After two years of planning and construction, the Schmersal Group has now started operation of its new European central warehouse in Wuppertal. A narrow aisle pallet racking with 1,800 pallet spaces and an automatic mini-load AS/RS with 26,000 storage locations has been erected on a floor area of 3,600 square meters. The building has generous picking and packing areas as well as a transport link to the central production sites.
The opening of the central warehouse is the first step toward the practical implementation of a completely new logistics concept. Business administration graduate Bernd Marner is head of logistics and IT at K.A. Schmersal GmbH & Co. KG and warehouse planning chief. He comments: "We will be integrating products from all our European sites into this warehouse so that in future all deliveries to European customers and subsidiaries will be from here." The nine regional warehouses previously responsible will be successively closed in the forthcoming months. Centralization provides substantial benefits to both Schmersal and their customers.
As the central warehouse was built on the site of an old factory, extensive reorganization of the production process was necessary before work on the new building could begin. Bernd Marner: "We've modernized the entire production layout, simplified processes and shortened distances. The project also invested in new technology; for example, we installed a new central drying plant for injection molding."
Warehouse operation began in March 2013. Finished products, (including safety-relevant control components), are delivered to the warehouse from the Wettenberg site by a shuttle truck. Schmersal B.V. in the Netherlands is currently being integrated into the logistic concept as the first national subsidiary.
A large amount of preparation work was needed in all areas of the organization, especially on the software front, to ensure the benefits of the new warehouse and supply logistics could be exploited to the maximum. For this reason it was a great relief when the warehouse operation began on time and the project expenditure was kept within budget.
Engineering and economics graduate and Schmersal Group CEO Philip Schmersal: "The central warehouse represents a major step forward in efficiency and productivity. We are now well equipped to deal with forecasted growth as the warehouse and processes have sufficient capacity to handle larger volumes."