With its new, state-of-the-art logistics center, the Optima Group is ready to tackle the biggest challenges.
To achieve high growth rates over the years, you not only need highly professional production and assembly, but also an enormously efficient materials management and top-level logistics. Even providing individual services to “internal customers” – in other words, the individual Group companies and subsidiaries around the world – is a very complex task for Optima. This also applies to supplying customers with spare parts quickly and reliably. It's important to set the right course in good time: after a record eight-month construction period, the employees are already moving into the office space at Schwäbisch Hall's Solpark. The new logistics center was fully commissioned in March 2019. It set standards in many regards and has now become the international Group's vibrant parts center.
The idea had been floating around Optima's management circle for a while, and putting it into effect was just a matter of time – and finding the right location: how would it be to consolidate purchasing and logistics for the Optima Group in one central location? The individual divisions would be released from increasingly demanding tasks and Group-wide performance improved. In addition, Optima would be well equipped for all future demands and projects.
In 2015 the project was implemented: a project group headed by Heiko Funk who had just started as Materials Management Director, and Optima logistics expert Andreas Kettemann (Logistics Department Manager) began planning the huge undertaking. One thing soon became clear: purchasing and converting an existing building was not enough. The requirements were too complex and demands on the facilities too high.
A custom-designed building on a greenfield site, built from the ground up, would be the solution. However, not just any greenfield site. The location should ensure short internal transport routes and thus efficient delivery around Schwäbisch Hall; in addition, a location close to the airport would also be a benefit.
The attention quickly turned to a site in the Solpark in Schwäbisch Hall Hessental, where Optima Pharma and Optima Consumer already had their headquarters. However, the coveted property already had an owner: the Adolf Würth KG. What to do? The planning committee did not want to leave any stone unturned. High-level meetings took place under the mediation of the then Mayor of Schwäbisch Hall, Mr. Pelgrim. In the end, there was a grateful new owner: Optima.
Now the new building process could begin. An uninterrupted area along Otto-Hahn-Strasse took form, which some people have already dubbed Packaging Village: Optima Materials Management, Optima Pharma and Optima Consumer operate in close proximity to each other.
When it came to planning and designing the building and its functionalities, the team led by Funk and Kettemann went all out: only the most modern warehouse, pick-up and transport systems should be used, along with absolutely future-proof software that easily links to the company's software. Bright, well-ventilated rooms and ergonomic workstations were a must. The employees should feel comfortable and were therefore involved in the planning process from the start. The various Materials Management departments, including the packing room, the shipping and customs departments, as well as the spare parts service were on board.
In September 2017, the groundbreaking ceremony was held and the big idea finally took shape with a very modern design. The building was certainly put to the test soon: 2020 and 2021 were both characterized by significant growth. The skyrocketing global demand for vaccine filling equipment sometimes quickened the pulse even for the new Optima Logistics department. One item Heiko Funk and Andreas Kettemann were absolutely certain of: without the new center, it would have been difficult, if not impossible to manage it all. Trial by fire passed.