarTec" product range, the Dialock electronic access control system, countless planning manuals, and international project coordination by Häfele project managers.

Häfele Functionality
2007

Häfele Functionality

Häfele embraces the marketing strategy "The Innovator of Functionality" and develops new ways to lead the way. "Functionality" becomes a quality seal in itself that allows cabinet makers and joiners to brand their own perfect functional solutions. The same year, the first "Functionality World" exhibition opens in Nagold. Two years later, the first edition of "Häfele Home" magazine appears, containing innovative furniture and living ideas. The magazine inspires designers, architects, cabinet maker and joiners.

Häfele Engineering
2011

Häfele Engineering

After establishing the 360° Project Service, Häfele bundles all of its sales activities aimed at the furniture industry together in the newly established, international sales organisation Häfele Engineering GmbH & Co KG.  It focuses exclusively on meeting the requirements of the furniture industry – along the entire value chain.

Now

Häfele today

With a company history of more than 90 years, the Häfele family company is a global leader with regard to furniture fittings, architectural hardware and electronic locking systems. Häfele employs more than 7.100 employees and has 37 subsidiaries, as well as many additional dealerships throughout the world.

Do you want to find out more about the company of today?

Read more in our company profile.

Häfele Head Office

Häfele Australia 
8 Monterey Road
Dandenong VIC 3175
Australia 

Contact

Tel:      1300 659 728
Fax:    +61 3 9212 2001
E-mail: info@hafele.com.au 

About Häfele

Häfele is an international company providing hardware and fitting systems and electronic access control systems. Around the world, customers from the furniture industry, dealers, joiners, and cabinet makers, as well as architects, planners and builders rely on Häfele's expertise and performance.