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The new KION Tech Center in Pune

"Global for local success" – this is a key aspect of the strategy of the KION Group's CTO organization. With the opening of a new Tech Center in Pune, India, we are further expanding our international presence. The center relies on the collaboration of highly qualified local and international teams for the efficient implementation of corporate goals.


The "Oxford of the East" is located in western India, not far from Mumbai. With around seven million inhabitants, Pune is the ninth largest city in the country and bears its nickname because of its eleven universities. The Mercer study on quality of life (city ranking) for 2023 found that Pune is the second best city in India to call "home". KION has been successfully producing forklift trucks in Pune for ten years now - and the KION Tech Center India (KTCI), which focuses on software and technology development, has also been located there since the beginning of the year.

The strong growth of KION in Pune is closely linked to the name of one man: Biswa Mandal. He already played an important role in his previous job as Director Global Operations at the KION subsidiary Dematic, where he was responsible for setting up the Dematic Tech Center in Pune. "When the KION Group decided to set up its own tech center in India, it quickly became clear that the Dematic Tech Center met all the necessary requirements – secure office space, a reliable internet connection and already established KION Group processes," reports Mandal, who was also responsible for the local coordination of the first KION Tech Center India.

The KTCI is located in the EON Free Zone, a complex that combines high-tech support services with amenities such as food courts, auditoriums, an amphitheater and green spaces - the ideal place for a healthy work-life balance. Numerous aspects had to be considered when planning the Tech Center: from the design of the workstations and IT equipment to the recruitment of suitable talent. Through efficient collaboration and workshops with universities, Biswa Mandal's team quickly succeeded in attracting the first talents – and soon there will be even more. "I am confident that we will reach our goal of more than 80 employees by the end of 2024," says Mandal.

Cooperation between Germany and India

From the very beginning, it was clear that the range of tasks of the KION Tech Center India would differ significantly from that of the KION Tech Center in Xiamen, China. While the focus in Xiamen is on mechanical design, the team in Pune concentrates on other areas: "Software development, simulations, machine vision, artificial intelligence, embedded systems, the Internet of Things, university research and product strategy are the core competencies of the KTCI," explains Mandal. Collaboration between the international teams is particularly important here: "When Germany goes home for the day, work starts in Pune – and vice versa. There is also a time overlap of four to five hours between India and Germany, which enables effective communication and collaboration, and projects are worked on continuously around the clock."

The teams have Dirk Jungen, Global Service Lead in Aschaffenburg, to thank for the successful collaboration. He ensures that the Pune, Aschaffenburg and other global KION sites are closely integrated into the KION IT network, which enables regular and smooth communication between colleagues at both sites. Similar to the cooperation with the Chinese site in Xiamen, teams from the EMEA region are often long-term guests in Pune. "There is a constant dialog between Germany and India. Transparency is of crucial importance," explains Mandal: "In future, we will work even more closely together and join forces in product development and improvement."

Software from Pune, Hardware from Aschaffenburg

The potential for cooperation is considerable. Biswa Mandal uses an example to illustrate the type of work being carried out in Pune and how it interacts with the technology from Aschaffenburg. "Let's assume that software has to be developed for a new forklift truck interface in order to display various parameters to the driver," explains Mandal. While a German engineering team works on the new forklift truck, the team in Pune could take over the software development of the display unit. "We work together with our German colleagues on an equal footing," emphasizes Mandal.

Another example of international cooperation is the product strategy. While the main team is based in Aschaffenburg, a complementary team is currently being set up in Pune. They are working together to develop a global product strategy for the next ten years. For example, the teams are analyzing which forklift trucks the KION Group needs or will need for which countries and locations and when. Pune is particularly dedicated to market research, collecting and analyzing data and creating documentation based on this, which is then shared with colleagues in Germany. "The results of this work are then incorporated into the overarching strategy and the product portfolio," explains Mandal.

Savings potential meets innovation

The advantages of the Tech Center in Pune are obvious, says Mandal: "Pune not only offers cost savings, but also provides impetus. In addition, the pool of talented academics here is impressively large." The KION Group has recognized this potential of the location and plans to promote talent in a targeted manner. "Many team members have already worked in international companies, are familiar with German working methods and have an international work mentality," says Mandal.

In addition to "Oxford of the East", Pune also has a second nickname: The "Silicon Valley of India". Biswa Mandal is determined to prove that Pune deserves this title. The eagerness and the spirit of optimism on the ground are gigantic. "Pune is eager to prove itself and write success stories," says Mandal: "Because we all know: Success leads to further success." And that applies not only to the city of Pune - but also to the new KION Tech Center India.