5/9/2019 | 3 MINUTE READ

Horn USA Commits to Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

Originally titled 'Think Globally, Act Locally'
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By moving manufacturing operations closer to the people who use the product, Horn has proven its commitment to the simple philosophy of “think globally, act locally.”


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Many ideas come to mind when someone sees or hears the phrase “think globally, act locally.” Cutting tool manufacturer, Horn USA, has followed this simple philosophy for many years.

Formed by Mr. Paul Horn in 1969, Horn celebrates the 50th Anniversary with its biennial Technology Days in June at the company headquarters in Tübingen, Germany. The doors will be opened to visitors from around the world to tour the manufacturing facilities and learn and understand about how Horn products solve many technical manufacturing issues. There will be eight technical sessions daily, along with opportunities to facilitate comradery among visiting customers and teammates. This year more than 150 visitors from North America will attend the event, and an estimated total of 3,500 visitors from around the world will participate.

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the three manufacturing sites—more than 300,000 square feet of production space—where powder is processed (Horn Hartstoffe) into carbide inserts, the carbide inserts are ground and the toolholders that hold the carbide inserts are manufactured. The toolholder manufacturing facility is the largest single structure building in the city of Tübingen and has more than 215,278 square feet with 129,000 dedicated to manufacturing. Additionally, 46 outside vendor partners will be on site to demonstrate their products and discuss specific applications with the customers.

Horn is proud to open the doors so customers and visitors can learn about the company and see how the company “acts locally” in Germany with its ISO certifications. Paul Horn GmbH has held both the ISO 9001 and environmental certification ISO 14001 for more than 20 years. These certifications ensure customers are getting a high quality and consistent product as well as assuring that neighbors and citizens are an integral part of the overall company culture.

However, Paul Horn GmbH, Germany, is only one portion of the story as this chapter would speak only about “thinking globally.” More important is the second phrase, “act locally.” With subsidiaries located in France, U.K., U.S., Hungary, China, Mexico and Russia, and strategic distribution partnerships in Italy and Czech Republic, the company takes this plan seriously.

In the early 2000s, during the middle of the rush to less expensive manufacturing locations by many companies around the world, Horn had the foresight to move manufacturing closer to the people who need and use the product. Currently, the company manufactures product, using relevant ISO standards in the U.K., Italy, Czech Republic and U.S. Selfishly, I am the proudest of what has been accomplished in the U.S.

The Horn USA facility in Franklin, Tennessee, started in 1998 in a typical warehouse-style multi-tenant building to service the North American market. It was quickly learned, and disseminated to colleagues overseas, that the future will be servicing the market where facilities are located and equipped with needed manufacturing capabilities. So, in 2001, the Franklin facility started manufacturing with two machine cells, grinding some of the most popular inserts sold in North America.

As a company, we learned through that experience and from the words of Mr. Horn, “It is not the big that eat the small, it is the fast that eat the slow.” That philosophy allowed Horn USA to continue to expand its manufacturing capability and capacity in the U.S. Currently there are 30-plus manufacturing cells in the multi-tenant building with Horn occupying most of the space. As neighbors moved, additional space was leased. Today, there is approximately 20,000 square feet dedicated to manufacturing.

Historically, in Germany, to meet the increasingly demanding expectations of customers and to prepare for future growth, manufacturing space has doubled every eight years. This space requirement phenomenon has continued at Horn USA.

In anticipation of this growth, Horn USA took the most logical and greatly anticipated step and purchased its own standalone building. The company was able to find a facility larger than necessary, but within ½ mile from our current facility, making the move easier on the employees.

The new North American headquarters will open for internal use in July 2020 with an official grand opening in October 2020. It is planned to be able to support the future growth in manufacturing, technical support, customer service and training. The facility will include 26,000 square feet of office, demonstration and training space as well as 94,000 square feet for manufacturing, coating and an automated warehouse.

The North American plans do not stop in the U.S. Horn Herramientas Mexico, a subsidiary of Horn USA, opened in 2018 with a warehouse, customer service and sales offices as well as space for a future tech center.

Think globally, act locally. It is not just a phrase for Horn; it is a commitment to the company’s customers, employees and environment.


About the Author

Duane Drape

Duane Drape

Duane Drape is the national sales manager for Horn USA. He is located at the company headquarters operation in Franklin, Tennessee.