3PL Repositioning by Internationalisation

In 2023, the industrial installation specialist HARDER logistics once again executed relocations of machinery and equipment from Germany and other European countries to their new location. The company declared the best financial year closure in its history. At the same time, the New-Ulm-based integrated system service provider is realigning and internationalising its business in order to be well prepared for the the ‘sell-up’ of German production capacity and infrastructure.

“We expect that we will generate more and more of our profits outside Germany in the next three to five years,” explains Marcello Danieli, Managing Partner and CEO of HARDER logistics. Together with his son Johannes Danieli (project manager), the founder has therefore set the course entering new markets to offer a solution to these growing demands.

New satellite office in Stuttgart

As an initial measure, the company opened an office in Herrenberg (greater Stuttgart area) at the beginning of this year, from which international business growth will be driven. “Business and plant relocations, as well as the transportation, dismantling and assembly/new installations of high-end machinery and systems remain our core business, but we are moving into a changing international market, where Germany is no longer the country of departure or destination,” outlines Danieli, citing initial examples: “Exemplary our current projects under execution include relocations from Hungary to Malaysia, from Sweden to Turkey and from Japan to Italy.”

Danieli roughly outlines that the markets of interest to HARDER are to be seen in parallel with the fastes-growing G20 countries. These include Turkey, Mexico, the USA, but also Australia and Saudi Arabia. With negative growth of 0.1 in 2023, Germany, which brings up the rear, can no longer be a growth driver for HARDER’s business.

Pre-assembly division established

For 2023, HARDER logistics reports 50 partial and total relocations of companies abroad. In total, around 300 individual components (production lines, systems and machines) were transported, dismantled and reassembled/installed. The company also opened a new business line last year for the pre-assembly of machinery and components both on and off site. For instance, at its headquarters in New-Ulm, the system service provider undertakes the professional pre-installation for widely known manufacturers such as Bosch. For example, conveyor belt systems with motors and sensors have already been pre-assembled in medium-sized quantities of up to 500 units per project. A fully automated container warehouse, which went into operation in 2022, has also developed positively. With around 210 containers, it achieved a capacity utilization rate of 85 percent in 2023.

Two million euros for fleet and equipment

In order to be independent of external suppliers and to ensure a safe working environment, HARDER logistics preferably relies on its own equipment and a modern and sustainable vehicle fleet to carry out its projects. These are tailored to the demands of partially heavy weights and special requirements of the high-end goods that get transported. “We have invested around two million euros in our fleet of trailers and handling equipment over the past twelve months,” says Danieli.

He outlines two custom-built vehicles as highlights: A loading crane truck with an operational length of 28 m for the autonomous transportation of containers and machines and an electric industrial ‘pick-and carry’ crane with a lifting capacity of up to 40 tonnes. The crane is one of the first models to be operated by remote control and no longer has a driver’s cab. “The crane, which will be delivered this spring, has two special features. The remote-control system increases work safety, and the ability to lift 40 tonnes takes us into the next category of weight lifting,” says Danieli. The CEO is continuing to pursue his sustainability strategy. Since this year, the fleet of 50 industrial trucks has been electrified. Additionally, with the support of compensation measures, the company has been able to report climate-neutrality for the entire company for the fifth year in a row.

The start of the expansion of the new headquarters of HARDER logistics in New-Ulm (Riffelbank industrial estate) is now within reach. The second construction phase, with a planned investment volume of over ten million euros, is set to begin this summer and will include a new office building and a warehouse. HARDER logistics had already opened a fully automated container warehouse with digital access there in 2022. In the future the company’ aims to streamline all mayor activities from this new headquarter.

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