The new Uhlmann office complex will provide some 400 modern office workplaces, offering space for the creation of new Uhlmann solutions – for packaging equipment, as well as for services and digital applications. (Source: Uhlmann)
The holistic approach pursued by Uhlmann, covering machines, services, and software, is well received by customers. The Pharmazing Days customer event, held at the end of June, confirmed this by attracting approximately 650 visitors to Laupheim. (Source: Uhlmann)

Digitalization on the Rise 

The Uhlmann Group attained higher sales and employed more personnel in the business year 2018/2019 than in the previous fiscal year. This success is not only attributed to equipment for the packaging of pharmaceutical products, which Uhlmann Pac-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG has been manufacturing in Laupheim for 70 years. “Pharmaceutical manufacturers need integral solutions these days. The machine forms the basis, but an extensive range of services and, in particular, digital solutions are becoming increasingly important”, explains Norbert Gruber, Chairman of the Uhlmann Executive Board. Furthermore, the other companies of the Uhlmann Group contributed to the sales growth: Koch Pac-Systeme in the Black Forest, Cremer Speciaalmachines in the Netherlands, and Wonder Packing Machinery in China.

Sales increase once again
The Uhlmann Group again increased its sales in the past business year – from EUR 411 million to EUR 426 million (+ 3.6 percent). Workforce numbers including trainees rose moderately from approximately 2,370 to 2,430. The majority of jobs are in Laupheim, but 15 other plants and branch offices provide employment at home and abroad. “We are pleased to have been able to improve our sales despite contested markets, growing competition, as well as political and commercial uncertainties. And we anticipate further growth in the current fiscal year”, says Michael Mrachacz, Managing Director Sales at Uhlmann. 

Investments in Poland and Germany
Uhlmann has already made preparations for the future by investing extensively. The new plant in Wroclaw/Poland will go into operation in July 2019. The shifting of jobs from Germany to Poland is not planned. It is more a matter of expansion to enable the effective handling of future growth and eliminate current bottlenecks in the procurement market. Altogether, by the end of the year, 80 new employees are to produce parts in Wroclaw for the packaging lines in Laupheim. 
Construction measures at the headquarters in Laupheim are also continuing. Renovation of the existing administration building was completed in June 2019. A new roof noticeably enhances the building and technical facilities in the offices have likewise been modernized. 
The construction of a 75 meter long, four-story office complex commenced at the beginning of the year. It will accommodate some 400 modern office workplaces next to the administration building. Uhlmann is investing EUR 15 million in the new building slated for completion in early 2020. The additional space is needed: instead of using stainless steel and safety glass, more and more Uhlmann solutions are based on bits and bytes. These are generated at a desk and not in a production hall.

Digitalization on the rise
Uhlmann already has various projects promoting added automation and digitalization in pharmaceutical packaging. For instance, Uhlmann customers will soon no longer need a machine to train new employees. Virtual reality glasses take users into a virtual production hall where they can practice all procedures on a virtual Uhlmann machine – similar to a computer game. “The customer’s production can meanwhile continue without interruption. This saves time and money – two key factors in the pharmaceutical sector”, adds Norbert Gruber. 
Keen interest was clearly expressed during the Pharmazing Days at the end of June. Uhlmann hosts this major pharmaceutical packaging event at its headquarters in Laupheim every three years. Some 650 visitors not only closely inspected the two new BEC 200 and BLU 200 blister machines. These offer outstandingly high flexibility when packaging solid and liquid dose pharmaceutical products in blisters and cartons. They also resolutely headed for the exhibited digital solutions to learn more about cloud computing, machine learning, predictive modeling, as well as virtual and augmented reality, and to discuss related opportunities with the Uhlmann experts. 

Workforce expansion planned
The Uhlmann business development and especially digital projects are opening up interesting prospects for Uhlmann employees. “I repeatedly hear in conversations how positively the diverse jobs opportunities and creative freedom in our company are perceived”, states Norbert Gruber. Uhlmann is planning to further extend its digital division in the coming months. Additional jobs for product and project managers, developers, and software architects are being created. The overall workforce in Laupheim should increase from approximately 1,390 to 1,465 in the next twelve months.
Much is undertaken in Laupheim to attract, advance, and retain good employees. Employees and trainees have access to some 500 training courses offered in a year, as well as numerous sport and health activities. Currently, 150 mainly young people are completing an apprenticeship or internship at Uhlmann. In the eyes of Tobias Uhlmann, Chairman of the Uhlmann Supervisory Board, a key contributory factor is the corporate culture: “Uhlmann is strong, reliable, and open-minded. We not only live up to these values externally, but internally as well. They characterize the culture of our family-owned company, guide us in our decision-making, and provide our employees with long-term, sustainable perspectives. More and more people are coming to value this.”

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Uhlmann Pac-Systeme GmbH & Co. KG is a leading global systems supplier for the packaging of pharmaceutical products in blisters, bottles, and cartons. In addition to its innovative packaging lines, Uhlmann provides consultation, project management, extensive services, and digital solutions from a single source. The company is part of the Uhlmann Group, which generated sales amounting to EUR 426 million with its workforce of over 2,300 in the business year 2018/2019. Other members of the Uhlmann Group are the companies Koch Pac-Systeme in the Black Forest, Cremer Speciaalmachines in the Netherlands, and Wonder Packing Machinery in China. Visit www.uhlmann.de for more information.