When Eugen Nägele goes home to Mindelheim after almost 2,000 days in China, he’ll be able to look back on, among other things, four productive years as Plant Manager at the GROB plant in Dalian, with many milestones and firsts achieved – but also on the very successful development of our Asian GROB plant in the north of the People’s Republic of China.
To further expand GROB’s presence in China’s booming domestic market, in addition to the already well-established sales organization with offices in Beijing and Shanghai, the fourth GROB plant was built at Dalian in Liaoning province. The foundation stone was laid on April 8, 2011 and in the summer, just one hundred days after start of construction, the local team was celebrating completion of the plant. In parallel with the construction of the plant, a 50-strong German-Chinese organization team led by Eugen Nägele set to work on developing the organizational and operational structures the plant would need. On June 18, 2012 the GROB plant in Dalian was opened. At the opening ceremony, Eugen Nägele highlighted the importance of the Chinese plant’s strategic orientation within the GROB coordinated production system.
And they had set themselves some goals, which included the fast and efficient training of young Chinese people, a high level of vertical integration, and the desire that all departments, from Sales, Machining Shop, Production and Design right up to After Sales Service, be consolidated under a single roof, GROB China, with the offices in Beijing and Shanghai.
On the production side, new milestones were continually reached: on November 26, five months after the official opening, the first two machines in the G 300 series were shipped. Two years to the day after the plant’s official opening, the 100th machine, a GA350, was shipped, outperforming the original production plan by almost one hundred per cent – a situation which made the second phase of construction, in which production and logistics capacity was more than doubled to almost 27,000 m², essential. Exactly as planned, this investment project was completed in August 2014.
But increasing capacities were not the only focus of the plant expansion. In the first four years production was increased by a factor of 2.5, the error rate in the shop floor area was reduced to 0.5 per cent and the averaged technical availability of all production equipment was increased to 99.7 per cent. Another success story that deserves a special mention was the taking on, in summer 2015, of the first group of 25 apprentices who had completed their training as industrial mechanics or industrial electronics technicians at GROB Dalian. Other firsts in 2015 included the shipping of the first processing centers, the introduction of the assembly technology, and the newly launched reconditioning and conversion service for used GROB machines in China. All these events reflect not only the diversity of the newest plant in Asia, but also the enormous development work that has been achieved in this period.
Eugen Nägele is therefore handing over to his successor, Werner Müller, a GROB plant that is ideally positioned; we wish Werner all the best for his start in Dalian, China.