As the largest garden centre group in Europe, the family-owned company Dehner stands for first-class quality. Based in Rain am Lech, Bavaria, the company employs more than 5,500 people and operates 132 garden centres at locations in Germany and Austria. The product range includes everything a gardener's heart desires: from plants and bird feeders to the smallest hose coupling. In addition to the garden paradise "Blumenpark", the group of companies also includes Dehner Agrar GmbH & Co. KG and Dehner Logistik GmbH & Co. KG. We took a closer look at the latter together with Ludwig Schuhmann, Head of Logistics Green & Recycling at Dehner Logistik.
Full-service logistics from goods receipt to delivery
The central storage location for Dehner’s garden centres is also Rain am Lech. Here, in the Swabian district of Donau-Ries, Dehner Logistik GmbH & Co. KG is responsible for the entire logistics for green plants and hard goods articles. This also includes the complete plant delivery. Ludwig Schuhmann and his 130 employees ensure that the right goods arrive at the right garden centre at the right time. “At Dehner Logistik, we take care of everything from incoming goods to picking and delivery,” says Schuhmann.
Optimising both internal processes and the supply chain through innovation
“Innovation is very important for us,” says Schuhmann. “Like many other companies, we take great care to work as efficiently as possible. After all, the customer should always find blooming, dewy goods in our garden centres.” A central factor in ensuring that this succeeds, he says, is also close contact with suppliers, including the local gardening company in Rain. Other important topics in terms of innovation in the company are process control and optimisation of the supply chain. Here, the focus is not only on speed and costs, but also increasingly on the issue of sustainability.
Essential aspect of the entire supply chain: Sustainability
Sustainability is an essential aspect of Dehner’s entire supply chain. “We want to produce as little waste as possible. All plastics are recycled and reused,” Ludwig Schuhmann tells us. “And the plants that are not sold end up in our composter. The compost produced there is used as potting soil for new plants next year.” A true circular economy, in other words. Sustainability is also an important issue outside the supply chain. In a process lasting several years, the energy concept was also further developed, improved and partly provided with regenerative energies, e.g. through a combined heat and power plant, with which Dehner generates its own electricity.
The CC Container as a returnable load carrier for flowers and plants
“CC Containers are the optimal load carriers for plants,” says Schuhmann. “Not only do we have a good view of the plants, but you can also adjust the height of the individual layers specifically to the plants to be transported. In addition, the containers can be used to make optimum use of the truck loading area. Furthermore, the empty containers can be easily dismantled and can be compacted excellently due to their restacking options. This saves enormous transport costs and pollutant emissions in the return flow. CC’s returnable load carriers are very stable and durable, although the quality of the shelves can vary somewhat due to the high stress. When shelves are defective, Container Centralen’s repair service then kicks in and we receive functional material in immediate exchange.”
Handling CC Containers in the Supply Chain
To be able to use CC’s returnable load carriers and repair service, Dehner Logistik pays a rental or pool participation fee for the CC Containers. “By purchasing the units through Container Centralen, you can be sure that you always have functional containers available,” says Schuhmann. ” CC Containers that do not have an original CC TAG5 are not something we want in our supply chain. These containers may be cheaper to buy initially, but they contaminate our supply chain. We only want to use high-quality, functional CC material here. Of course, it can also happen that we receive defective CC material from our partners, so we continuously separate functional and defective CCs.
In this way, we only supply our markets and growers with functioning CC Containers.
In this way, we keep our pool clean – both at Dehner itself and in terms of what reaches the gardeners. This saves us immense costs. We pick thousands of CC Containers every day in our logistics areas – so we depend on a smooth process. We simply work faster and more economically this way.”
Cooperation and joint projects
“We implement many projects with Container Centralen and maintain a very open dialogue, also with regard to critical feedback. For example, we see potential for improvement in the design of the current labels,” Schuhmann reports. As part of an ongoing project, Dehner Logistik scans the RFID TAG5 labels with RFID scanners to check their authenticity, among other things. Schuhmann: “In the process, we check whether the label can be read by our scanners or whether it is possibly a fake label. We feed the results back to Container Centralen. Appropriate checking mechanisms are used there. The procedure is extremely strict to ensure that no counterfeit labels enter our premises and thus our supply chain. However, the procedure, especially with regard to the scanning of RFID labels, has not yet penetrated 100 % with many gardeners and companies. More participants have joined in recent months, but there is still a long way to go before penetration is comprehensive. Our common goal: the CC Pool must be kept clean!”
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