03/25/2021 Liebherr invests in its Ehingen site

  • Major project at Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH – the company is restructuring its internal material flows and processes
  • Liebherr is investing in its future in Ehingen in the form of building work and replacing its ERP system

Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH is making itself fit for the future. The company is investing a sum in the high two-figure millions to make its internal processes future proof. The WeLog Project includes building work at the Ehingen site, the restructuring of the material flows, a new building for the Repair Centre South Germany in the Ehingen suburb of Berg and the introduction of a new ERP system. This major project is scheduled for conclusion in 2024.

Ehingen / Donau (Germany), 25 March 2021 – There have been many changes since Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH was founded in 1969 by Hans Liebherr. The company at its Ehingen site has grown continuously and now has a workforce of over 3500 people and a factory area of around 900,000 square metres. But even after more than 50 years of successful history, a company cannot afford to rest on its laurels. Despite ongoing modernisation work, it has complex structures and a warehouse which is no longer state of the art and must be replaced as a matter of urgency.

The work to reroute pipelines for the new production warehouse is gathering pace.

The work to reroute pipelines for the new production warehouse is gathering pace.

The work to reroute pipelines for the new production warehouse is gathering pace.

The WeLog Project, short for “Plant development logistics” is the action Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH has taken to face up to this challenge. Its aim is to ensure that materials are stored and transported efficiently and smartly. Internal procedures will be simplified to ensure that production can continue without interruption in the future. This will also result in further improvements to the quality of mobile and crawler cranes. Production Director Ulrich Heusel underlines the necessity of the project as follows: “Currently around 2000 mobile and crawler cranes leave our plant in Ehingen every year. That is an extremely high number, and represents almost a two-fold increase over the last 20 years. Now there is an urgent necessity to adjust our structures and material flows at the plant accordingly. We produce at a high tempo, but we nonetheless have to remain flexible as some of our customers want short term modifications to their cranes – depending on the order content. And we can only guarantee this flexibility, whilst maintaining our high quality and assembly speed, by making these investments.”

This mammoth project will mean changes for many of the personnel. For the management and project team it is therefore particularly important to include all the employees in the process, as well as keeping them informed and communicating transparently with them. “It is very important for us to emphasise that the ‘Plant development logistics’ project will not threaten any jobs, and in fact it is more likely to create additional jobs in the long term”, says CFO Daniel Pitzer. Liebherr uses three colours to ensure greater clarity within the WeLog Project. Red stands for standard production, blue stands for everything related to customer service and spare parts, whilst crane repairs at the new Repair Centre South Germany in Berg will be shown in green.

The work on the foundations for the new spare parts and shipment warehouse has started with the insertion of 465 auger piles. Energy for this warehouse will be generated using geothermics in the future.

The work on the foundations for the new spare parts and shipment warehouse has started with the insertion of 465 auger piles. Energy for this warehouse will be generated using geothermics in the future.

The work on the foundations for the new spare parts and shipment warehouse has started with the insertion of 465 auger piles. Energy for this warehouse will be generated using geothermics in the future.

Construction projects at the plant are already underway

Liebherr has already taken the first steps for the project – building work is already underway at high speed on the factory site in Ehingen. The existing old main warehouse will be split into a warehouse for spare parts and a warehouse for standard production, involving the erection of several new buildings. This will enable procedures to be planned perfectly in the future and problems to be avoided as what has been a single warehouse in the past will be split into two sections, therefore guaranteeing greater availability of components.

Work on building the new spare parts warehouse started in autumn 2020. Extensive work on the foundation is required to create the highly modern complex, consisting of a truck gate, two-storey hall area, high-bay shelving warehouse and small parts warehouse. Large drilling rigs from Liebherr’s sister plant in Nenzing (Austria) drilled exactly 465 holes for auger piles. These are anchored in the foundation soil at depths of between 18 and 33 metres. This will also make it possible to generate energy for the new building using geothermics. The new spare parts and shipment warehouse is due to be completed and fully functional by 2024.

Liebherr is also building a separate warehouse for parts required for the standard production of mobile and crawler cranes. This warehouse will be divided between two buildings. One building will be used as a pallet warehouse, whilst a small parts warehouse and a so-called “goods supermarket” will be established in the second building. The first parts from the existing warehouse will be transferred to the new standard production warehouse before the end of 2021. In addition to erecting the new buildings, Liebherr has also had to make significant changes to the road system within the plant to access the construction sites whilst maintaining all the current procedures. “When you look at everything going on at the plant at the moment in terms of new buildings and processes, we can definitely say that we are making the Ehingen site fit for the future. And the Liebherr family is spending in the high two-figure millions for this purpose. This is a clear signal to the whole workforce and the Town of Ehingen”, explains Pitzer.

The construction work for the new Repair Centre South Germany in Ehingen / Berg is underway.

The construction work for the new Repair Centre South Germany in Ehingen / Berg is underway.

The construction work for the new Repair Centre South Germany in Ehingen / Berg is underway.

Construction of the new Repair Centre South Germany

Earthworks were also commenced in the Ehingen suburb of Berg at the start of 2021 – the location for the new Repair Centre South Germany. “By outsourcing the repair centre, we will be able to significantly improve the services we offer to our customers, particularly in southern Germany. We are also expecting to be able to take on service orders, which in the past we were unable to accept due to restricted capacities”, says Managing Director Sales, Christoph Kleiner. “Furthermore, this will create some of the space we urgently require for the new warehouse building at the main factory site.”

The relocation and commissioning of the new repair and administration building in Berg is scheduled for mid-2022.

Software migration with new ERP system

In addition to all this building work, Liebherr is also working flat out on the introduction of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. An ERP system can be described as the heart of the company. It comprises a large number of inter-communicating IT systems or databases within a company. This highly complex production and planning system controls the whole business and also manages all the master data required for the task. The new system, InforLN, will initially be introduced in the Customer Service Section. This change is scheduled for mid-2022. The new Repair Centre South Germany will also use this new software package as soon as it starts operations. By mid-2024, all the divisions that make up Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH will have been migrated to the new InforLN software package. At the same time, InforLN will also be introduced at the Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH subsidiaries based in Germany, Oberhausen and Alt-Bork.