A workshop by the alp
21 lift devices, 16 snow grooming vehicles, 180 snow cannons, 6 snowmobiles and 15 additional vehicles in the fleet. This is an investment which needs to be well-maintained, because in the winter time, where 90 percent of the annual turnover is made, the success of the Zeller Bergbahnen mountain railway company depends on this equipment. Alexander Kröll, manager of Zeller Bergbahnen, explains the role played by the workshop on the Rosenalm alp and the cooperation with the Hoffmann Group in an interview.
Mr Kröll, Zeller Bergbahnen built its maintenance workshop on the Rosenalm alp in 2015. What did you expect to get out of this?
The workshop at the “Rosenalm” mountain station is very beneficial to us as it means we don’t constantly have to drive down to the valley to service our lifts, snow grooming vehicles, snow cannons and skidoos. The alp is at a height of 1700 metres and therefore ideal for reaching the valley station as well as the highest point of our ski resort. Up here we have multiple fully equipped assembly halls in which we maintain our snow grooming vehicles, an electricians’ workshop and also a locksmith’s. As a result, we can carry out all the necessary work here.
Did establishing a workshop up on the alp present any particular challenges?
Of course, it’s not that simple to set up a workshop on this terrain and with this type of access. Despite this, the delivery of the workstations and storage equipment went very well. The Hoffmann Group simply drove right up here with its four trucks, meaning we luckily did not have to reload the equipment onto smaller vehicles. It was very simple. However, it was a real challenge to reconcile ideas from the employees with those of management during the planning stage. The Hoffmann Group professionally supported us in this process, right from the initial planning phase, and led the meetings – that helped us immensely.
Which strategies and methods did you eventually use to bring all interests together?
The workstations and storage equipment planners from the Hoffmann Group held detailed meetings with everyone involved, and produced designs for the workstations and storage equipment based on the information they gathered. They then prepared these designs as 3D animations and presented them to the employees and management. This helped us to better imagine what the finished workshop would look like and find a common denominator more quickly.
Why did you choose the Hoffmann Group for this project?
We wanted a modern and robust facility which looked good and which could bring us many years of joy, which is why we decided on the high-quality GARANT fixtures by the Hoffmann Group. With GARANT we can re-order products in the right size and paint finish for ten years; this was an important criterion for us. We’ve known the Hoffmann Group for several years as a reliable supplier for tools, and knew that we could rely on this claim. We also received everything from one source, including the heavy duty racks for oil and tyre storage, the garment lockers for the employees and the specially made workbenches on which we assemble the T-bar lift hangers.
How did you originally hear about the Hoffmann Group?
We’ve been buying tools from the Hoffmann Group for many years already and are regularly in contact with the external sales force. That’s how we learned that the Hoffmann Group had equipped a school workshop in Innsbruck. This reference project is the reason why we decided to opt for the Hoffmann Group.
So you would also recommend the Hoffmann Group as a tool supplier?
Yes, of course! We’re very satisfied and are ordering nearly all of our hand and electric tools from them at this point. We’ve even ordered the occasional special tool as well, and of course the workshop accessories. This can be conveniently done by telephone or via the e-shop, and the item is already here by the next day. Their range is so wide that you always get what you need. When it comes to hand tools we do generally buy GARANT and HOLEX, the in-house brands by the Hoffmann Group. They are very good quality and have an extremely good price-performance ratio. We also order electric tools from well-known brands from them.
According to the website, the Hoffmann Group has over 75,000 catalogue items. Does this not make it difficult to choose?
Yes, sometimes we are spoilt for choice, but if I need information or advice, I just look in the e-shop or call the external sales force. They’re very knowledgeable and always have valuable tips for me. From time to time they also visit us with new ideas and introduce new products – which means we’re always up to date. And if we need something very special, they get it for us too.
The Hoffmann Group will be launching a separate catalogue volume for personal protective equipment in August. Is this an area of interest for you?
Occupational safety is incredibly important for us – after all, the regulations are becoming ever stricter for us as well. When working on ski lift poles, we don’t just need work clothing, safety harnesses, protective gloves and helmets any more. Now we also need protective goggles, skin protection, safety shoes and much more. It’s therefore very convenient for us to be able to continuously receive advice and information from the Hoffmann Group regarding the new trends, and also order personal protective equipment for our employees from them in the future as well.