The KION Group’s business model is designed so that customers of all sizes and from all sectors can obtain the full spectrum of material handling products and services from a single source. Customer centricity and a firm focus on customer requirements are also enshrined in the KION Group’s vision of being the best company in the world at understanding its customers’ material handling needs and providing the right solutions.

The KION Group is a global player operating in many customer sectors and enjoys established relationships with its customers. It has been able to extend these relationships through joint development projects and other initiatives. Another important lever is the highly efficient sales organization that ensures the KION Group has the necessary proximity to its customers in all the key markets worldwide. It achieves this both through its own resources and through partnerships. In addition, cross-brand and cross-segment development and sales activities unlock the potential for cross-selling between individual product categories.

The Industrial Trucks & Services segment has a very broadly diversified customer base. Customers range from large key accounts with global operations to small and medium-sized enterprises that typically order just a few trucks each year. This means that the segment is not dependent on key accounts or individual customers.

The Supply Chain Solutions segment benefits from long-standing customer relationships with major players in a range of sectors. They influence the success of the segment’s project and service businesses. Specific solutions, such as micro-fulfillment, help Dematic to further consolidate its position in major customer sectors, including general merchandise, grocery wholesale and retail, apparel, food and beverage manufacturing, and parcel and courier services.

The KION Group’s customer structure and long-standing customer relationships, combined with the way it is benefiting from global growth trends, are key factors that explain why it is relatively resilient to economic turbulence and external market disruptions.

In 2021, the coronavirus pandemic continued to put pressure on companies to automate their processes and structures. After all, digital solutions for functional tests, planning of maintenance and servicing, and remote maintenance can help to increase customers’ productivity and lead to greater customer satisfaction in the aftersales business. KION North America completely revamped its internet presence, launching a new online portal that customers can use for tasks such as checking inventories, placing rush orders, and tracking order status.

The KION Group organized digital events in order to maintain its close customer relationships. During Supply Chain Day, the KION Group teamed up with the German Logistics Association (BVL) and its brand companies Linde Material Handling, STILL, and Dematic to provide virtual insights into warehouse logistics processes. Dematic continued the series of virtual events for customers by hosting the first Europe-wide AutoStore® showcase. Participants were taken on a virtual tour of a reference installation that demonstrated how the compact piece picking system works and highlighted its benefits. Dematic also offers web chat as a way of providing rapid support free of charge. Another of Dematic’s virtual events was the international Food & Beverage Day. And in September 2021, Dematic hosted the Material Handling & Logistics Conference (MHLC), which was again held as a virtual event. Customers and industry experts were able to learn about and discuss new trends and applications during various workshops and presentations.

Customers’ satisfaction with the products and services of the KION Group is highlighted by the long-term nature of customer relationships and the high proportion of repeat business. Accolades awarded to the KION brand companies offer further proof of the KION Group’s innovativeness and the quality of its products.

Linde Material Handling was recognized in two categories of the Products of the Year 2021 awards of trade journal Materialfluss: The Linde R-MATIC reach truck secured first place in the industrial truck category, while Linde Safety Guard: Door Control – an access authorization system – took the top spot in the identification technology category.

The RX 20-16P/Li-Ion (lithium-ion) electric forklift truck from STILL was awarded the top accolade VR Forklift Champion in the category of electric forklift trucks up to 3.5 tonnes in the forklift truck tests conducted by VerkehrsRundschau (VR). It was rated highly for characteristics such as precise and safe steering and very good handling rates. The latter are attributable to a powerful electric drive that gives the STILL model the edge over other trucks in the market.

STILL also won an IFOY award (International Intralogistics and Forklift Truck of the Year) in the integrated warehouse solution category in 2021. The brand company had supplied a perfectly coordinated solution comprising three automated standard industrial trucks and installed all the system components for a customer’s production warehouse. A smart tool called iGo insights is used to optimize the system via the cloud, while the innovative ELOshield safety system protects passers-by from approaching trucks. The IFOY judging panel described the project as an impressive illustration of how companies will be able to control, monitor, and analyze their automated warehouses in the future.

Dematic’s micro-fulfillment solution for urban settings won the German Innovation Award 2021 in the machines and engineering section of the excellence in business to business category. The development of Blue Hub, an innovative and cutting-edge distribution center, also secured Dematic a Technology Excellence Award from Singapore Business Review. Blue Hub was singled out for the high degree of automation using the Internet of Things (IoT) along with the consideration of sustainability aspects in its architecture and energy management system.