LiuGong invests hard to be seen as made, tested and supported in Europe
First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe & International
LiuGong's new European HQ is in Warsaw, Poland
LiuGong is investing hard in Europe, determined to be seen as a global player whose products are “made in Europe, tested in Europe and supported in Europe.” Along with a new European headquarters based in Warsaw, LiuGong is also opening up a new European production line and a new continent-wide parts distribution centre at its Dressta manufacturing centre in Stalowa Wola, Poland. Geoff Hadwick reports.
As he unveiled his company’s new European headquarter office, manufacturing line and parts distribution centre in Poland, LiuGong Europe and LiuGong Dressta Machinery chairman Howard Dale could not have been clearer: “LiuGong has a vision,” he said. “We want to be a strong presence in the EU construction equipment sector. That is why we are opening a new manufacturing and assembly line here alongside Dressta” where the company has developed “high levels of craftsmanship and an excellent reputation.”
There is “significant opportunity for growth in Europe,” said Dale, adding that he wants LiuGong to be seen as fully “committed to continuously improving its products and services and growing our business in the region.” He wants the business clearly focused on “providing a winning proposition” based on leading the field in “technology, innovation, customer support and product development.”
“We’re investing in people, research and development, manufacturing and parts supply, in order to support our dealers and the customers they serve as we develop LiuGong’s European presence. We are very proud of what we’re doing and where we’re headed.”
The 60-year-old Chinese manufacturer has decided to open up a series of regional headquarters around the world because “different markets require different solutions.” It will be a leading global player with a local flavour and a much more focused approach to international sales, which now represent more than a third of its turnover.
Four key objectives underpin LiuGong’s European push. One: to meet market needs with “tailored specs for regional variations”; two: to meet European quality standards with “attention to detail” and first rate “paint, fit and finish” standards; three: to improve its residual values with “affordable ownership and operating costs”; and four: to be highly flexible with “fast supply times” from the factory to the user.
The ceremonial opening of LiuGong's new European HQ was performed by Huang Haibo, president of Guangxi LiuGong Machinery, and government authorities
To make this happen, the group’s new European HQ in Warsaw will, says LiuGong, “concentrate on sales, customer support and marketing for all of the European region and be an important hub for LiuGong’s global customer support. LiuGong’s enhanced production facilities in Stalowa Wola will augment Dressta’s dozer and pipe-layer operations and manufacture LiuGong wheeled loaders and excavators for supply throughout Europe.”
At a two-day celebration designed to showcase the new regional headquarters and production operations, LiuGong Dressta Machinery decided that it would bring together a large group of “customers, dealers, senior management and local dignitaries to learn more about the new facilities and capabilities” and to hear from Huang Haibo, president of Guangxi LiuGong Machinery, and representatives of the Polish government.
Haibo wants LiuGong to show a “long-term commitment and confidence in the European market.” Indeed, says LiuGong, the “integrated Stalowa Wola manufacturing facility expands LiuGong’s production capacity to meet growing demand for Tier IV final wheeled loaders and excavators. It also provides a platform to support the tailoring of products to meet varied customer requirements in key European markets. With a total facility area of 43,724m², the new production area covers 1,904m² and has been designed to integrate LiuGong’s latest manufacturing technologies and best practices, improving quality, safety and efficiency whilst reducing waste and environmental impact of industrial operations. With capacity of 1,000 units/year, production will now include major fabrications, paint, final assembly and testing.”
The new European manufacturing facility will produce the LiuGong E Series Excavators: 922E, 924E, 925E, 928E, 936E, 939E: (22 to 39 tonnes operating weight) as well as the H Series Wheeled Loaders: 848H, 856H, 877H (2.5 to 7m³ bucket capacity).
“Our European manufacturing plant is committed to listening and acting on customer feedback,” said Teddy Wu, president of LiuGong Dressta Machinery. “We aim to ensure a close relationship with our customers, using our extensive dealer network, who are always on-hand to offer prompt service.”
LiuGong's new European manufacturing facility will produce the OEMs E Series excavators and H Series wheeled loaders
The new European Parts Distribution Centre (PDC) is a “3,500 m2 warehouse” designed, the company says, to “supply the thousands of parts needed to support customers … everything from filters and oils to ground engaging components, to parts for drivelines and hydraulic systems. The new upgraded facility (represents) an investment of approximately eight million euros.”
“Our goal is to provide world-class parts availability for owners of both, LiuGong and Dressta equipment, wherever they are located” said Piotr Fiszer, parts operations director. The new PDC is the key to supporting the LiuGong dealer network and customers throughout Europe and offers a 7m-high warehouse “with heavy-duty racking in narrow aisles and dual level mezzanine for small parts, filled with 30,000 line items of inventory.” There is “dedicated shelving and racking optimised for storage and accessibility for parts inventory as well as an “advanced warehouse management system (SAP) to provide better inventory management, tracking and warehouse efficiency.”
“Delivering parts to our dealers and customers quickly and efficiently will be the norm. When a customer is down on a job-site, there is no time to lose. We must deliver.” says Natascha van Leeuwen, director of parts, commercial.
Joining nine other LiuGong PDCs around the globe, the new regional distribution centre will lead to faster parts deliveries with more streamlined and efficient operations, as well as increased warehousing capacity for both LiuGong and Dressta genuine parts. The PDC provides additional floor space to manage and decant inbound parts, as well as for the picking and packing and checking of orders. “Our focus at the new PDC is to increase availability and accuracy of parts delivery to customers” says van Leeuwen.
A dedicated parts team provides sales management, customer service, parts technical support, marketing and inventory management and consists of 18 people and 12 warehouse operatives, all of whom are trained in the new warehousing processes and systems to ensure accuracy, productivity, efficiency and quality. The regional distribution centre has a same-day delivery policy to dealers within Poland with overnight and next day deliveries to European dealers.
“We have processes in place for the rapid processing of emergency orders, as well as for stock orders. Agreements are also in place with transport providers for the forwarding and clearing of daily air and periodic sea shipments – ensuring timely supply to dealers and customers” noted Piotr Fiszer.
With the new PDC both LiuGong and Dressta can accurately and efficiently deliver genuine parts to customers, ensuring quality that customers can count on to keep equipment productivity at peak performance.
LIUGONG FACT FILE
• LiuGong ranks as the 28th largest construction equipment manufacturer in the world. In 2016, LiuGong recorded $1 billion in sales revenue, selling more than 23,406 total units.
• LiuGong has 15 product lines including wheeled loaders, excavators, bulldozers, motor graders, pavers, cold planers, skid steers, backhoe loaders, rollers, forklifts, truck mounted cranes, crawler cranes, pipe layers, mining dump trucks and concrete equipment.
• The company specialises in wheeled loaders. It has sold more than 350,000 wheeled loaders since the group was founded in 1958.
• LiuGong has 20 manufacturing facilities worldwide and employs around 8,000 people, including nearly 1,000 engineers working in four research and development facilities. In 2016, LiuGong invested more than $42 million into its R&D programme.
• The company supports its global product lines with more than 300 dealers across six continents in about 130 countries and regional HQs located in Africa, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands, India, Poland, Singapore, Russia, Hong Kong and the U.S.
• In 2014, LiuGong set up a joint venture with Metso, LiuGong Metso Construction Equipment (Shanghai) Co. Ltd., combining Metso’s know-how in the track-mounted crushing and screening business and technology with LiuGong’s extensive distribution resources and manufacturing capabilities in China.