ON THE PLAN
* Cover story in the magazin “Wirtschaftliche Nachrichten” of the IHK Aachen, January 2019 – pages: 33 and 34 – by Helga Hermanns
Freight forwarder Josef Schumacher has created a new logistics location with the help of building contractor Peter Schmelzer and financial expert Karin Otten!
On the plan – digitization, increasing quality standards and energetic requirements – Josef Schumacher knows: If his forwarding company wants to face the challenges of the coming years, it can only be achieved through well thought-out construction and financing planning. And because this requires special expertise knowledge, Schumacher relies on long-term partners. In cooperation with VALERES Industriebau GmbH and a financial expert from “ok! Bankcommunication + consulting”, the forwarding company Josef Schumacher is realizing a pioneering construction project at the Aachener Kreuz: a high-bay warehouse with a new administrative headquarters.
While trucks with the blue Schumacher logo are already waiting for their loading and unloading in front of the loading stations of the new, huge warehouse, work is still going on at the entrance to the new administrative headquarters of the transport company, which is to be set up above the warehouse. In March, Schumacher and the administrative staff want to move into the new open-plan office. This step has created a total of 150 jobs at the new location. More are to follow. Because Josef Schumacher is already planning to build at least three more warehouses.
As a “specialist for temperature-controlled goods”, the company, which was founded in Würselen in 1931, has to guarantee its customers from the confectionery and food industries perfect storage conditions. That is why the technology in the high-bay warehouse must meet the latest requirements. VALERES Industriebau GmbH is responsible for this part. Managing director Peter Schmelzer has been working for “Schumacher Logistik” for around 20 years and has already built a number of warehouses for them. But it can no longer be compared with today’s technology, he explains.
You can feel the new technology in the high-bay warehouse: there are three temperature zones for the different products. Depending on the range of goods, the temperature is between five and 18 degrees. The humidity also varies and is adjusted fully automatically via sensors. Excess moisture is extracted from the air and channeled into the sewer system. The mobile racking system from Jungheinrich is particularly impressive. Because unlike in many other high-bay warehouses, there is not an aisle between each row of shelves. If a forklift driver has to pick up a pallet in aisle 17, for example, all rows of shelves in front of it move to the side and open the corresponding gap. With this compact storage technology, the air volume can be used perfectly and energy can be saved.
“The inclusion of possible grants in the overall financing can under certain circumstances have a positive influence on the decision by banks.”
Karin Otten, finance expert from “ok! Bankcommunication + consulting”
Energetically up to date
This also applies to the ramp system, explains Schmelzer. Because nothing wastes more energy than an open loading door. When the trucks reverse up to the loading ramp, air cushions enclose the entire rear of the vehicle and the rear doors are only opened in the cooled loading area. “In terms of energy, the new logistics location at Aachener Kreuz is unique in the entire region,” explains Schumacher. It also goes without saying that a photovoltaic system on the roof supplies electricity and that air heat pumps are used in the well-insulated building. Thanks to special heat-insulating glass, huge window areas are also possible in the administration wing, from which one can see over the entire Aachener Kreuz.
The energy efficiency can also be expressed in numbers: The aim is to fall below today’s standard by 40 percent. Less primary energy is required during operation. The higher effort will be funded with appropriate grants. “We stand for green logistics,” says Schumacher.
Today, customers check very carefully how the forwarding company operates its warehouse or how environmentally friendly the vehicle fleet is. Without high standards one would not be competitive today. But that also leads to high investment costs. That is why Schumacher and his project manager Anemone Zabka not only included VALERES Industriebau GmbH from Würselen as specialists in the construction project, but also a proven financial expert with management consultant Karin Otten. With the company “ok! bankcommunication + consulting” from Aachen Schumacher has also been working together for years.
Financing strategy is important
Credit decisions, conditions and securities are very dependent on the rating of the company to be looked after, explains Otten. Her goal is to prepare the business figures and balance sheets for upcoming investments. With Karin Ottens know-how from the banking world, she can document investment and financing decisions in advance for the bank, prepare the entrepreneur for bank discussions and provide the “hard facts” for the customer advisor. “The inclusion of possible grants in the overall financing as an equity supplement can under certain circumstances have a positive influence on the financing decision and approval by banks,” says Otten.
She has already observed the planning of Schumacher’s construction project and explored the various funding opportunities offered by the federal government or the EU. Ultimately, Schumacher was able to use a whole funding package: loan funds for particularly energy-efficient construction, repayment grants and finally EU funds to create new jobs.
In advance, of course, Schumacher, Schmelzer and Otten had to weigh up which level was ultimately affordable and sensible. And Schumacher argues that the funding is partially neutralized by additional costs. But it is important to think about the future and create high standards so that the company remains the largest in the country in the field of temperature-controlled logistics in the coming years. Schumacher is convinced that this step into the future would not have been possible without the cooperation with proven partners.