The experts from Saxony-Anhalt are active in a multitude of countries all over the world when it comes to packaging. They prepare high-quality machine parts, compressors for extracting crude oil in Saudi Arabia, transformers and even complete factory equipment for shipment. Half of the company employees are permanently on the road so they can work directly at customers' premises, states Rainer Fricke. He then goes on to explain that they could just as easily be deployed in Italy as they could in France, Poland or Lithuania. Globalization ensures that the large commodity flows around the globe have become the norm.
The packaging business has no standard solutions, as the requirements are simply too different. Nonetheless, the range that makes light work of long distances whilst properly protecting and securing products offers a sufficient solution, from highly sensitive electronic parts, over machine tools, to water treatment systems. The entire engineering-related preparation process for this takes place in Saxony-Anhalt. Sometimes, freight has to be packed in such a way that it doesn't project over the form of transport. Moreover, some items are left standing at their destinations for a long time until they are actually incorporated into the factory building process, for instance.
Magdeburg- or Dessau-based mechanical engineers fall back on the skills of the logistics experts from Groß Ammensleben, who purchase glass plants in Haldensleben and Osterweddingen for their packaging. Many of the parts, which weigh several tonnes, start their journeys to the biggest overseas ports via the port in Aken. Stretches of inland water prove to be an ideal solution, as transporting bulk goods by road costs money and involves a great deal of time and effort. Only small parts, which are often ordered by regional clients, come directly to the facility so they can be shipped onwards from there in an optimally secure manner. Meanwhile, in the company's halls, some of the timber elements necessary for the various orders are produced.
"Eastern Europe is still an interesting market for us," says Rainer Fricke says. S&W Verpackung considered expanding its sales territory early on. Indeed, it has been working in Poland since 2003. The man from Saxony-Anhalt hasn't been a stranger in the Jaroslaw County for a long time now. The subsidiary S & W Verpackung Polska Sp. z.o.o., which is based in Laszki on the border with Ukraine, complements the company's portfolio and creates logistically interesting opportunities in Poland and Slovakia, for instance. The location is also especially attractive to potential investors. It forms part of a special economic zone that also lends it a particular charm from the perspective of investors.
The specialists from Saxony-Anhalt acquired the skills and knowledge necessary for industrial packaging at the start of the 1990s. During the GDR era, a trade production cooperative worked in the village before the gates of Magdeburg. In 1972, just like many other facilities at that time, it was nationalised. The main customers of the company, which at that time manufactured packaging materials, included companies from Magdeburg’s heavy mechanical construction trade. When re-privatisation came about in 1990 and the GmbH [limited liability company] was founded at a later date, the company was fundamentally modernised and made fit for the market economy. But getting to that stage certainly wasn't easy. Of the 100 members of staff employed in the 1980s, just seven remained in 1996. "This time was decisive for us," reports Rainer Fricke. Orders from the construction industry that enabled the company to weather the storm of the post-reunification period well gradually became more and more scarce. The decision was then made that the company would devote all of its energies to the packaging industry. The concept worked and proved to be stable. Nowadays, 48 members of staff work in Germany, and another 27 work in Poland. With regard to specialists, the company relies on its own apprentices and employees being qualified on an ongoing basis for what are often complicated processes. "We can't find any experts in this field on the market, so we have to convey the necessary specialist knowledge and skills ourselves," explains Fricke.
Author: Klaus-Peter Voigt
S & W Verpackung GmbH
Kleine Straße 8
39326 Groß Ammensleben
ph: +49 39202-6231