ZIEHL-ABEGG: “We will do everything possible to continue working with our suppliers”
The Ziehl-Abegg employees support the fight against the spread of the corona virus with special deliveries of fans. Peter Fenkl, the CEO; on the current situation at the world market leader from Künzelsau, which employs 500 people in China.
Mr. Fenkl, how are your teams in China doing?
Ziehl-Abegg has 450 employees in Shanghai and also employs around 50 people in sales throughout China. One of them works in Wuhan. As far as we know, he is not currently affected by the disease. We are also not aware of any other employees being affected by the disease.
How did the order to supply the new hospitals come about?
Ziehl-Abegg is a global manufacturer of fans that have proven themselves very well in hospitals. Therefore Ziehl-Abegg China has received the order for these fans: Once for the hospital in Wuhan, but also for the new hospitals in Shandong and Shenzhen.
Employees were happy to come to work because they could help the people for whom the hospitals are being built for.
What were the difficulties?
Our plant in Shanghai was at a standstill for the first order – because of the annual shutdown for the Chinese New Year. The first 70 fans were largely finished and only had to be packed and delivered; few employees were needed to do that. The second week was also a shutdown, but this time because of the nationwide closure of all companies to prevent the corona virus from spreading. During this time, there was an order for 260 more fans, which we first had to produce. 10 employees were happy to come to work because they could help the people for whom the hospitals are being built for.
In general, how will things go on now in the near future; with employees, partners and customers in China?
Currently more than half of the employees in the production area have not yet come to work. This is because they are subject to a two-week quarantine period if they have spent their vacation time during the Chinese New Year in certain districts. As things stand today, we assume that all employees will be back on board next week.
In this situation, will global supply chains have to be reorganised?
We are glad that we have a global production network. This enables us to rearrange certain orders or productions at short notice. Of course, we are always checking supply chains and production capacities at our global locations. But in principle we are always interested in long-term relationships with suppliers and customers. The current crisis cannot be blamed on the companies in China – therefore Ziehl-Abegg will do everything in its power to continue working with previously reliable suppliers.
Global Player – committed on site:
Ziehl-Abegg generates around 80 percent of its sales outside Germany. About 4300 employees work for the company worldwide with almost half of them in Germany. The most important markets are the USA and China.
Ziehl-Abegg cancelled all business trips to and from China early on. Ziehl-Abegg Germany and Ziehl-Abegg Japan sent several thousand face masks to the factory in China when regional face masks became scarce. Ziehl-Abegg China was awarded the contract to supply more than 70 fans within a few days for the new hospital in Wuhan, which was built in just a few days.
Jason Liu, Managing Director of Ziehl-Abegg China, presented this with a special challenge: All 450 employees in Shanghai were on Chinese New Year holidays. Ziehl-Abegg also followed the instructions of the Metropolitan Municipality to extend the holiday period until 10 February in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
“It’s great that the Chinese government reacted so quickly and built a new hospital in such a short time,” said Jason Liu. “I’m sure many of our staff will support the help for the people in Wuhan and will produce fans for the new hospital in the next few days.”
The special fans for hospitals have a highly efficient energy-saving EC motor as drive. The impeller is made of a special composite material that Ziehl-Abegg has developed especially for hygienic applications. The fans are therefore antibacterial, without any risk of corrosion and without any outgassing.