Difficult times call for creative measures. An unusual double event on 19 June 2020 saw DÖRKEN celebrate the successful conclusion of one construction project and the beginning of another one. Following the ceremonial opening of the new office building in Herdecke the spades were passed on for the official groundbreaking for the extension to the construction foil unit at the Hagen-Vorhalle site.
After an 18-month construction time the new office building in Wetterstraße, Herdecke was completed almost on time and within the planned budget of around 10 million euros. In spite of the difficult circumstances resulting from the current pandemic, construction continued - subject to strict hygiene regulations - without disruption or accidents and without major impairment for the employees and neighbouring residents at the Herdecke site. The good weather conditions in the winter of 2019/2020 also helped keep the project almost on schedule. Punctual completion was only prevented in the finishing phase, due to a corona-related delay in the delivery of furniture.
DÖRKEN CEO Thorsten Koch and the mayor of Herdecke, Katja Strauss-Köster, were subsequently able to cut the ribbon for the official opening on 19 June 2020. The celebrations were held on a very small scale, naturally with face masks and the now standard social distancing rules. The invited guests were able to gain a first look at the open and inviting architecture of the new building. An impression underscored by Thorsten Koch in his opening speech, which also reiterated the philosophy of the company: “We are open and tolerant, inviting and generous. We are transparent, modern and colourful, whilst at the same time functional. … We are different and surprising, we challenge those that observe us and encourage them to explore.”
The visitors were subsequently guided through the building in small groups to see how the “new work philosophy” had been consistently realised. Thorsten Koch: “Its aim is to invite employees, customers and partners to explore together, establish further expertise, get the best out of ourselves, motivate and stimulate us - to simply keep us on the move.” Around 100 new office workplaces, meeting and break rooms have been created on a total usable space of approximately 2,730 square metres. Highly modern and functional offices and meeting rooms together with open communication areas in the style of working lounges will in future intensify interaction between the Coatings employees that work there. Walkways to the existing company headquarters on all floors and a bridge to a wing behind it also make the building a central meeting and socialising point for all at the company. The in-house company restaurant will also contribute to the feeling of community. Unfortunately, due to the current situation it will only open in mid-July, under special hygiene conditions.
At the end of the opening ceremony a spade was symbolically passed on - from one construction project to the next, which began as the other ended.
The proceedings promptly switched to Hagen-Vorhalle, where the starting gun was sounded for the biggest constrcution project in the history of DÖRKEN thus far. The spades were wielded by DÖRKEN shareholders and supervisory board members Ute Herminghaus and Karl E. Dörken, DÖRKEN CEO Thorsten Koch, Ingo Quent and Christian Harste, both managing directors of Dörken GmbH & Co. KG, and Hagen’s mayor, Erik O. Schulz, who expressed his joy at the boost to the Hagen-Vorhalle site in his welcoming speech. Because the company has big plans here: “Our plans for this site are no less than to become the cost, technology and service leader in the field of intelligent construction physics,” declared Thorsten Koch in his address. “From here we aim to enter new markets with new technologies, driving on a culture of change.”
The company is investing around 50 million euros in buildings, new plant and infrastructure, expanding its second site to become the most efficient production location for construction foil in Europe. In the course of strategic considerations regarding growth in the coming years it was decided to relocate all future production activities of Dörken GmbH & Co. KG to the Hagen-Vorhalle site, establishing a flowing manufacturing capacity with new plant and technologies, lean processes, intelligent workflows and modern, safe workplaces. This requires the construction of several new halls, to be joined onto the existing production area. “What we aim to achieve here is maximum value added, by focusing firmly on the productivity of our plant, maximum flexibility of manufacturing through digitalisation of all value-adding processes and maximum sustainability for the use of energy, raw materials, buildings and machines,” said the DÖRKEN CEO.
Various approaches were discussed during the site discussions - not least for reasons of cost. Ultimately, what remained was a clear commitment on the part of the CEO, supervisory board and shareholders to Germany as a production location. Thorsten Koch: “The Hagen-Vorhalle site will become a centre of excellence for construction foil intelligence,” because the product and production-relevant areas such as development, logistics and process engineering, product management and production planning at Dörken GmbH & Co. KG will also be moving to the site, a total of around 200 employees. This will see around 300 people working in Hagen-Vorhalle from the spring of 2022. Process concentration at the Vorhalle site will also give sister companies Dörken MKS-Systeme, CD-Color and Protec Systempasten the opportunity to use the site in Wetterstraße, Herdecke wholly for their growth plans and further expand the Coatings centre of excellence. This will involve the demolition of old buildings and improvement of route logistics on the topographically difficult site.
DÖRKEN works council was involved in the planning of the new production facility in Hagen-Vorhalle from the very beginning. The members of the “New Plant Structure” project team were also able to design their workplace of the future themselves. Because maximum safety and satisfaction of employees with their future working environment is a key goal of the major new project, for which the aib Architektur.Generalplanung.Projektmanagement office from Duisburg will be acting as general planner. “New buildings provide a home for strategies, ideas and visions,” says Thorsten Koch. “However, to achieve this they need to be brought to life by those that inhabit them.” And the people at DÖRKEN are already working hard to achieve this.
Further information on this press release can be obtained from Thorsten Koch.