Wolfgang Gorner took over as MD at Hörmann (UK) Ltd in October 2018, coming in at a busy time. On the industrial side, in recent months the company has launched various new doors and loading bay products, including the innovative BBS dock seals. A growing share of Hörmann’s industrial business goes through warehouse developers.
One of the few UK door manufacturers offering in-depth maintenance training for employees and customers, Hörmann has taken its dedication to service and support a step further by launching its new Training Academy at its Leicestershire HQ. And lastly, it’s Hörmann’s 40th anniversary, a cause for major celebrations over the last few months. Wolfgang Gorner spoke to WLN.
Warehouse & Logistics News – Wolfgang, what were you doing before this?
I have worked in the window and door industry for nearly 20 years in roles from Sales and Marketing Manager to General Manager. I have been MD of Hörmann UK since October 2018.
WLN – How much of your time is spent on the industrial side?
Our industrial offering has strong growth potential, so I spend 50% of my time on this area.
WLN – Who else works on the industrial side with you?
I work closely with Hörmann UK’s Project Director, Tom Langley, and our Industrial Service Manager, Phil Clark. I also work with our Marketing Manager, David O’Mara, on our industrial sector marketing campaign.
WLN – Do you personally get to see industrial customers?
Definitely. Since my first day here I’ve been actively visiting clients to understand their requirements and what they want from our products. It’s all about being out on the front line, discovering how our products help meet their needs.
WLN – How fast is the industrial side growing?
The industrial side experienced double-digit growth during the first half of this year, which is a fantastic result and reflects our dedication to the business and our customers. The logistics sector is experiencing sustainable growth and we are seen as a professional partner providing solutions in a wide variety of applications. Distribution centres comprise the large majority of orders. We are also a leading provider for the automotive and FRS sectors, but logistics is showing most growth.
It’s not just about supplying and installing the product, servicing and aftercare is equally important and our commitment to both is why we see so much repeat business. It’s common for our products to be specified time and time again by the same client, testament to the quality of our products, service and support.
WLN – How do you work with warehouse developers to help make their premises more attractive to occupants?
We have developed relationships with key partners at a very high level, as well as a strong base of subcontractors who are extremely proficient in installing our technologies. We have also built and opened our new Training Academy at our Leicestershire headquarters, enabling professionals to develop their skillsets in installing and maintaining our products in a controlled environment. We are actively promoting this to our customers, as it provides the confidence that our solutions are fitted and serviced to the highest standard.
WLN – How important a part of Hörmann’s global industrial business is the UK?
Hörmann UK’s industrial division is vitally important to the global business. This is because the opportunity here continues to grow, combined with the influence many of our British clients have on the European sector as a whole.
WLN – Can you talk us through your current industrial products?
Hörmann offers a complete suite of industrial solutions. For application inside a warehouse, the offering includes high speed doors, sectional doors, temperature-controlled doors and fire sliding doors. Outside the warehouse, we offer a wide range of loading technology including loading bays, loading houses, dock levellers, dock seals / shelters and rolling shutters / rolling grilles. All these are manufactured in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
WLN – What are your latest industrial door and shutter launches?
We recently launched our new Spiral Door, the HS 5012PU 42 S, which features a 215mm narrow side element, enabling quick and easy installation in tight spaces. We also launched our new FlexFire fire protection curtain, including a lean design and narrow side guide to provide discreet fire protection. We have a number of other product developments launching in the second half of 2019.
WLN – What new loading bay equipment have you brought out?
We’ve just launched our new DAP Electronic Docking Assistance system, featuring LED warning lights to protect drivers and warehouse operators from injury, while simultaneously speeding up docking. The solution can be used independently or combined with our WSPG wheel chock. Our loading houses have been certified under the Construction Products Regulation, providing our clients with compliance to EN 1090 standards.
WLN – What improvements have you made to your products’ thermal efficiency?
Improving our industrial products’ thermal performance is a key part of our R&D. So much heat can be transferred through loading bay or sectional doors, and inside the warehouse, particularly if overall door usage is very frequent. To help customers combat heat loss, our industrial products are designed to offer the maximum U-value and are supported by our Hörmann energy savings compass, accessible on our website.
WLN – How important is IT in your portfolio? What recent ‘tech’ innovations have you made?
IT is increasingly important. Our new SmartControl offering is built into our high-speed doors’ control systems, offering the ability to remotely monitor completed door cycles, and identify potential faults. This speeds up servicing as information can be accessed in realtime by the client and our servicing team.
WLN – What safety features are built into your products?
We take safety extremely seriously across all divisions, but for the industrial division in particular, it’s vital that all products not only meet relevant regulations, but go above and beyond in providing complete safety. For example, our industrial sectional door offering features selfmonitoring closing edge safety devices, featuring optosensors as standard. Our innovative light grille HLG can also be integrated into the frame of the product for additional safety.
In the loading area, our dock levellers feature reliable hydraulics with two lifting cylinders and a cylinder for the lip, combined with automatic emergency-stop valves in the lifting cylinders.
WLN – How can warehouse door accidents be avoided?
It’s crucial in the initial design stages to work with clients to identify potential traffic throughout the site, the direction of traffic flow and how often the doors will be accessed. You have to take safety very seriously in this sector, as its very nature presents high risks. We excel at designing products to provide workable and safe solutions, that meet individual clients’ requirements.
WLN – How many live service customers do you have?
It runs into the hundreds as we can service any manufacturer’s products, not just ours.
WLN – What training does your new Training Academy provide? Does your training count towards any recognised vocational qualifications?
The new Training Academy offers a comprehensive seminar programme for professionals across our domestic and industrial ranges. Having opened in April 2019, it is a fairly new addition to the company, but the intention next year is to offer training schemes every week. The Training Academy’s next stage will be to incorporate recognised qualifications into the programme.
WLN – Will Hörmann be at IMHX?
We’re not exhibiting this time but key members of the industrial team will be attending.
WLN – Hörmann (UK) is celebrating forty years in business. What celebrations have you had so far?
The 40th anniversary is a significant milestone. We have completely revamped our showroom and opened our new Training Academy, officially launched as part of two Open Days. This was a UK company first and a great opportunity to showcase our latest products and training.
We also hosted a Gala Dinner at the Hilton in Birmingham for key customers, hosted by Kevin Keegan and overseen by Christoph Hörmann, who flew in from Germany. It was a fantastic evening and a great way to thank our clients for their continued support.
WLN – What are you most looking forward to doing as MD of Hörmann UK?
I look forward to growing the business and continuing to make it an enjoyable place to work. It’s all about people and our employees come first. I want to continue to develop Hörmann UK’s position as a market leader for both our trade and domestic offering.