Liebherr USA Co. marked a milestone on April 6, as they formally moved in to a newly expanded campus.
The facilities house employees who work in administration, finance, human resources, sales, information technology, marketing, product support, and distribution for nine different product units under the Liebherr USA umbrella.
The move, conducted with enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures in place to ensure the health and safety of the employees, contractors, and the local community, caps a journey that began in July 2018, when members of the Liebherr family, company executives, and Newport News city officials broke ground for the project.
Liebherr opened for business in the United States 50 years ago on October 6, 1970. The existing four-story administration building dates to the early 1970s and was 100% occupied. It will be retained and house employees of Liebherr Mining Equipment. The move to the new campus comes as the company marks 71 years in business overall.
Approximately 500 people work at Liebherr’s Newport News campus. Many of them are now working in the new office, repair shop, and warehouse facilities at 4800 Chestnut Avenue in Newport News.
“Besides moving into a new facility, which is a highlight for our employees who contribute immensely to our success in the U.S., what stands out for me the most is the message that this $60 million investment sends to our customers,” said Dr. Torben Reher, managing director, Liebherr USA. “Apart from investing in research and design for cutting-edge technology, we have a long-term focus while looking at our business and the relationships with our customers. Thus, we want to grow together and our new site is the evidence for this approach.”
According to Reher, the new campus will help Liebherr better serve customers across divisions in multiple ways. The first is that it significantly increases production operations for concrete pumps and repair capacity for mobile and crawler cranes, as well as for construction equipment. “For example, we will now be able to do boom alignments for mobile cranes up to 750 tons. Furthermore, the new shop will be a lot closer to our many customers in the Northeast region, which will lead to lower logistic costs,” said Reher.
The new shop is also equipped to handle the growing numbers of Liebherr earthmoving equipment. “We experienced substantial growth in this area in recent years and have therefore invested in our internal infrastructure to keep pace with the demand.” Twelve repair stations will also be available for the earthmoving division – an increase from the eight currently available.
There is also a new training center and workshop. “We will be able to expand our offerings in relation to training our in-house dealers and dealer technicians, as well as provide this service professionally to our customers,” said Peter Mayr, managing director of Liebherr USA. “In our workshop, we will not only focus on pre-delivery inspections and standard repair work, but also recondition machines in bays allocated to complete this task.”
The new Liebherr warehouse incorporates the latest safety features and provides a 50 % increase in storage capacity. In addition, the warehouse also has a dual shuttle vertical lifting machine to increase small component picking speed and storage capacity. The receiving and shipping departments are separated to enable optimal material flow through the facility.
It was no small task to pull this off smoothly, according to Oliver Frey, general manager of warehousing and logistics. The relocation of more than 30,000 SKU numbered items from the old warehouse to the new warehouse began on March 13 and went nonstop for eight straight days. “The short duration of the move, along with accuracy of how items touched down in their intended storage locations, was the result of months of planning and hard work,” Frey said.
In planning for the warehouse move, “the main focus was on minimizing any interruptions to our customer supply chain." The extensive planning and execution of the move limited the interruption to just five business days. “During our closure,” Frey continued, “the spare part teams did an amazing job diverting orders to other Liebherr warehouse sites throughout the United States and to our factories. Customer impact was very minimal.”
The executive management at Liebherr USA would like to recognize the city of Newport News; W.M. Jordan Co.; HBA Architecture Interior Design; Kimley Horn; all Liebherr employees involved, and countless vendors and companies who exceeded the deadline and performance expectations, including Peak Logix, Kardex Remstar, and Apple Moving Systems.