German manufacturer builds headquarters in Franklin

German manufacturer builds headquarters in Franklin

Hermle Machine Co., a division of a German manufacturing company, has decided to make Franklin its North American headquarters.
The company dedicated its new headquarters plant at 5100 W. Franklin Dr. on May 1. The plant is a new 15,000-square-foot building that includes a showroom.
Hermle originally had moved to Franklin in leased space at 9600 S. Franklin Dr. from Menomonee Falls in 1997.
"We decided it was time to show our commitment to North America, and so we built our own building in Franklin," said Jean Brzeski, vice president of finance for the firm.
Hermle Machine is a division of Berthold Hermle AG, Gosheim, Germany.
The German company manufactures computer-controlled machining centers for prototype and production applications.
Hermle produces high-tech machining centers that serve the aerospace, medical, automotive, mold-making, tool-making and cutting tool manufacturing industries.
The company’s customers include Sikorski Aircraft, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin and Delta Airlines.
The Franklin office, which has 10 employees, markets and distributes the German-made machines throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico through a network that includes 20 dealers.
"We’re lean and mean, and we handle all of North America with 10 employees," Brzeski said.
Hermle’s agreement with the City of Franklin indicates the company plans to expand in three to five years on the four-acre site.
The new plant includes state-of-the-art audio, visual and communication equipment, an enlarged service and applications department and parts storage space.
Hermle sells 40 to 50 machines per year throughout North America, said Kenneth Merk, executive vice president. Merk declined to disclose the firm’s annual revenues.
Although its customers are manufacturers, the US manufacturing slowdown has not had a substantial adverse effect on Hermle, Merk said.
"It has some, but not to the degree for other tool builders," Merk said. "Even in downturns, technology is required. People need to find a better solution to make parts. This year looks as if we’ll be at somewhat of an equal level of last year, which was a very good year for us."

May 30, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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