The art of packaging is an everyday priority in the modern logistics and distribution center, which was expanded in 2008. “A chemical production site that evolved over a long period has become a logistics hub for the chemical industry,” declares Bronnert, who is proud of this achievement and the work of the approximately 250 logistics employees. The new momentum can be read from two simple figures. The rate of turnover, in other words the frequency with which the entire warehouse stock turns around, increased from 12 to 18 over the year. “The logistics and distribution center is faster and can adapt itself better to market developments.”
The major modernization program was planned before the turn of the millennium. That was when the then CEO and present-day Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Peter-Alexander Wacker, had the idea of optimizing the processes in the plant. The company switched entirely to SAP and re-examined all of its processes. For the logistics area, this meant improving in-house and external transport. Since then, WACKER has increasingly shifted transportation within the plant from rail to road. “The tracks were very narrow, a lot of shunting had to be done, and it all took quite a long time,” remembers Bronnert as he looks from his unpretentious office’s large window onto the in-plant railroad line. In addition, the logistics specialists coordinated the in-plant inbound and outbound deliveries. In the old warehouse, the containers and trucks passed through the same gates. Today, the goods come from various parts of the plant by swap body, arriving at the new warehouse at 20 gates, from where they are consigned to the high-bay shelves by forklift.
In a second area, the goods are ready for delivery. On the one side, huge trucks pull in at 18 gates. At the 12 gates on the other side, you’ll find the shipping containers that WACKER transports by train to the seaports in Bremerhaven and Hamburg once per working day. “This means that we have become substantially more effective,” confirms Bronnert as he observes a truck that the shipping company’s driver and a WACKER employee are in the process of loading. “We integrate the shipping companies into our work for safety reasons. This makes the collaboration more efficient,” Bronnert comments. “The throughput time of a truck from the time it enters the plant to the time it leaves, with loading in between, has been shortened considerably thanks to modern handling at the gates and process optimization in the warehouse. Today, we achieve throughput times of well under an hour.”