Europe-wide transport logistics with partner at eye-level

Logistics provider Wackler serves 22 Carl Stahl branches across Germany

When selecting its transport service provider, the medium-sized company Carl Stahl took a strategic change of course five years ago: a large group freight forwarder was followed by a comprehensive solution with a medium-sized company. What was the impetus behind this step? For the rope, lifting and safety technology specialist, it is easier to communicate with a supplier, when this partner thinks and acts on the same scale. This resulted in the partnership with logistics provider Wackler.

150,000 lashing straps, bulk wire rope in various diameters, hoists and lifting beams, to name just a few products, are sent by Carl Stahl every year from its 38 offices and subsidiaries across Europe to thousands of customers. Up until 2006 the company worked with different freight forwarders because each site operated independently. The result: only big locations like Munich, Suessen, Freiburg, Frankfurt, Dresden, and Hamburg could negotiate favourable terms.

At that time the Carl Stahl Group put out a central tender for its logistics contract and since then has been purchasing logistics services for all its German sites from Wackler GmbH, which is also headquartered in the Goeppingen area (with a branch in Dresden) and has a Europe-wide network through the CargoLine group. Besides national, international and intercontinental shipments as well as occasional imports, the contract covers all the export declarations and the provision of external warehousing facilities.

“For the freight forwarder, the volume of transport increased drastically and for us the processing costs were reduced by the same degree,” says Tobias Kehrer. As a consequence, the head controller of Carl Stahl estimates the cost benefit at a double-digit percentage. The centralisation process provided the rope, lifting and safety technology specialist with another benefit: for all procedures, each person in the purchasing department now has only one contact person, uniform prices and complete transparency over the transport routes and costs.

“All European consignments with the same distance now have the same price,” says the 34-year old Kehrer. This was different before, because many forwarding agents offer different services and products in terms of price and quality with the same distances. That led to time-consuming discussions and annoying misunderstandings.

As the designated contact persons at Wackler know Carl Stahl's wide product range and special requirements, problems can now be solved sooner, says Andreas Haerle. The logistics operator at Wackler looks after the customers and gives an example for this advantage. “If a driver gets stuck in a traffic jam on the way to a large construction site and realises that he has been given the wrong mobile number for the site manager, I can pass on the right number very quickly because I know the project manager.”

Thousands of consignments are dispatched every year from the headquarters in the Baden Wuerttemberg town of Suessen and from the subsidiary in the nearby state capital Stuttgart alone. The major part is general cargo; the rest is made up of lifting beams or other equipment weighing tonnes. Most of the merchandise is destined for domestic markets with German end users, while a considerable portion is moved by ground transported to other European countries. The rest is delivered to Carl Stahl's overseas customers, above all to the USA, Arab countries and Australia. In other parts of the world, Carl Stahl has its own production and warehousing facilities, for example in Brazil, North America, China, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. These locations therefore only make limited use of Wackler's logistics services.

“What is most important to me is that the partnership develops in terms of quality,” says Kehrer. In order to pursue the zero-defect philosophy, the logistics firm installed remote data interchange at the Suessen-based company not long ago, which allows the transport information to be transmitted to the freight forwarder well in advance and without errors. “This instrument avoids duplicate entries and replaces elaborate email and fax correspondence, thus further streamlining our communication channels,” says the controller.


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