The road roller manufacturer Hamm and the software company IGZ are practically neighbours – and both the number one in their respective industries. They are also both working together on a major project: IGZ has digitalised Hamm’s entire logistics. The Upper Palatinate is also set to also benefit from the cooperation.
Tirschenreuth/Falkenberg. What is usually a noisy place, where assembly, screwing and work is carried out, is very quiet today. The almost finished rollers remain untouched, as are those that are not even close to being finished. The production lines are at a standstill. A cleaning machine wipes through the corridors. Tomorrow, assembling, screwing and working will begin in the hall again. Tomorrow, the inventory at Hamm AG in Tirschenreuth will be over again, after two days. It used to take five days. Recently, a lot of things have changed at the factory. The software company IGZ from Falkenberg (Tirschenreuth district) has digitalised the entire logistics of the road roller manufacturer from Tirschenreuth over the past four years.
Downtime is expensive
"Especially when it comes to inventory, you can see that it works," says Stefan Klumpp, Chief Technology Officer at Hamm. Thanks to the work of IGZ, the factory has been able to reduce downtime during the inventory. And that pays off. Because: "A day of downtime at the factory is an expensive day," says Gottfried Beer, Marketing Manager at Hamm. The same applies to assembly line downtime. If the right component is not available on the line, around 60 employees have to wait until it is. Thanks to the digitisation of logistics processes, the factory is now more efficient, says CEO Klumpp. "We've experienced a five per cent increase in production." Of course, this is also "measurable in monetary terms". Klumpp says: "We've come a long way from where we were four years ago." Back then, the variety of roller models increased sharply. Hamm took a close look at the production process. The result was that something had to change in order to cope with the enormous demand for the huge range of rollers. Hamm produces for the whole world. Two thirds of the rollers go to countries outside Europe: to North America, South America, Africa or Asia. Customer enquiries vary accordingly. "We rarely build two machines that are the same," says Klumpp. This requires considerable logistical effort. Hamm builds more than 200 different types of machines. In addition, there are 2000 different variations. This complexity has to be managed.
Hamm needed experts who could master the precise interplay of pallet and small parts supply for production and assembly. "It occurred to us that there was a specialist just 10 kilometres away: IGZ. That's how the collaboration came about," says Klumpp, looking at IGZ Managing Director Johann Zrenner. They both smile, looking for a moment like two boys who have successfully pulled off a prank. Zrenner says: "Road rollers are more individual than cars." These days, no two rollers are the same; it's all about individual wishes. "This places higher demands on logistics," says the IGZ Managing Director. "The right products have to be in the right place at the right time and in the right order."
At Hamm's headquarters in Tirschenreuth, the words ‘New York’ are written on the door to the large conference room where the two companies are presenting their project. The offices next to it are called Moscow or Johannesburg. The big wide world is on the doorstep here. Hamm is the world market leader – every fifth road roller in the world comes from Tirschenreuth.
Likewise, IGZ is the number one, market leader for digitisation of operational logistics and production processes based on SAP software. The history of the company began about 20 years ago – in an agricultural barn. "What the garage was to Steve Jobs, the barn is to IGZ," Zrenner says. This is still part of the company's identity today. In terms of their design, the office buildings are all based on barns and are also referred to as software barns.
The company is proud of its innovations. Mountaineering legend Reinhold Messner gave the keynote speech at the company's 20th birthday party last year. He compared the IGZ to his own mountaineering challenges. The same pioneering and adventurous spirit prevails here, said Messner.
IGZ’s clientele ranges from medium-sized companies to large corporations such as Continental, BASF, Siemens or Edeka. However, until a few years ago, the company had very few orders from the region. "Nobody was even aware of us here – except for Falkenberg," Zrenner says. Then the neighbour Hamm got in touch
The cooperation is also intended as a statement that aims to demonstrate the strength of the region. "People from the Upper Palatinate are often mocked," says Zrenner. Nevertheless: "We’re two world leaders forging an alliance." Hamm Executive Board member Stefan Klumpp explains: "We also want to show that entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the Upper Palatinate. Hidden champions, successful companies that shine well beyond the region and are very successful."
At the end of the project, Zrenner presents Klumpp with an oversized voucher. The IGZ managing director invites the entire Hamm project team to an evening together in the company's own bar: the “Zoiglstube” in Falkenberg. How appropriate: Zoigl (a type of beer) is another champion from the Upper Palatinate.
- The oldest road roller manufacturer in the world still in existence
- Produces 10,000 rollers per year in Tirschenreuth
- 95 per cent of the rollers are exported abroad
- More than 1000 employees in Tirschenreuth
- Belongs to the Wirtgen Group with total sales of three billion euros
- Specialised in optimised executions, digitisation, SAP standard software
- Market share at more than 60 per cent, the closest competitor has 15 per cent
- More than 500 employees in Falkenberg
- More than 500 individual customers, such as Conrad, Krones or Hugo Boss
- Turnover around 60 million euros
Report: Julian carrier
Images: Oberpfalz Medien, Gabriele Schönberger
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