Technic: Celebrate – How do you move at full speed?


Do you know this? You don’t see your friends’ child for a while and then you think: “Wow, he/she has grown!” That’s how I felt when I read the announcement from celebrate digital printing (including, that the old location, just taken over two years ago from Straub Druck + Medien AG in Schramberg, had become too small. “If you grow, you need space,” co-CEO Patrick Leibold explained to us and we reported on it in the blog. Most people have moved before, but an industrial relocation of a 24/7 manufacturing company with a six-figure turnover per day is quite another matter. How do you do something like that? Managing directors Michael Lindemeier and Patrick Leibold give us an exciting insight.  

You cannot keep up with the competition with old machines or poor location conditions. Besides innovation, quality and effectiveness are therefore the most important basic requirements. Industrial relocations are always something special. This means that an industrial move must always be planned individually. Every relocation of large machines and industrial plants has its special features, but also the possibility of taking the past into account.   

Several difficulties come together during an industrial move. First of all, there is the amount of goods to be transported. Today’s industrial plants consist of a whole range of different machines and equipment – from the IT landscape and production to packaging and shipping. Some of the plants are inline, i.e. they consist of continuous production lines that first have to be dismantled at great expense before they can be moved or relocated. The classic machines for individual and completed work steps, which could still be transported relatively easily, are becoming fewer and fewer. This is where the need for comprehensive planning begins, so that disassembly, transport and reassembly can interlock as smoothly as possible. 

While the good old pot was very robust and not very susceptible to transport influences due to its mass and design, modern production facilities, on the other hand, are much more sensitive. The constant miniaturisation and increasing digitalisation of machines and technical equipment makes them much more sensitive, be it to shocks, but also to fluctuations in temperature and humidity. This must all be taken into account when planning an industrial move.   

The production and supply chains are also a critical point. The failure of individual components can bring the entire production to a standstill. If, as with celebrate digital printing, it is a productive plant, corresponding time sequences must also be precisely fixed so that production is still running at the old location and can be quickly started at the new location and is not unnecessarily hindered. It had to be taken into account during production planning that this type of order is already running there and orders with other parameters are still running here. This is a logistical issue. So much for the theory!   

Actually, it was supposed to be a chic and representative new building in which celebrate digital printing, the print shop of the celebrate Group, would have had a home for the next few years. A plot of land can be found, but the craftsman and architect pointed to the end of the line, which already extends into the year 2024. Therefore, the search for existing buildings was an issue. One option came up in Villingen-Schwenningen, about 30 km away from Schramberg. Not exactly next door and certainly not close to the original idea that a new building would have to meet the growing requirements, but those responsible still wanted to take a look. Once on site, the building turned out to be ideal. The technical infrastructure had been brought up to date by the previous tenant. The landlord, a company from the printing industry, was then able to score with a free plot of land adjacent to the built-up area. “We gave ourselves a Christmas present when we signed the lease on 24 December 2021,” said Patrick Leibold with a twinkle in his eye. But before this gift would bring joy, there was still a steep road ahead for all involved. 

The employees at least, just coming out of the peak season before Christmas, were not quite so happy at first with the “gift” from the management. With the start of the lease on 1 March 2022, the “industrial relocation” mission had to begin.  

“We are not at all indifferent to the fears and concerns of each individual,” emphasises Michael Lindemeier and continues: “We talked to every employee in the aftermath of the staff meeting.” There was the mother who takes her child to daycare on the way to work, the employee who used to come by bike or the colleagues who today already have a fair distance to travel to work in the opposite direction and now have to add another 30 km on top of that. Every single fate was taken seriously. A whole package of benefits and compensation measures was put together. A six-figure sum was collected this year. For example, e-cars were suggested to form car pools. At the moment, it’s not that easy to get hold of electric cars. After time-consuming negotiations with various car dealers, the fleet of pool cars was ready for foiling and today transports the employees and the advertising message of celebrate digital printing across the country. 

