Timber construction has been booming for years and projects are growing ever larger. We want to help shape this development and orient ourselves toward the future.
Our CEO Katharina Lehmann on meaningful growth, the company's 'fitness regime' and our commitment to sustainability.
How does Blumer Lehmann approach growing demand at home and abroad?
KATHARINA LEHMANN We are constantly developing our expertise – as well as our products and processes – in the timber industry, in modular construction, in Free Form work, and in timber construction and silo construction. With our ongoing investment projects at our Gossau site, we are creating the necessary infrastructure for this. In doing so, we are bringing the module production facilities – at present partly located elsewhere – back to our Erlenhof site allowing us to once again accommodate all our employees in Switzerland in one location. This consolidation also allows us to optimise our processes, and improve our service range and infrastructure for our apprentices and assembly specialists.
Our stated goal is still to maintain our identity as a Swiss company while making ourselves competitive on an international scale as well. In addition, we make our added value as accessible as possible to clients wherever it makes sense. In doing so, we also minimise transportation costs and therefore carbon emissions, particularly in prefabricated and modular construction. This was the reason for commissioning our production facility for timber and modular construction in Großenlüder, Germany. And we are continuing on our current path. We will continue our targeted investment in staff and infrastructure at our other locations as well, and channel our specialist knowledge in silo construction and Free Form into projects around the world. And not to forget the new office building we are planning at our headquarters, with over 150 workstations! This will provide our employees in sales, project development and planning, project management, services and management the ideal work environment for even closer cooperation. We are now a team of around 450 timber specialists and other highly trained professionals, all working hard for our clients and projects at home and abroad.
Katharina Lehmann with Urban Jung on "We are Blumer Lehmann" Day
How does the company manage to stay so innovative?
KATHARINA LEHMANN The drivers of innovation are beyond doubt our clients, who present us with new challenges through their ideas and commissions. And we are open and curious towards tackling these challenges. In everything we do, we are excited about advancing timber as a building material, pushing the boundaries and, in doing so, discovering new solutions. We are ideally equipped to do this with our employees and their expertise across all the disciplines, which they continue to cultivate every day. This includes sales, project planning and development, production,ogistics, assembly and the contributions made by many other specialists. Only the interplay of all these disciplines can lead to a perfect result. Our aim is to foster and cultivate this expertise throughout the company even more with our in-house Blumer Lehmann Academy. And, naturally, the strong Swiss franc pushes us to stay dynamic and to optimise costs and processes.
«In everything we do, we are excited about advancing timber as a building material, pushing the boundaries and, in doing so, discovering new solutions.»Katharina Lehmann
Blumer Lehmann has seen sustained growth over recent years. What growth targets has the company set for itself?
KATHARINA LEHMANN We don’t want growth at any cost, but instead make decisions that help enhance our locations as well as increasing added value and client benefit. We also respond to current developments in the world of timber. On the one hand, timber is booming because it can contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of construction. On the other hand, timber is unbelievably well-suited to prefabrication, which gives us as a company the edge in both production and efficiency. As a result of these trends, we have decided to grow in our added value, with our processes and with the resources we have available. This will allow us to master larger projects and order volumes. The acquisition of the oa.sys company in Vorarlberg, with its powerful team, also took place with this aim in mind. It has allowed us to expand our offerings for the construction of large-scale residential and commercial properties.
So Blumer Lehmann is growing as a whole. Yet its component parts are also moving closer together?
KATHARINA LEHMANN Yes, this is also demonstrated by a combined presence under the Blumer Lehmann brand since the start of the year. We no longer think in terms of individual disciplines – timber industry and timber construction – but instead combined added value and a fascination with wood. This is why many of our investments at Erlenhof can only be identified from a holistic viewpoint. They form the foundation on which the entire company is being developed – all divisions and all our locations.
«We no longer think in terms of individual disciplines – timber industry and timber construction – but instead in terms of combined added value and a fascination with wood.»Katharina Lehmann
Blumer Lehmann staff 2023
And how do the sustainability goals fit in with how Blumer Lehmann is developing?
In matters of environmental sustainability, we look at overall operations, at our overall balance of services provided, and at our products and buildings. We measure our emissions and improve our performance on an ongoing basis. And we document the products we create so we can communicate transparently. We are helped in this, of course, by the facts that we work with a local, renewable raw material in an integrated value chain, and that we understand the overall system and minimise transportation. Our vision remains: round timber is delivered to us, and whatever is left over at the end is dispatched as energy through the power lines. The word waste is not in our vocabulary.
«Ultimately we are committed to making the right decisions when it comes to overall impact – whether in relation to climate impact, protecting resources, energy consumption or social and economic sustainability.»Katharina Lehmann
Our sustainable wood cycle