The new sales and production centre in Solingen gives item even more flexibility for rapidly reacting to customer requirements.
In December 2016, item opened a brand new site in Solingen’s Piepersberg business park as part of a major investment package aimed at optimising its in-house processes. The item Piepersberg sales and production centre combines the two crucial areas of indirect and direct sales under one roof close to headquarters.
One contact point for all item products
It is not just the initial team of 150 employees at the site who will benefit from having everything much closer to hand, as customers can now also find the entire product range in one central location. Inbound and outbound deliveries are much more straightforward thanks to the virtually direct link to the A46. This convenient geographical situation also helps speed up order preparation, which means that custom profile sections can be manufactured and supplied even faster. With 5,000 small parts available at all times, 1500 metric tons of lengthy products and 120 panels, item Piepersberg is also the first pick-up point for customers in the region who want to collect their orders.
Outstanding delivery reliability thanks to cutting-edge logistics
To help keep track of all these volumes, the sales and production centre is using the very latest in automation technology. Here too, the statistics are impressive – the automated warehouse facility comprises 45 individual storage areas, 1,600 long load containers and 30,000 crates for small parts. The adjoining pallet warehouse has an additional 3,100 storage spaces. This focused and efficiently coordinated logistics means that customers in Germany can be supplied with goods within 24 hours. The delivery time for cut-offs is 48 hours.
These turnaround times are made possible by two panel saws that are fed directly from the automated panel warehouse by a gantry system with a vacuum gripper. The Piepersberg site also has a fully automatic saw for long aluminium goods that features an infeed and removal table. The outdoor storage facility covers 3,000 m², can be navigated by trucks and offers the ideal conditions for getting item components sent out fast. It also includes a waiting area that can accommodate up to four trains and a container set-down area.
The big project in brief
Before all this was possible, the project team at item had to overcome a number of challenges. At the start, item Piepersberg was not much more than a 67,000 square-metre open space. Equivalent in size to nine average football pitches, there was a lot of groundwork that had to be done before the sales and production centre could rise from the earth bit by bit in the space of a year. Just under 115,000 m³ of earth was excavated. Some of that was reused as backfill while the remaining 90,000 m³ was transported away – enough earth to fill almost 6,400 articulated lorries.
At peak times, there were around 200 construction workers on site. One important goal of the entire project was to work with companies from the surrounding region. For example, item Piepersberg was planned by Solingen-based architects Volker and Mirjam Hoch. Some 140 km of electric cables snake through the sales and production centre, while the photovoltaics on the roof generate 130 kW of power. The first stage of the project, which is a major investment in the future of item, has delivered a storage and production site that covers around 21,000 square metres, and this is to be extended with another 2,800 square metres of office and showroom space. All in all, the Piepersberg site offers plenty of scope for pooling even more products and services in the future.
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