10-Sep-2014  Düsseldorf / Germany

Henkel opens Group’s biggest fully automated storage facility

35 Million euros for new high-bay warehouse

Today Henkel opened its largest automated storage facility at its corporate headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany, marking the end of a project in which the company invested a total of 35 million euros. The result is a superlative facility: built on an area the size of two football fields, its ten rack levels offer storage capacity for more than 25 million packs of laundry and home care products.

At the inaugural ceremony, the new central storage facility was officially declared open by Bruno Piacenza, a Member of Henkel’s Management Board and Executive Vice President Laundry & Home Care. “Detergents and Düsseldorf – for us, the two are inseparably linked. We have been manufacturing here for more than 130 years: Düsseldorf is not only our corporate headquarters but – still today – Laundry & Home Care’s biggest manufacturing site worldwide,” he said in his address to mark the occasion. “We have spent a total of 35 million euros in constructing this high-bay warehouse, which for us constitutes a clear commitment to our Düsseldorf operations. Over the last few years, we have invested well over 100 million euros in this site, most recently in a production plant for automatic dishwasher tabs and liquid detergents.” The central warehouse is part of a new logistics concept adopted by the Laundry & Home Care business unit in Germany. Instead of using four distribution centers at different locations around Germany, the entire warehousing logistics for laundry and home care products are now concentrated in Düsseldorf. Not only the German market but also neighboring countries will be supplied with detergents and household cleaners manufactured in Düsseldorf and dispatched from this warehouse.

A superlative project

The warehouse’s 16,000 square meter footprint is equivalent in size to around two football fields. With a capacity of 90,000 pallets, it has enough space within its ten rack levels for more than 25 million packs of laundry and home care products. Going forward, it will handle up to 1.2 million pallets – which, if put end-to-end, would stretch from Düsseldorf to Madrid. Construction of the racks alone required approximately 4,100 metric tons of steel in total – around half the weight of the Eiffel Tower.

Sustainable storage concept

One of the key advantages of this high-bay storage facility lies in its wall-to-wall connection to production at the Düsseldorf site. Conveyors take the products under fully automatic control from the production lines straight to the warehouse next door. With storage operations now merged inside of the single facility, supply shipments between the previous four distribution centers are, of course, also now a thing of the past. “This means we save a significant amount on transport, cutting the ton-kilometers traveled by around 20 percent,” explains Project Leader Christian Schulz, Supply Chain Planning & Logistics at Laundry & Home Care.