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Crane Hot Line

Liebherr Invests Millions of Euros to Boost Efficiency, Flexibility at Ehingen

Logistics Center

April 6, 2021 – Liebherr is investing “in the high two-figure millions [of Euros]” to expand, modernize, and reorganize the already-huge factory in Ehingen, Germany, where it designs and manufactures mobile and crawler cranes that are used worldwide.

The company says the changes will make operations more efficient, allow more innovation, provide better customer support, and even improve product quality.

Some of the changes are already under way, with the entire reorganization and updating due for completion in 2024.

Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH has seen many changes since Hans Liebherr founded it in 1969.

Having grown continuously, the Ehingen factory now covers almost 9.7 million sq. ft. and employs more than 3,500 workers.

The company says that despite ongoing modernization, the plant urgently needs updating and reorganizing to become state of the art.

Liebherr’s WeLog Project, short for “Plant development logistics,” aims to ensure that materials are stored and transported efficiently. The project will simplify internal procedures so that production continues uninterrupted in the future.

Liebherr also expects WeLog to further improve the quality of the company’s mobile and crawler cranes.

“Currently, around 2,000 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,” said Production Director Ulrich Heusel. “Now there is an urgent necessity to adjust our structures and material flow at the plant accordingly.”

Heusel added, “We produce at a high tempo, but we nonetheless have to remain flexible. 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 people who work there, so company management are including all the employees in the process and also communicating transparently with them.

“It is very important for us to emphasize that the ‘Plant development logistics’ project will not threaten any jobs, and, in fact, is more likely to create additional jobs in the long term,” said CFO Daniel Pitzer.

Liebherr uses three colors to ensure greater clarity within the WeLog Project. Red stands for standard production. Blue stands for things related to customer service and spare parts. Green shows crane repairs at the new Repair Centre South Germany in Berg.

Construction Already Under Way

Building work is already under way at high speed at the Ehingen factory. The existing main

Spare Parts Center Foundation

warehouse will be split into a warehouse for spare parts and a warehouse for standard production, involving erection of several new buildings. The change will separate production parts from service parts, guaranteeing greater availability of components.

Construction of the new spare-parts warehouse started last fall. Extensive work on the foundation is required to create the modern complex, consisting of a truck gate, two-story hall, high-bay shelving warehouse, and small-parts warehouse.

Large drilling rigs from Liebherr’s sister plant in Nenzing, Austria, drilled 465 holes for auger piles. These are anchored in the earth at depths from 59’ to 108’. This also will 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.

The separate warehouse that will house the parts needed to manufacture mobile and crawler cranes will be divided between two buildings.

One building will hold components on pallets. The other will hold a small-parts warehouse and a “goods supermarket.” Parts now stored in the factory’s existing warehouse will start being transferred to the new standard production warehouse before the end of this year.

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 while 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,” said Pitzer.

New Repair Centre South Germany

Site of New South Germany Repair Shop in Berg

At the start of this year, site preparation started in the Ehingen suburb of Berg for the new Repair Centre South Germany.

“By outsourcing the repair center, we will be able to significantly improve the services we offer to our customers, particularly in southern Germany,” said Christoph Kleiner, managing director of sales. “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.”

Kleiner added that locating the new repair center remotely will help free space at the Ehingen factory to build the new warehouse. Relocation and commissioning of the new repair and administration building in Berg is scheduled for mid-2022.

New ERP System

In addition to all the construction, Liebherr is also working flat out on introducing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. An ERP system comprises several inter-communicating information technology systems or databases within a company. 

This highly complex production and planning system controls the whole business and also manages all the required data. 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 when it starts operation.

By mid-2024, all the divisions that make up Liebherr-Werk Ehingen will use the new InforLN software. At the same time, InforLN will also be introduced at the Liebherr-Werk Ehingen subsidiaries in Oberhausen and Alt-Bork, Germany.


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