When integration works

A year ago, several Dematic employees relocated to the Brazilian headquarters of KION South America. Read more learn what inspiring changes and new paths have been the outcome of the move.

São Paulo is a massive metropolis with a population of over 12 million people. In contrast, Indaiatuba with its 235,000 residents seems almost peaceful. “I can see a park and trees when I leave the house in the morning,” says Jair Vasconcelos, who works in sales at Dematic. He still sounds a little incredulous; he only saw concrete in São Paulo. As part of Dematic’s integration into KION Group, he and almost every other Dematic employee has moved from the metropolis to KION Latin America’s headquarters in Indaiatuba, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away. Only a few colleagues still commute to work from São Paulo. Vasconcelos’ commute, in contrast, is now just seven minutes, a vast improvement over the several hours it previously took in the chaotic São Paulo traffic.

We complement each other perfectly

Everyone is based in the same building adjacent to theIndaiatuba production hall. In total, around 12 employees have moved here from Dematic in São Paulo. “I’m very pleased with this merger,” says Adriano Zambelli, Dematic’s plant manager. “KION Group already has a fully developed internal structure and a proven supply chain in place,” he adds. Vasconcelos particularly values that he now has two supervisors who can support him and that he can rely on help from KION Group’s finance team.

“It’s only in the past year that we’ve learned how much we didn’t know about logistics,” says Frank Bender, CEO at KION Latin America, adding, “I’m sure the Dematic colleagues will say the same about their knowledge of forklift trucks. To put it another way, we complement each other perfectly.” In any case, automation is one of his passions, says Bender. It is one of the reasons why he is excited about the possibilities that the portfolio of automation specialist Dematic offers KION Group. “I’m very happy with this merger, both professionally and personally.”

Frank Bender, CEO, KION South America

"Both sides have learned a lot from each other."

Customer solutions from a single source

However, the integration is not yet fully complete. During the past year, every new employee had to immerse themselves in new processes and software used by KION. “We previously used highly specialized software that was customized to our work,” Zambelli says. “Now we have to adapt and develop some things to meet our requirements.” The health insurance fund that covers employees is also different, as are food vouchers. “We still have separate servers,” Zambelli says with a smile. “If I want to forward information to my colleagues, I sometimes have to put it on a USB stick and carry it three meters.”

But these are minor concerns when compared to the new possibilities for sales and cooperation. “We’ve become more familiar with the products of the other KION brands and can now focus on offering joint solutions to our customers,” says Marcio Lopes, the director of Business Development at Dematic. The merger has also paved the way for administrative efficiencies, especially where positions would otherwise be covered by two individuals.

Marcio Lopes, Director of Business Development, Dematic

“We have been very fortunate to join a company that has the same customer base as us and that also has a long-term vision.”

The first joint projects are under way

Daily contact makes it easier to present appropriate offerings to customers directly. “As soon as we receive an inquiry, even if it is for a single truck, the employees at Dematic know that there is a sales opportunity for them as well,” CEO Bender explains. Every project has since become joint endeavors, and in the first year following the merger, all larger customers in Brazil have been visited together. It has been a success; the first joint projects are under way, such as Souza Cruz, Brazil’s largest tobacco company. And 2017 has been Dematic’s best financial year in Brazil. Lopes has good reason to be satisfied. “We have been very fortunate to join a company that has the same customer base as us, and that also has a long-term vision.”

Breathing new life into old trucks

Caution, fragile!