2010: New organizational structures for a growing company – the strategic business units

By now, you already know that Zeppelin is a diversified and international company that has been growing significantly in the past few years. But how did we get there? Especially in the 1990s and at the beginning of the new millennium, there was a boost, thanks to Zeppelin‘s internationalization, new fields of business and new distribution and service territories.

While Zeppelin was growing, the Group developed into two different sections for trade and industry respectively; both acted rather independently one from the other. When the financial crisis hit in 2008 / 2009, we realized that we were only strong enough to weather the storm by closely cooperating. A common strategic vision and a common set of core values needed to be implemented throughout the whole Group – making them tangible in the daily working life of all Zeppelin employees. The crisis taught us some key take-aways, one being that Zeppeliners should have the chance to better learn from one another, to grow together and to truly become ONE Zeppelin.

Apart from that, the new economic situation required Zeppelin to interact even better with the market environment and to respond still better to our customers’ needs. A modification of the Group’s organizational structure was the answer to better seize growth potential that arose and to tackle the new challenges.

So, from 2010 onwards, a separation in five different strategic business units (SBUs) allowed Zeppelin to better focus on individual markets and segments. In each SBU, the company bundled their business activities that were comparable in the structure of their markets, their customers and their business models – regardless of any local legal entities. This new organizational structure opened the doors to a closer collaboration across country and legal entity borders and brought about more transparency and efficiency. The company began to grow with all Zeppeliners committing to a “WE are Zeppelin” spirit which can be felt throughout the whole organization!

The original five strategic business units Construction Equipment EU as well as Construction Equipment CIS (distribution and service of construction, mining and agricultural machinery), Rental (rental and project solutions for the construction industry and the industrial sector), Power Systems (drive and energy systems) and Plant Engineering (engineering and plant engineering) were completed by the Z Lab strategic business unit in 2016. The latter significantly contributed to the digital change within the Zeppelin Group by developing new digital business models and digitizing the existing product portfolio.

When extending our business activities into Northern Europe at the beginning of 2020, it was time to have a look at our organizational structure and assess its success. We decided to slightly re-vamp the organization: business activities in Sweden, Denmark and Greenland were bundled into the new strategic business unit Construction Equipment Nordics. The strategic business units Construction Equipment EU and Construction Equipment CIS were re-named to Construction Equipment Central Europe and Construction Equipment Eurasia respectively.

Requirements and challenges in the realm of digital transformation have changed. With a view to reinforcing our position in all our markets, we have reconfigured our resources in the areas of IT, digitization, and innovation. The newly created Zeppelin Digit strategic management center is set to support all strategic business units in the future as a cross-area function, and it brings together expertise in the Zeppelin Group from the areas of IT, Data, Infrastructure, Security and Compliance. Z Lab continues to work as a legal entity within Zeppelin Digit and develops digital business models for the construction industry.

Thus, in 2020, Zeppelin’s approximately 10,000 employees work together in a management holding company, six strategic business units and a strategic management center (= Zeppelin Digit): Construction Equipment Central Europe, Construction Equipment Nordics, Construction Equipment Eurasia, Rental, Power Systems, Plant Engineering.

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