With the continued growth of MaK diesel engine sales around the world for marine, power generation, and petroleum applications, Caterpillar is celebrating the launch of a new logistic center located in Henstedt-Ulzburg, Germany, right north of the city of Hamburg.  The warehouse, comprising an interior area of nearly 15,000 sqm (161,450 sq ft), is the fourth facility in Germany for Caterpillar Motoren GmbH & Co, and will serve as a hub for MaK spare parts for customers throughout the world.  With its close proximity to both the international airport and the port infrastructure in Hamburg, the logistic center will increase velocity for parts availability to customers and reduce costs.

During the opening ceremony in Henstedt-Ulzburg on 21 April 2010, leaders from the Kiel Engine Center (KEC) announced to the local economic and political representatives in attendance that the consolidation of spare parts into one central location was a very wise investment.  “The fact that Caterpillar was able to complete this strategic investment in such a short time (beginning July 2009) and in a tough economic year will mean that Caterpillar and the MaK brand will be stronger as our demand retains its growth,” explained Dr. Fernando Cantú, Order Fulfillment Director.

The modern warehouse was designed and built according to logistic standards developed by Caterpillar, as well as the manufacturing standards developed through 6 Sigma and Cat Production System (CPS).  This methodology has been incorporated at every Caterpillar manufacturing facility and creates a network of best practices to streamline processes and maximize the potential of every employee to ensure industry leading quality and velocity.  For example, the architecture of the building was designed to shorten the distance people and parts would need to travel through the cycle of unloading, storage, and shipping.  A reduction in process time and movement is one critical element of CPS – eliminating waste by limiting excess motion.

Along with a smart design to eliminate waste, the logistic center was developed to support Caterpillar’s commitment to sustainable development.  “Caterpillar is working tirelessly to meet sustainability requirements of global customers, so it only makes sense that we echo this commitment in the building of this facility as well,” notes Cantú.  “Sustainable development is supported by the focus on energy efficiency through the installation of an energy saving lighting system and utilization of natural rain water.  Additionally, the location of the facility reduces the amount of kilometers trucks have to travel, resulting in less impact on the environment.  We hope to show that we are not only focusing on emission reduction for our products, but rather every aspect of our business.”

Construction of the logistic center was complete in February 2010 and full operation at the new logistic center is set for 15 May.  Nearly 40 employees at the facility will manage parts stocking and distribution, order processing, accounting, information technology, legal and human resources.