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KION South America’s Indaiatuba Site Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Bigger, more creative, and more diverse—these are fitting adjectives to describe the ways in which the Brazilian head office has grown over the last 10 years. The number of employees tripled, two KION brands became four, the Logistics and Engineering Center was extended, and the Indaiatuba workforce broke new ground in many areas. We shine a spotlight on the milestones in the history of the site and also look to the future.


The KION South America headquarters are perfectly placed for logistics, between harbor, highways, and a cargo airport. One of its kind in Brazil: From electric forklift trucks and all types of pallet trucks to counterbalance forklift trucks, all truck categories are produced in Indaiatuba. No other competitor offers such an extensive range of locally manufactured forklift trucks.

The site has grown steadily in recent years. Initially, only the KION brands STILL and LInde MH were distributed, but later Baoli and Dematic were also integrated.

Challenge Accepted!

Frank Bender has been at KION South America since day one. “I’m proud of what we’ve achieved and the extent to which the site has developed. It wasn’t always easy, but we were able to learn a lot from it,” says the President of KION South America.

Overcoming challenges and finding creative solutions for problems is something the Indaiatuba workforce is well versed in. Shortly after the site was established in 2013, the Brazilian economy went into recession. Over the course of 2015 and 2016, the gross domestic product fell by more than three percent, the state got into debt, and unemployment rose sharply. Between 2017 and 2019, KION South America could breathe a little easier thanks to the recovery of the country’s economic situation. And then came coronavirus. “Despite all the economic challenges thrown at the site here, we kept on smiling. Every fresh challenge allowed us to grow and build on our success,” says Bender.

With KION South America since day one: Frank Bender, President of KION South America.

Success after 10 Years of Production in Indaiatuba

KION South America has successfully developed. 2022 was Indaiatuba’s best year to date. Never before has there been such a high order intake and strong revenue. Despite the challenging economic climate overall, the site’s revenue today is five times higher than it was in the early days of KION South America. This success is also reflected in the number of employees: Having started with 100 members of staff, there are now 320 people working for KION brands in Indaiatuba site, among the over 1,000 in the Latin American region. In addition to Linde and STILL products, Baoli and Dematic solutions are now also distributed through the site. Customers appreciate both the product variety and the flexibility the site can offer. A local engineering team enables the site to react quickly, flexibly, and in a customer-oriented way to both customer needs and special orders. For this reason, the site was extended and a Logistics and Engineering Center built—another highlight from the past years. An area of 5,000 square meters is now dedicated to forklift truck and warehouse solution development, as well as a large spare parts warehouse, which further contributes to flexibility and security of supply for customers.

The Logistics and Engineering Center: Forklift trucks and warehouse solutions are developed on 5,000 square meters. The large building also houses a spare parts warehouse.

Sustainability Takes Center Stage

In addition to spare parts availability and product variety, environmental protection is becoming increasingly important to customers. Through innovation, ideas, and consistent action, KION South America is helping to promote sustainability in the logistics industry—with ambitious goals, a clear sustainability strategy, and targeted interventions. Among these is the circular economy of products: All the leasing trucks that are returned to KION are refurbished and given a “second life.” After the forklift truck has been refurbished, it can then go back into operation. And if a machine has genuinely reached the end of its lifespan, as much as possible is recycled. For Frank Bender, sustainability is an ongoing journey: “As soon as we have achieved our targets, we set ourselves new ones.”

One of his new goals is promoting green e-mobility on site. As part of a pilot project, empty batteries are currently being recharged exclusively by solar energy. This is an example of how KION South America is striving to become even more environmentally friendly as well as to use and promote renewable energy. “Sustainability means constantly changing processes—and people are at the center of this,” highlights Bender.

In a pilot project by KION South America, empty batteries are recharged using only solar energy.

Prioritizing Satisfied Employees

“The most important thing at the site is our employees. We are one big team, irrespective of hierarchy and position. Openness and courage in particular are very important to me,” explains the President. He remembers when Indaiatuba first opened its doors: 90 percent of employees were new to the company. This meant that the shared values, goals, and strategy had to be built up gradually. Today the workforce stands out for its resilience. The many economic challenges forged a collective of creative minds, critical thinkers, and successful crisis managers. The site often tries out new things and members of staff value the open feedback culture, as Bender confirms: “Diversity and variety are part of our DNA. At KION South America, we have very diverse teams and we always keep our ears open to different perspectives.”

Diversity and variety are part of the DNA of the Indaiatuba workforce. Diverse teams and different opinions are encouraged by managers.

Looking to the Future

The site wants to continue to grow in the coming years, too. In addition to its strong presence in Brazil and Chile, KION would also like to strengthen its representation in the other countries of the region. Important leverage for this is the expansion of the distribution network in South America. KION acts as both a producer and a distributor in Brazil. New things are tried out, work is done on the customer approach, and a lot of experience is gathered—all on a regional level—and this is then shared with the distribution network as best practice examples. “We can understand the challenges of regional dealers and be a role model for them. If someone says ‘that doesn’t work’, we can counteract it with: ‘We have already tried it out. This is how it works.’ And win them over with our practical examples,” explains Bender.

In addition to the distribution network, the aim is to promote and expand the sale of electrically local produced forklift trucks and warehouse equipment. The brand focuses heavily on lithium-ion drive technology in its research and development activities. The advantages of electric forklift trucks are obvious: Pollution-free and a level of performance that is on a par with diesel forklift trucks—plus significantly lower maintenance costs. “Our electric forklift trucks are therefore more than just a good alternative to industrial trucks with traditional combustion engines; they are a crucial puzzle piece in our mission to save resources in intralogistics,” Bender says.

As soon as we have achieved our targets, we set ourselves new ones.

Frank Bender, President of KION South America.

More about Indaiatuba

Indaiatuba (Brazil) is the headquarters of KION South America and brings the sales, service, and production of forklift trucks and warehouse technology as well as automation solutions under one roof. Since 2013 the plant in Indaiatuba has produced trucks from the KION subsidiaries Linde Material Handling and STILL for the Brazilian and South American market. It has also accommodated sales and service departments for the KION forklift truck brand Baoli as well as for our automation specialist Dematic. In 10 years, more than 50,000 trucks went through our Indaiatuba site.