How KONE Inc. found an operations center site in Allen, Texas

When KONE Inc., a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, was looking to find a place to consolidate operations in 2010, the company came to Allen, Texas.

A 24,263-square-foot facility allowed KONE to combine its North American Supply and Technology operations into one location in the Allen Center Park. KONE also moved its central tool storage facility to nearby Twin Creeks Business Center.

“This new facility will provide KONE’s employees with a high quality work environment and quick access for our colleagues and visitors from around the world to many amenities,” Jeff Montgomery, KONE director of Development-Product and Supply for the Americas, said in announcing the new office space. “By making this move, KONE is showing our commitment to our people and striving to increase productivity and cross-functional collaboration.”

KONE was founded in 1910 in a machine shop in Helsinki, Finland, and now has more than 1,000 offices worldwide, eight global production units and seven global research and development (R&D) centers, including the R&D center in Allen.

KONE has made the Forbes list of the 100 most innovative companies in the world for two consecutive years, ranking 42nd in the 2012 list.

Smart Business spoke with Ron Bagwill, vice president, director of Supply Operations Americas for KONE, about the decision to move to Allen and the benefits of the new site.

What are your operations in Allen?

KONE has two locations in Allen. The first site is in the One Allen Center, 700 Central Expressway South building. On the first floor we have a lab used by our technology group to simulate and test complex elevator control and software systems. On the fourth floor we have our supply chain related functions: engineering, customer service, logistics, human resources, sourcing, quality, and the process owner for our supply chain operations globally. A large part of the global technical team is also housed there (R&D) as well as installation support functions.

The second location is in Allen Twin Creek Business Center on North Watters Road where we maintain and store specialized tools that are important to a safe and efficient elevator installation.

Why was Allen chosen over other location options?

The activities now located in Allen were previously located at a factory site in nearby McKinney, Texas, that had been in operation since the late 1970s. We were looking for a newer building site that offered our employees a great location to work. The Allen location offers our employees easy access to a multitude of nearby shops and restaurants to visit during lunch or after work hours. Since we are near our previous location, our employees have a similar length commute to work. This was important to our decision on where to locate.

One of the most important aspects to our decision to move to the One Allen Center was the capability to house both our office personnel and the lab equipment. The lab equipment required a unique lower floor location with capability to move in and out large pieces of equipment.

Allen is also a great place to live, and we see that as important when trying to recruit new employees to our company.

What role did the Allen Economic Development Corporation play in that decision?

The Allen Economic Development Corporation provided an excellent financial package that definitely was part of the overall decision of why we chose Allen. The AEDC team is very professional and experienced in bringing great businesses to Allen, and KONE is pleased to be one of those companies.

How has the location impacted your success?

The location and environment of an office can have a huge impact on the productivity and morale of an office staff, which has improved since moving to such a great office and city. Having a new and modern office also plays an important role in attracting new employees.

Would you recommend Allen to other companies looking to build or relocate?

Allen is a great place to locate a business. The city has easy access to major highways and the major airports are only 45 minutes away. The number of hotels, restaurants and shops are a great place for housing and entertaining guests or customers. Prospective employees will find Allen a great place to live with the different housing options available, and the great school system. AEDC is a great partner to assist a business when considering Allen.

Ron Bagwill is a vice president, director of Supply Operations Americas, KONE Inc. Reach him at (469) 854-8815 or [email protected]

Reach the Allen Economic Development Corporation at www.allentx.com or call (972) 727-0250.

Insights Economic Development is brought to you by Allen Economic Development Corporation