Michael Gerber is visiting the construction site that will in the near future become his company's new HQ building. So far, only the shell is visible, and it will be some time before he and his employees can move in. Today the insulation panels are being delivered for the walls, although Michael is unaware of the various logistical processes involved in supplying and delivering the Styrofoam panels.
While the insulating material is being fixed to the outside walls of the shell, he takes hold of a panel and recalls that air makes up between 98 and 99 per cent of the material. That is why it insulates so effectively. But how is all that air squeezed into the remaining material? It's here that chemistry and logistics both play a crucial part – and why Rhenus is also involved.
So let's start at the beginning. The basic material used to make the Styrofoam panels being attached to the walls of Michael Gerber's future HQ building comes from a German chemicals firm. Of course, it is the company’s aim to ensure that the product reaches its customers quickly and, more importantly, safely, therefore being ready for the next step in the manufacturing chain. This 'ingredient' takes the form of tiny beads that move in a similar way to water. Imagine, for example, a lorry carrying thousand litres of water! For companies such as ours that specialise in logistics, it is a challenging task to transport such free-moving cargo.
Whenever you transport a consignment of these tiny beads, you therefore need a special load securing system. The octagonal cardboard pallets (known as octabins) containing the beads are held securely in place by a sophisticated web of tensioning straps. Over recent years, we have invested heavily in this highly reliable system in order to meet the needs of our customers. We not only ensure that such consignments are securely loaded, but also add value in one other very innovative way. We employ cutting-edge technology to make the transport process as efficient as possible.
Shipping requests can be submitted via a simple web platform. We then pass on the order to a sub-contractor previously registered with the customer. The transport vehicle will already have been fitted with a transmitter chip that automatically signs it in and at the same time registers it at the factory gate. This means that the driver does not have to spend extra time registering in person. In fact, the drivers' details are also recorded beforehand so they can sign in using a highly modern biometric fingerprint scanner. This web-based factory gate entry system reduces waiting time from thirty to two minutes. Once the freight has been stowed at the loading point, it is secured using the tensioning strap system. This is done at ground level, so there is no need for the driver to climb onto the vehicle.
As soon as the consignment arrives, the driver reports the delivery to our scheduling team. This information is forwarded to the customer via the internet and confirms that the goods have been delivered on time and in proper condition. The freight service is billed automatically through an electronic link between our company and the systems of the international chemicals firm.
In this manner Rhenus provides a significant contribution to the production of Styrofoam panels, that will ensure a good room temperature in Michael Gerber’s new head office.
Michael's company makes and sells high-quality furniture. While planning the impending move, he considers which of the company's existing structures need to be replaced by more effective solutions. One particular area that he has in mind is warehouse logistics. The goal here is process optimisation. Having learned about the role we played in supplying his insulation panels, Michael has decided to hand over this task to our specialist Warehousing Solutions team. Before moving, he also wants to dispose of some old documents that he no longer has to keep filed. He intends to keep other documents – for which he does not have room in the new building – in an external archive, and here too he turns to Rhenus. Our Office Systems unit will be happy to take on this job and set up an efficient mail system as well.