Clever idea: e-cars for employees who carpool.

Further compensation is provided through a time account. The additional hour for the commute is now shared 50:50 by the company and the employee. This is also an arrangement that costs money. In the end, almost all employees were satisfied and only for a small part no convincing offer could be made.   

The next tough one is project management. “Agile,” I ask a little smugly? “No,” Michael Lindemeier laughs, “here it was highly structured and controlled, one step at a time. Classic waterfall concept.” (After all, it would be fatal to realise halfway through that the order of the steps doesn’t fit). It should be emphasised that the project team was as heterogeneous as possible. Not only department heads, no, there were representatives from all wage groups. Production could not be jeopardised at any time, that was the top priority. The fact that the wedding season in the post-pandemic brought considerably more orders than expected did not help to calm the pulse rate. 

For the machines, the machine manufacturers already offer a removal service with the appropriately trained fitters. But the transports, connections and much more required a professional for industrial moves. Peter Mohr from objectSolution Planungsgesellschaft mbH in Hamburg was the appointed expert. “The project plan was drawn up and adhered to,” Michael Lindemeier is pleased to say. “It was not at all self-evident that all internal and external units delivered on time. We were also just lucky,” adds Patrick Leibold (seeming almost a little touched). You can still see the tension and subsequent relief in the faces of both of them. In e-commerce at 24/7 in a highly emotional market field, nothing must go wrong. (Have you ever seen a bride and groom who are unhappy with their invitation cards? Yes! Ok, then we don’t need to elaborate further). 

The big fear in “open heart” operations, will it succeed and really be better in the end? The KPIs speak for themselves: the complaint rate is well below target and production on time has reached 97%. Another advantage of the new location is the synergies that result from the fact that the service and the in-house technology of the landlord’s print shop can be used together. 

All those who stayed and had to shoulder the hard months were rewarded with a festival. The stages and tents of the Southside Festival were set up on the meadow that will eventually be used for the extension. A mega party was celebrated with all friends and employees at the coolest location, right next to the production site of the celebrate company. 

The good mood among the employees can be seen in the “family photo”.

My Take: A properly set up project management with a selected expert, an honest communication of the management with noticeable results for all involved and reliable business partners with services delivered to the point are not at all self-evident. In my eyes, however, the example makes it clear that the maximum change of a company can succeed with the right support and an open mind set. Even the smallest cog in such a complicated operation must be in the right place at the right time. 

Mastering such a move in six months is an outstanding achievement. Respect! It is clear that all this costs money. But the ROI comes when you take the staff with you and implement the project consistently. In the end, it seems that the celebrate family has grown even closer through this project (which probably cost blood, sweat and tears). That is priceless and, in my opinion, the most important learning.



Technology: Celebrate - How do you move at full speed?
Article Name
Technology: Celebrate - How do you move at full speed?
Space at the old production site in Schramberg was just enough for two years, then it simply became too tight for celebrate digital printing. The company has recently relocated to Villingen-Schwenningen. Most people have moved before, but an industrial relocation of a 24/7 manufacturing company with a six-figure turnover per day is quite another matter. How do you do something like that? Managing directors Michael Lindemeier and Patrick Leibold give us an exciting insight. 
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Max Spies, a true professional, is a printing technician and business economist. As an ERP specialist at zipcon consulting GmbH, he researches throughout the entire value-added chain and delves into the depths of the company's divisions. People, processes, and tools are equally important to him in his observations. With curiosity, backbone, and a healthy dose of the Allgäu's fighting spirit, he is able to gather information. His comprehensible expertise is the basis for result-oriented concepts in customer projects. Max Spies has been in the printing industry for 35 years, worked as a journalist for "Deutscher Drucker" and writes guest articles for the trade magazines "Druckmarkt" and "Grafische Revue Österreich". Prior to joining zipcon, he worked for an ERP software provider in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and is an active networker in this economic region. (Profiles also at Xing, LinkedIn)

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