To reposition Mattex as a globally competitive
supplier of mattress fabric through an international technology partnership

revenue growth

In 2010, Mattex entered into a joint venture with Belgium-based manufacturer, DesleeClama, and rebranded to DesleeMattex. This partnership opened up access to new technology, international benchmarking and best practice processes to enhance business and production efficiencies. Going beyond its technology investment, DesleeClama also assisted with the creation of a goal-orientated culture – all of which contribute to an exponential increase in production outputs. The success of DesleeMattex is therefore attributable to a holistic approach where physical, environmental and social aspects were addressed and changed. DesleeMattex is positioned to operate on a global platform, but is focused as a local partner to its customers.

Group strategy


The only mattress ticking manufacturer in Africa.

Improved management and production processes increased product output

High barriers
to entry

International joint venture allowed investment in new technology equipment and global best practice

Adding value through

New technology
and access to international design support increased range and quality

Water and

Focus on training and skills development throughout the business brought about a cultural behaviour change
and an in-depth understanding of the business on all levels


A new partnership was entered into in 2010 with the sale of 40% of Mattex to DesleeClama and a complete refocus of the business.

With access to more than 18 designers worldwide and a library of over 6 000 designs, DesleeMattex is at the forefront of the latest trends in sleep solutions offered to the market. Innovation, design and range development are at the core of its product delivery. Uniquely developed digital tools assist the sales team to market products by developing virtual beds and customised fabrics to meet customers’ requirements.

Training and development was central to implementing the business’s ‘geared for growth’ strategy and long-term sustainability. In 2013 DesleeMattex opened its own onsite SETA-approved training centre.

While building and marketing a new and improved brand and product range, management focused on changing the working culture by including and engaging all employees in the strategy. Everyone became a change-maker, working together and taking responsibility for his/her contribution to the business.

World-class manufacturing principles were used as the blueprint and benchmark to measure performance.

Best practice and new production floor layouts were implemented, together with clearing out equipment that was labour and maintenanceintensive.

New technology circular knitting machines were installed and the weaving production lines were reorganised. The latest addition to the factory was the installation of eight Terrot machines.

Results and benefits

In the DesleeClama group, DesleeMattex is the only Africa-based mattress fabric manufacturing company that supplies premium woven and knitted textiles to the mattress manufacturing industry in Africa.

All production outputs are measured and benchmarked weekly against those of the Deslee group of companies. Manufacturing efficiencies more than doubled since 2010, with a focus on units per man-hour. This has led to production that is now well in line with international standards. The newly installed 120 feeder Terrot knitting machines are also unique to Deslee and have doubled them knitting textile output.

Running at full capacity, the factory has a production output of 7 million metres of woven fabric and 3.7 million metres of knitted fabric. Exports constitute 6% of revenue, specifically supplying into Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana. The mix of local, export and intra-group customers enables the business to deliver into these various markets based on their seasonal product demands.

Access to central procurement based in Europe assists with the sourcing and standardisation of materials and quality, and reduces costs in raw material and equipment parts. This allows the factory to remain competitive.

More than 50 unemployed students have attended the NQF level 2 learnership course. The company’s growth since inception of the joint venture and new strategy implementation allowed DesleeMattex to employ most of the successfully qualified learners.

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