Founded by the Kohler family as a manufacturer of farm implements, Kohler has been operational since 1873. Fast-forward more than a century and in 2008, the family set up and entered a partnership to work on large diesel generators. They continued on this journey before launching their own KD series of generators. Lori Domaschk, Engineering Solutions Manager of Kohler’s data centre business, said the KD Series created the company’s newfound “strong focus” on the data centre industry.
“Now Kohler provides a wide range of generators of up to 4MW which allows for greater flexibility in design as well as business direction,” Lori said. Kohler is becoming increasingly more involved with large builds and hyperscalers, the needs of which are somewhat varied and require the customization, collaboration, and partnership that Kohler can offer. “At Kohler, we’re really able to take those concerns - anything that we want to change or modify and we have a lot more control over them,” Lori said.
Partnering with NTT
As a provider of generators with enclosures, Kohler’s relationship with NTT is closely knit. “The best way to explain the partnership that we have with them, besides just being another supplier to them, is making sure that they are meeting the needs of their customers. So we have daily, weekly meetings with their team and with the procurement team to make sure that deadlines are getting hit; that they’re able to build in the way that they need in order to meet their own customer needs,” Lori said.
Close collaboration is a crucial factor in Kohler’s relationship with NTT. Discussing it in more detail, Domaschk said: “It’s incredibly important. We all know what the supply chain is like right now, so daily communication has been key, letting them know where we are, where we stand, how it might potentially impact any of their sites.
“It's been such a learning experience for Kohler, too, because you look at Kohler as generally a very conservative company, privately owned, and so to be able to kind of turn on a dime in some instances. Just considering the things that we’ve done - it's been challenging, but fun!”
Looking to the future, Lori describes Kohler’s growth goals as aggressive. “I would say COVID has intensified the need and the speed for growth in the data centre industry. For us, there are extensive growth plans, and we’re continuing to build and expand our data centre team to meet these growth goals and growth needs,” she said.
“Sustainability started out as a buzzword and is becoming more and more evident, and that’s certainly something we’ve been pushing on with our engineering team. How do we modify or change our business to meet the needs of what’s coming down the pipeline?
“And being proactive about it too, meaning with different jurisdictions, emissions, local emissions agencies and really identifying what their needs are, what their expectations are as you start getting bigger and bigger to a point. So certainly for us and the entire industry, sustainability is becoming increasingly more important.” Domaschk concluded.