(ELMWOOD, La.) — ZF Marine has a long-standing presence in Louisiana, opening its first location in St. Rose in 1996. The ever-increasing customer base combined with the addition of the commercial thruster product line in 2009 resulted in the need to create a larger physical presence in the region. A comprehensive search of the region resulted in ZF finding a new home at 677 Time Saver Avenue in Elmwood, La.
ZF Marine’s new facility is three times the size of its previous location. The new facility not only houses dedicated transmission and thruster repair facilities, but also a significantly larger warehouse area. Training facilities as well as more modern office space for both field technicians and office personnel are all part of the new home for ZF Marine in the Greater New Orleans area.
Given that a significant portion of ZF’s North American commercial craft business is conducted in the region, the decision was made to house the management team for the company’s commercial and fast craft business at this facility. “Our top management responsible for the commercial and fast craft business in North America is now positioned right among our customer base,” said Wolfgang Schmid, director of the Industrial Technology Division, North America, and head of Business Unit Marine and Special Driveline Technology, North and Central America.
“Creating this Commercial Craft Center of Competence creates a resource center for our customers. We have the naval architects, the application engineers, and all of the support personnel necessary to offer the benchmark support our customers expect. Whether it’s a new build, repower, repair, or routine maintenance, this facility will be the center of support for those activities in North America,” Schmid said.
In his address to the gathered audience of industry dignitaries and ZF Marine employees, Dr. Klaus Geissdoerfer, head of the ZF Group Industrial Technology Division, focused on the rapidly changing technology landscape of intelligent mechanical systems and next-generation autonomous vehicles and the technology transfer that will be seen from land based vehicles to marine vessels.
Geissdoerfer talked about the investment in the Elmwood facility. “This new facility will help you, our customers, receive even more comprehensive service and support than ever before,” he said. As an example, Geissdoerfer mentioned the use of Bluetooth-enabled wearable technology field technicians from the Elmwood facility will be using in the near future, to allow real-time interaction with product experts back in the office while out on field service calls.
Geissdoerfer continued, “We want to foster collaboration between our customers and our employees, discuss the latest technologies, develop new projects, and create new products and services.”
Andre Koerner, global head of commercial and fast craft business for ZF Marine, talked about the Marine business unit’s clear focus on the North American commercial vessel market. He emphasized the company’s commitment to the region and to our customers. “Our commitment to this market and our customers is unwavering. This facility is a clear indication that we believe in the long-term growth of the marine industry in this region. We have also listened to you, our customers, and the expectations that you have of your supplier partners. We are confident that this new facility will exceed those expectations now, and in the years ahead.”
Michael Babin, senior product manager, Commercial Product Line, North America, Central America, and the Caribbean, was the day’s last speaker. Babin reflected on the team of employees based at the facility, and the depth of marine experience they bring to ZF, from both the private and public sectors. “ZF has built a team that has a keen understanding of the things that impact you, that impact your business and that impact your operations. In addition to our product knowledge – we make sure that we understand and appreciate the effect of external influences on your business. We prepare for and stay apprised of factors from economics and politics to applicable industry standards and federal regulations. We are as proficient with ISM and Subchapter M as we are intimately familiar with our transmissions, controls, propellers and thrusters,” he said.
Michael Nations, chaplain of the Seamen’s Church, performed the invocation, followed by the formal ribbon cutting, performed by Geissdoerfer.
For more information, visit www.zf.com.