VSM opens new logistics centre

State-of-the-art logistics centre in Hanover

Last Saturday, 9th June, abrasives expert Vereinigte Schmirgel- und Maschinen-Fabriken AG (VSM) opened the doors to its new logistics centre in Hannover-Hainholz, at the company’s head office. The new premises have been gradually put into operation since October 2017. Despite the warm and humid weather conditions, approximately 750 employees and their relatives seized the opportunity to view the logistics centre and the adjacent production facilities, workshops and warehouses.

Von Heyl: Outlook for VSM very promising
CEO Bernhard von Heyl, outlined the positive development of the long-standing German company in the presence of representatives from the city of Hanover, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) and the business associations of Lower Saxony (UVN) as well as the supervisory board of VSM. He stated that production capacities were working at full capacity.  Extra shifts had been necessary. Von Heyl expressed his thanks to the Lord Mayor, Stefan Schostok and the City Councillor for the Economy and Environment, Sabine Tegtmeyer-Dette, for a successful cooperation.

Joppich: Largest single company project
Dr. Martin Joppich, engineer and chairman of the supervisory board, then lauded the new building as a token of the strength and fitness for the future of the company. He pointed out that the project which was implemented thanks to an investment of almost 9 million Euro, was the hitherto largest single project in the 154 years of company history and that it even exceeded the costs for the new production building in 2012.

Schostok: VSM safeguards the future of the Hanover production site
Lord Mayor, Stefan Schostok, embraced the company’s rich history, owed its present stature to inventiveness and high quality standards, while remaining loyal to its location in Hanover-Hainholz. He mentioned the company’s involvement in supporting local sports clubs and the alliance of entrepreneurs for Hainholz. In the same vein, Schostok praised the company’s policy for safeguarding the future of the location in Hanover, where a new production building is just one project. The purchase of the necessary plot of land for this new building is in the pipeline.

Wolf: One of the most cutting-edge logistics centres in Europe
The opening ceremony was concluded with a speech by Nikolai Wolf. The Head of Packaging and Logistics reviewed the complexity of the project and its implementation, which took an additional six months to complete."This is more than compensated for by the fact that we now have one of the most cutting-edge logistics centres in Europe" stated Wolf.

The building, which is 38 metres x 28 metres and 20 metres high, was erected on the plot of a former paper mill and was in some places as little as six metres away from the surrounding residential buildings. It accommodates up to 1,700 tons of rolls and finished products. Up to four lorries per hour can be loaded for shipment. "In addition, several lorries can be loaded and unloaded simultaneously, not just one after other as before" says Wolf. "This translates into an 80 percent reduction in turnaround and loading times. We were also able to cut operating costs by half".

Merchandise is ready to go within a few minutes
This process, according to Wolf, helped to considerably reduce the number of people needed to get goods ready for despatch. Compared to three or four employees previously, who forwarded the goods and loaded them onto a lorry, only one person is now needed to operate a forklift truck. The system delivers the goods on pallets to the operator in the most efficient sequence. "The conveyor system takes only two minutes to deliver the first pallets to the correct ramp", declares Wolf. However, this did not mean that staff numbers were reduced. "The workforce in Hanover has risen from 450 to approx. 500 people" he states.

Logistics centre geared for growth
VSM, founded in 1864, is one of the leading manufacturers of abrasives for the metal and wood working industries and has representations in 70 countries worldwide. The group, with approx. 800 employees, generated a turnover of around 150 million Euro in 2017 and is poised to grow. "This is why we designed the logistics centre so that it can accommodate more growth. A 50 percent higher throughput rate can easily be handled" declares the Head of Logistics.

A good 30 percent of the production of the plant is shipped from the logistics centre to destinations in Germany, the remaining 70 percent to destinations worldwide, some of them are the intermediate warehouses  in Bangkok and Shanghai. Both these warehouses are also monitored from Hanover.

Press contact:
Rena Benthin, VSM AG, phone 0511 3526-204, mobile 0163 86 91 275, rena.benthin@vsmabrasives.com
Oliver Züchner, MT-Medien GmbH & Co. KG, phone 0511 22 88 60-871, mobile 0152 298 515 98, zuechner@mt-medien.com

Further information on the new logistics centre
The logistics centre is accommodated on two storeys: The loading bays are on the ground floor and the high-bay shelving with its  four levels is located on the upper floor. "Since the so-called channels can hold several pallets in a row, in each compartment, experts refer to this type of warehouse as a channel storage system" explains Head of Logistics, Wolf.

The four storage shuttles can load and unload up to 80 pallets per hour in a fully automated process. "We no longer need extra space to sort out the pallets before they are loaded onto the lorry" states Wolf.

The shuttles pick the pallets in the right sequence, which considerably simplifies the operations. "And since we have four shuttles for the warehouse, it is possible to load and unload four trucks simultaneously" adds the Head of Logistics. In addition, the number of manual operations in the warehouse is reduced. So fewer people are needed.

Nevertheless, the companies keeps recruiting new employees.  At present, VSM has 800 employees of whom approx. 500 are employed at the Hanover site.

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About VSM

Drawing on over 150 years of experience, VSM AG is a leading company in the global abrasives market. Our core area of expertise is in the production of coated abrasives. VSM develops sophisticated abrasive solutions that are tailored to the needs of industry users, specialist retailers and trade professionals. The main focus here is always on customer benefits. With its subsidiary companies and sales partners, VSM is active in 70 different countries.

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