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Story 002 – 1982 – Innovation Business model

Good planning eases the whole move

The Ulm plant moves to a greenfield site in 1982

The traditional company, in the middle of Ulm, reached its limits in the 1970s. Therefore, after several years of preparation, it moved outside the city walls together with its head office. This feat was accomplished surprisingly smoothly – and created room for the growth of new business areas.

At the beginning of the 1970s, considerations were made to move the Ulm plant on Berliner Platz to a new location as it was at bursting point, there was no room left for expansion. One plan was to expand the Vöhringen plant accordingly. Space would have been available there, and the merger to one location would have had logistical advantages. On the other hand, Wieland’s role in Ulm had a long tradition - and Lord Mayor Dr. Hans Lorenser absolutely wanted to keep the company in Ulm. After long negotiations, he succeeded – not least because he offered a suitable site on the western edge of the city, in the new industrial area Donautal. In October 1974, he thanked Dr. Wolfgang Eychmüller for the fact that he and "the entire board of Wieland-Werke AG had once again committed themselves to Ulm and concluded the property contract. We appreciate that very much". Dr. Eychmüller replied with pleasure: "It is actually to your credit that the property matter took this turn". In view of the "strong ties to the city of Ulm" it would have been "a great sorrow to have to leave our home turf."

The bill of sale was not legally certified until September 1979, together with a second contract concerning the sale of the existing factory premises to the city of Ulm. But then everything progressed quickly. As early as the following month, bulldozers arrived and prepared the ground. One year later the foundation stone was laid and in October 1981 the topping-out ceremony could be celebrated by the new administration building. In the summer of 1982, the first employees moved into their new offices there, with production employees following shortly afterwards.

The move of more than 1,500 people, including the installation of completely new production halls, was thoroughly prepared and communicated. Several brochures informed the employees about all the details; nothing was left to chance. And so the local newspaper "Südwestpresse Ulm" was able to write in December 1982: "The only surprise was the smooth course of the move.

It is obvious that the new plant and the architecturally unusual administration building were well planned: the management of the Wieland Group is still located there today, and a total of 1,230 employees work at the Donautal site (as of 2019).

Construction of administration building 1981

In 1980, the cross-shaped administration building at the new Wieland location grew in height. The plant site on the western edge of Ulm covers a total area of 21 hectares.

Pipe train hall Danube Valley

The new pipe drawing hall in the Danube valley has not yet been set up. With a length of 450 metres, it is still one of the largest of its kind.

Administration building autumn 1981

In autumn 1981, the administration building had already taken shape. It was completed before the production halls and was the first operational part of the new factory.

Organization chart relocation process

The relocation of the factory was planned meticulously and in detail. A major factor in the success of the project was that the workforce was fully informed of all aspects from an early stage.