|  Germany

Global market leader in 30 years

WEINMANN Holzbausystemtechnik in Lonsingen, Germany, is optimistic about the future and is seeking motivated employees.

The anniversary year is ending on a high for WEINMANN Holzbausystemtechnik, with full order books meaning that the global company is starting its fourth decade with a correspondingly high level of momentum.
Founded as a "garage business" in 1985, over the course of 30 years WEINMANN has risen to the position of global market leader for the development and design of plant and machinery for timber house construction—visitors from all around the world can be seen in Lonsingen, and employees are flocking out of this small community in the Swabian Alb into all continents across the world. This a development that Managing Director Karl Weinmann did not foresee when he founded the company. However, the success is the result of an important strategy of this innovative company: "Development is very important to us and that is why we are always one step ahead of the competition," explains Hansbert Ott, a co-partner and additional director since 1992.


130 employees contribute to the success of the company

This strategy requires motivated and qualified employees in a wide range of areas—regardless of whether it's training, mechanical development, or software development, WEINMANN employs carpenters just as it does clerks. Training is provided in-house, and dual studies are also possible. "We are in the process of setting up our own training center in-house which we will manage as a separate department," reports Karl Weinmann. The company employs 130 people at its headquarters in Lonsingen, including nine apprentices: "We could definitely still employ more people," says Managing Director Karl Weinmann on the current employee situation. The company offers an attractive work environment with prospects for the future: "We are active in a growth market and not a hostile market," claims Hansbert Ott. Healthy living with wood is said to be a promising and attractive topic.
"People's awareness of this is growing." And therefore, the demand for plant and machinery for timber house construction is also growing—WEINMANN Holzbausystemtechnik is the global market leader in this sector.
But the story of WEINMANN Holzbausystemtechnik started in a different sector. Up until 1989, the startup company, founded by Karl Weinmann and his college friend Alfred Schlegel, developed machines for the manufacture of special timber panels and registered their first patent. Karl Weinmann still remembers the early days in Blumenstrasse in Lonsingen:
"We built our first machine in the garage."
The German packaging regulations were a turning point and prompted a reorientation, and the company selected timber house construction as its target group—prompted by a request from Schwörer Haus in 1992.
"That is when things really started to happen; one prefabricated house manufacturer after another approached us," remembers Karl Weinmann.
By 1997, the Lonsingen company was the market leader in Germany and was becoming in-creasingly well established on the European market as well. In this phase, the HOMAG Group approached the machine manufacturer from the Swabian Alp in 1998. With access to this global sales network, WEINMANN Holzbausystemtechnik was able to drive international-ization forward quickly— today, its products are sold on all five continents and since the year 2000, the Lonsingen-based company has been the global market leader for plants and ma-chinery for timber house construction.


Expanding the range during the economic crisis

The company also emerged stronger from a second crisis: as the markets collapsed around the world in 2008, according to Hansbert Ott, the company took advantage of the opportunity to design machines for smaller and medium-sized trade businesses. "This gave us a new customer base and allowed us to diversify," he says, looking back at a very fruitful phase for the company. "Another economic slump wouldn't affect us as much now as it did then."
The jobs at WEINMANN Holzbausystemtechnik are guaranteed: on one hand, the company is taking advantage of the ability to act as a small unit, and on the other hand, as a member of the HOMAG Group, it is making the most of the benefits of being part of a corporate group. This is a situation that customers appreciate when they visit the company's premises in Lonsingen, which features a production area of just under 8000 square meters. According to Hansbert Ott, a foundation of trust is very important as relationships in this sector are long-term.
Despite the increasing success, moving out of Lonsingen has never been up for discussion, in part due to the company's continued commitment to its employees—some of them have been with the company from the very start and many of them have been trained in-house. For the two directors, it is much more important to ensure a solid and creative working cli-mate—from a construction perspective as well: the offices and the production building offer a view of the Swabian Alp's plateau and allow time for a brief pause for reflection. Hansbert Ott is confident that "this gives us strength and energy for new developments."
"We are optimistic for the future and are well equipped to deal with any challenges that may arise," says Karl Weinmann at the end of this anniversary year.
"We are set up to be flexible, which allows us to react to order fluctuations without having to reduce the workforce."
But there is no sign of a decline in business: the order books are already well filled for 2016 and, according to the founder Karl Weinmann, this is because WEINMANN Holzbausystemtechnik has both markets covered: the global market and the trade sector. 

Source: Südwestpresse, Author: Kirsten Oechsner

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