Three Decades of Dynamic Growth
- U.S. lift truck manufacturer’s main German production centre celebrates 30th anniversary in Roding, Bavaria
- Innovative forklift trucks “made in Germany”
- Vertically integrated manufacturing is recipe for success
Crown is celebrating a European anniversary. For 30 years, the lift-truck manufacturer has been producing highly successful products in the Bavarian town of Roding, Germany. Crown’s European production facility was opened in 1986, and has been steadily expanding ever since. Today, Roding is among the most important production sites in the company’s worldwide network.
Back in 1986, Crown started producing components and the PTH 20 Series hand pallet trucks in Roding. Today, the factory manufactures a comprehensive range of forklift trucks – from power pallet trucks via low-level order pickers through to reach trucks with lift heights of up to 13 metres. Milestones in the 30-year evolution of production operations in Roding include, for example, the start of electric forklift production in 1993, followed one year later by the introduction of WE Series stackers – the first Crown product to be completely developed and manufactured in Germany. Today there are 13 truck series with nearly 100 models built in the factory. One of the key contributors to Crown’s success in Europe is the fact that the development and design teams based in Germany work closely with Crown customers to develop European products for global markets.
However, Roding’s activities are no longer confined to producing robust, efficient lift trucks – the facility is also closely involved in integrating the latest cutting-edge technologies to improve logistics and warehouse processes. A good example of this pioneering technology “made in Germany” is Crown’s QuickPick® Remote order picking technology. The innovative system, which has already won multiple awards, combines a forklift with intuitive remote control via a smart glove. This unique solution streamlines work processes and results in significantly higher productivity in low-level order picking and operator safety. Jumbo Supermarkten, the largest privately-owned supermarket chain in the Netherlands, successfully implemented the system in its distribution centres. “Crown has exceeded our expectations with QuickPick Remote”, Jumbo’s Project Manager, Martijn Vogelzang said. “In our experience, the operators love the fact the system is easy to learn and operate plus it reduces their fatigue levels. The management team are also delighted as we’ve seen significant productivity increases and an increase in staff motivation.”
Products manufactured in Roding have been regular recipients of prestigious awards and accolades. Multiple products have won the GOOD DESIGN Award, the iF Design Award, the International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) and the high-profile IFOY Award. This acclamation serves to underline Crown’s long-standing success formula. “The dynamic development of our Roding facility is proof that our strategy for the last 30 years has worked in Europe”, says Ken Dufford, Crown Vice President Europe. “Today, Roding is all about consistently high manufacturing quality and state-of-the-art production processes.”
Vertical manufacturing depth supports high standards of quality and service
Crown’s ability to manufacture up to 85 per cent of its forklift components provides the perfect basis for optimal control of product quality, cost and service delivery. The use of modular design and common components across the whole lift-truck range means that spare parts are readily available and that Crown is flexible enough to accommodate specific customer requirements. “Roding’s development also proves that systematically pursuing our vertically integrated manufacturing strategy was and still is the right way to go,” explains Mads Andreasen, Director of Manufacturing, who heads the production team in Roding. “This exceptional vertical integration means we can provide our customers with tailor-made solutions that increase their operational productivity and efficiency. In short: if it’s labelled Crown on the outside, it’s got Crown on the inside!”
Customers can also confirm that this is a winning concept. When Stürmer Maschinen set up a new logistics hub, the company took the opportunity to renew its entire forklift fleet. Kilian Stürmer, CEO of Stürmer Maschinen GmbH, decided in favour of a customised combination of Crown forklifts. “We don’t compromise on quality, comfort or safety,” says Stürmer, which is why he wanted to assess the quality of Crown’s production processes for himself before making his final decision. Stürmer greatly appreciates the longevity of the finished components and confirms that “the quality of the individual parts in Crown’s products is first-class. I couldn’t find such high-quality products anywhere else.”
The year 2014 saw another historic milestone, with the opening of a second production plant in Roding. Even from the outside, the new building conveys a powerful sense of high-tech efficiency. And the inside doesn’t disappoint, meeting all the latest production technology benchmarks. Lift-truck components are manufactured in the original plant, while final truck assembly takes place in the expanse of the new production facility. The centrepiece of the new building is a testing area with a 20-metre glass tower, where new trucks are thoroughly tested before they leave the factory.
“The decision to expand our European production facility was a strategic one,” says Ken Dufford. “As a family-run business, we take the long-term view. And in Roding, we have everything we need for the sustainable development of our market position in Europe. Roding lies at the geographical heart of Europe. What’s more, there are plenty of highly qualified, highly motivated specialists available locally. Together, these are ideal prerequisites for further growth. So we are very optimistic about our future development, and look forward to many more years of success in Roding.”
About Crown Equipment Corporation – EMEA
Crown is one of the world’s largest material handling companies with a reputation for award-winning product design, advanced engineering and technology supported by superior after-sales service. Crown’s business philosophy utilises vertically integrated processes to design, manufacture and distribute forward-thinking innovative solutions that improve customers’ productivity and operating efficiency. Crown develops, produces and sells a broad range of forklifts, as well as automation and fleet management technologies.
The company’s global headquarters is located in New Bremen, Ohio, USA, with regional headquarters in Germany, Australia, China and Singapore. Its employees number more than 13,000 worldwide. Crown operates a service and distribution network that exceeds 500 retail locations in over 80 countries. To learn more about Crown’s ideas for helping customers advance the productivity of their operations, visit crown.com.