Did you know that Zeppelin, with its Rental strategic business unit, not only offers equipment rental services, but also temporary infrastructure and construction logistics? – Today, Zeppelin broad portfolio ranges from the supply of single rental machines to comprehensive project solutions for construction sites, local authorities, and events. But do you also know how this started out? Zeppelin had been offering rental services since the early 1990s (it was called “Zeppelin Mietservice“, back then and operated by Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH). At that time, it primarily was a tool for sales promotion of Caterpillar machines. Ever since, we have developed into one of the key players on the European rental market! In order to grasp this evolution, we undertake a short time travel to the year 2003 with Zeppelin Rental’s COO, Peter Schrader, who has seen the complete journey.
Adding 70 rental stores, 460 employees and 130 rental partner depots at one go
17 years ago, the German construction industry suffered from a slackening economic activity. Nevertheless, Zeppelin opted for a major acquisition: It took over the entire German rental activities of MVS Miete Vertrieb Service AG, the largest rental company in Germany at the time. At one go, Zeppelin added 70 rental stores with about 460 employees and 130 rental partner depots to its own existing structure of 55 “Zeppelin Mietservice” sites and 89 employees.
“This acquisition was a milestone in our history“, Peter Schrader says. Having been put in charge of Zeppelin’s rental business only four weeks prior to the start of the negotiations with MVS, he has been one of the “fathers” of the rental success story and deeply involved ever since. “I can honestly admit: The preparation of the deal with MVS, the acquisition, the integration, and the set-up of a professional rental organization were the hardest and most exciting years in my professional life.”
MVS offered an enormously wide product and service range, starting from hoarding to vehicles, materials handling technology, modular and sanitary space, and medium-sized construction machines. “We didn’t have any experience with many of these assets”, Peter Schrader acknowledges. “But they gave us the opportunity to access new industries and to win new customers. Besides, with MVS, we acquired 27 years of rental experience and a highly motivated, professional, and adept team with great knowledge.”
The new market leader
On 1 July 2003, the rental business of MVS AG was transferred onto the newly founded MVS Zeppelin GmbH & Co. KG. Six months later, Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH also transferred its rental activities onto the new company. MVS Zeppelin now comprised more than 120 rental stores and a rental fleet of more than 33,000 machines and equipment. “Suddenly, we had become the German market leader in the field of machine and equipment rental”, Peter Schrader explains.
But with the acquisition and the merger, the challenges of integrating and shaping a new, modern rental company with its own identity arose. “We didn’t want to simply impose our Zeppelin DNA upon our new colleagues. Our objective was to create a professional organization with a unique spirit”, Peter Schrader says.
Now, 17 years later, in 2020, the Rental strategic business unit can look back on a very successful development. Many former MVS-employees are still on board. Rental services and product ranges have continuously been expanded. “The acquisition of MVS definitely paved the way for the growth of our rental business”, Peter Schrader knows. “We are very thankful for Zeppelin’s courage, endurance, and trust to carry out a major acquisition in economically difficult times.”
Another great step
Zeppelin Rental’s efforts in further extending and diversifying its business culminated in the acquisition of Streif Baulogistik in 2014. But to keep up the suspense, we tell you about that milestone in a separate blog article…Watch out for it!