Innovative logistics – good for customers and the environment
Steffen, Head of the European Logistics hub in the Stockach location, is giving insights into innovative logistics:

How is the logistics hub organized, and what’s so special about it?

Our so-called EU hub stands out by centralizing and bundling virtually all Group-wide logistics activities. We cluster the daily production outputs of each European Baumer plant here in Stockach. In the past, before the EU Hub was built and became operational, each Baumer plant had arranged its customer supplies individually.

Now we face the daily challenge of implementing the required logistics activities for delivery to our customers as efficiently as possible, at minimum cost, but yet to the full satisfaction of our customers. The goal is supplying all customers throughout Europe within 24 hours.

​​​​​​​Our warehousing and processing centerpiece is the so-called Autostore. The robot-assisted, innovative small-part warehousing system is ideal for the dimensions and weight of our products and lives up to our claim of living innovation at all levels. Here, products are stored in plastic bins organized by robots which bring them to picking. Providing up to 72,000 available storage locations, the Autostore allows for warehousing approx. 95% of our products. 

At the same time, the system runs the storing and picking processes in very short times. The Autostore is very energy-efficient and also ensures good working conditions at low noise level. The Autostore requires only a minimum of space: it is amazing that for storing our sensors an area of a basketball court is sufficient. 

Centralized warehousing cuts down on multiple inventories in different locations, provides us with cheaper freight rates thanks to bundled consignments and transports a harmonized corporate image to our customers.

What is modern logistics to you?

To me, future-oriented logistics is paperless data processing and smooth system interlocking in digital data communication, this way making manual data entries a thing of the past.  

We are close to reaching our goal, there’s just a little fine-tuning left to do.  Finally, customer order processing will be all-digital from order reception to packaging. Needless to say that I'm constantly working with my team to identify and realize further optimization potential under consideration of the system landscape.

What was key for the success of the new logistics approach? 

The wide-spread warehousing locations of the individual plants and the related processes required us to set up a logistics system which in its centralized architecture would run as smoothly as the decentralized processes of the past while enhancing efficiency in parallel.  

Consequently, clear and uniform processes to be complied with by each plant and sales company were crucial for success. Just because of the extremely different and specific logistics processes in the past, centralized logistics is only efficient when everybody involved adheres to the synchronized standards and guidelines. This entailed a long transition period while establishing and implementing the new standards step by step.  

What was your role in establishing logistics, and what are your current projects?

I was given the chance to be part of it and actively shape the evolution of the EU hub from the very beginning. My focus was on implementing the defined processes in the new warehousing system and building the logistics team of meanwhile 19 people.

Presently, I am dedicated to optimizing the international transportation network, in close cooperation with the Baumer sales units. We have already bundled transportation processes and made them more environmentally friendly. Now we need to identify and implement further potential improvements in transport management, for example in sourcing components and semi-finished products. Here there is a major logistics project in pipeline which I also support actively.
What was a special highlight for you?

To me, playing an active part in setting up an all-new location was really a highlight. Moving from the office container over into the new logistics premises was a special milestone. So was the first Autostore test and preparing everything for shipment – after months of planning and preparation, this was an absolutely memorable event in December 2017. Merging the individual decentralized warehouses into the EU Hub was another exciting period in time.

Our logistics environment has made you curious? Join our team – we look forward to receiving your application!