One of ten
In 1974, Salha Jelib was looking for a job. The young woman went to the public authorities looking for work and was invited to a selection procedure. The DRÄXLMAIER Group – at that time still a manageably sized company of around 130 employees – was planning to open up its very first foreign site close to where she was then living and was looking for competent workers. Salha joined some connectors and cables, thus passing the recruitment test, and together with nine other workers received a permanent contract with DRÄXLMAIER.
Ten people in production
From this time onwards, the young woman, whose personnel number was ten, worked in Ksibet Sousse, a small town in Tunisia in which Fritz and Lisa Dräxlmaier had leased a hall. Salha worked in on-board wiring systems production where she and her colleagues made and packed wiring harnesses for BMW and then loaded them onto trucks for shipment to the customer. “At the beginning there were only ten of us, all of us women. There was a lot to do and we often started earlier and worked longer, but we had a great time. We had lunch together and the atmosphere at that time was simply wonderful”, said Salha today about her early days at DRÄXLMAIER.
From an employee to a supervisor
The young woman was quick to learn and was soon allowed to operate the only machine at that time in production. Fritz and Lisa Dräxlmaier senior expanded production in Tunisia and hired more employees. Salha proved to be a valuable employee over the years that followed, acquired more skills in the course of time and was the first woman to be promoted to the level of supervisor. “As the team leader, I was able to pass on my knowledge to my colleagues and that gave me a lot of pleasure”, said Salha. In 1983, she was the only woman who was allowed to accompany the site manager of Tunisia at that time to an award in Germany. This was a great honor for a Tunisian, who can still speak a few words of German.
Move to Sousse
The number of employees gradually increased. In the early 1990’s, around 80 people worked at the plant in Ksibet Sousse. Since 1991, the plants in Tunisia have not only been making on-board wiring harnesses, but also interior products. The second site was set up in nearby Zaouiet Sousse and, under the name of UATS, is used to make interior products. But Salha stuck with wiring harness production. When it became apparent in 1991 that production in Ksibet Sousse had become too small, a new site was built, this time directly in the port of Sousse. For 16 years, Salha worked at the new production site known in Tunisia as METS (Manufacture Electro-Technique de Sousse).
45-year anniversary at the site
In 2007, Salha went into retirement after working for DRÄXLMAIER for 33 years. But her family is obviously skilled in working with cables: Her niece now works in production in METS. And Salha herself still lives very close to DRÄXLMAIER’s first foreign site that will be celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.
The DRÄXLMAIER Group supplies premium automobile manufacturers worldwide with complex wiring harness systems, central electrical and electronic components, exclusive interiors, and battery systems for electromobility. The combination of core competencies in the interior, electrical, electronic and battery systems areas makes DRÄXLMAIER unique in the industry. The company thereby covers the entire process chain, from the initial idea, through the development and production process, and up to precisely in-sequence delivery of the products to the assembly lines of premium automobile manufacturers. The inventor of the customer-specific wiring harness, the DRÄXLMAIER Group develops pioneering wiring harness technology as well as electrical and electronic components, all directly in-house. These include multi-voltage and high-voltage wiring harness systems, battery management systems and intelligent power distributors. DRÄXLMAIER is working on the future of emission-free mobility with its solution for low-voltage and high-voltage battery systems. As a market leader for interior systems in premium automobiles, the DRÄXLMAIER Group also supplies premium automobile manufacturers with ambient lighting, center consoles, door panels and instrument panels, as well as complete door and cockpit modules.
The DRÄXLMAIER Group is an international automotive supplier with more than 60 sites in over 20 countries. Founded in Germany in 1958, the company employs more than 75,000 employees throughout the world. For the DRÄXLMAIER Group as an owner-managed business, responsible and long-range thinking has always been the basis for economic success. It is therefore a core element of its strategy to design its business and production processes, as well as its products, in a more sustainable manner and in that way to increase the competitiveness of the company on a long-term basis.
In 2019, the DRÄXLMAIER Group generated sales of 4.9 billion euro. Customers of this member of the Top 100 Automotive Suppliers include Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Porsche and Volkswagen, as well as Californian automotive manufacturers.