With the extension of its European logistics commissioning centre and the construction of a new fully automated high-bay warehouse, sink and mixer tap specialist Blanco has now created the perfect conditions for its continued growth and future-orientated global distribution. The building was ceremonially handed over today, exactly one year after the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony. The project, which cost in the region of €20 million, will more than double the company's warehouse capacity. Due to its very strong growth in recent years, the original logistics centre, opened seven years ago, had already passed its capacity limits. As an interim solution BLANCO was required to store goods externally which involved a considerable increase in expenses and efforts.
The site in Bruchsal from the very beginning offered the opportunity of a possible extension of the original building – a point taken into consideration in the early planning stages of the original BLANCO logistics centre. For CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board Achim Schreiber, this most recent building project makes a very clear statement. "We are setting the foundation stone for future growth with the extended warehousing capacities and logistics structures. Together with our extremely high standards, the extended warehousing facilities will help us to continue to supply our customers both at home and abroad quickly and reliably. When including our existing building, we have now invested 40 million in the European logistics centre. This also reinforces our commitment to Germany as a location, and secures workplaces in Bruchsal."
Rapp architectural offices based in Ulm achieved the perfect link to the existing building. Their brief was to take into account the company's specific functional and aesthetic requirements, and to create a building complex that would be perceived as a single unit. The 4300 m² extension of the commissioning hall blends perfectly with the existing building, being of the same height and with the same metallic shimmering Alucobond façade that is so reminiscent of the stainless steel material the company uses for its sinks. The new adjoining fully automated high-bay warehouse offering similar floor space was designed as an autonomous, elongated cubic structure. The outer shell creates a striking contrast: its organic façade appearance in dark grey stone is depictive of Silgranit PuraDur, the company's innovative and globally most successful composite granite-sink material – an exciting contrast that emphasises the linearity of the overall architecture with a particularly aesthetic appeal.
In the planning stage it was important to take into account the functionality of the building, as the logistics centre is in fact much more than just a warehouse. Besides managing individual customer packaging requirements, carrying out quality checks, Bruchsal also commissions customer-specific sink/mixer-tap/accessory variations. The logistics centre is now also the home for the entire spare parts warehouse. The interior layout of the commissioning hall is geared up to cope with flexible working processes. "The fully automated high-bay warehouse will not only accommodate the products momentarily stored externally but provide the spatial conditions for future requirements. The automation integrated in Bruchsal offers us the best possible solution, both financially and with regard to our process management based on speedy response times – as well as the capability and capacity of dealing with the volumes we are planning long term," explains CTO Wolfgang Schneider. Blanco continues to focus on managing its own logistics. "That gives us the flexibility we need. The new fully automated high-bay warehouse integrates seamlessly into the current processes and entire system landscape," Mathias Rüdele, CEO of BLANCO's Logistics Centre, is more than pleased with the success of this new building.
Key figures of the extension of Blanco's logistics centre
Where: 76646 Bruchsal
Industriegebiet West 2
Construction commenced: April 2014
Ceremonial opening: 6 May 2015
Site: 27,086 m²
Floor space: 8760 m² (hall, high-bay warehouse, link)
Total project investment: approx. €20 million
Design and planning: Rapp Architekten, D-89077 Ulm
General contractor: Züblin Harsch ARGE
Automatic conveyor technology: SSI Schäfer, D-57290 Neunkirchen
BLANCO is based in Oberderdingen in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, and is a leading manufacturer of high quality sinks and mixer taps. According to the latest Heinze-Sanitär Panel, Germany's biggest sink manufacturer is also the German market leader for mixer taps. Its range also includes waste systems and accessories all around the sink. Blanco SteelArt stands for exclusive solutions in stainless steel, such as hand-made sinks and worktops. The company manufactures its sinks in all three materials, stainless steel, Silgranit and ceramic, itself. In 2014, the Silgranit plant in Sinsheim produced its 50-millionth sink.
The BLANCO Group employs a total of 1,300 people, 980 in Germany and 320 abroad. The group includes numerous subsidiaries both at home and abroad, and especially in Europe, North America and Asia. In 2013 BLANCO achieved a consolidated annual turnover of 293 million euros. The company manufactures predominantly at its sites in Sulzfeld and Sinsheim, close to where it is based, as well as in Toronto and Istanbul. Its European logistics centre is in Bruchsal.
The E.G.O. Blanc and Fischer Group today has a majority holding in the company, which was founded by Heinrich Blanc in 1925, and also in its sister company Blanco Professional, and is committed to observing ethical business practices based on the Caux Round Table (CRT).