176 years of intelligent logistics solutions

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Text: Juliane Gringer
Photos: Wackler

Spedition Wackler from Göppingen can look back on 176 years of company history. To secure its success for the future, it is constantly expanding and deepening its service portfolio. Maximilian Schwarz, the son of managing director Oliver Schwarz, is being prepared to take over the company in the fifth generation.

176 years of transport and logistics, the company in the hands of the fourth generation of the family: Die Spedition Wackler from Göppingen in Baden-Württemberg proves that it has always been able to keep up with the times with a great deal of expertise and success in general cargo logistics. “We know that we must not rest on past successes, but are always launching new and further services, especially in logistics,” says 30-year-old Maximilian Schwarz, who is to take over in a few years as the fifth generation. What is needed, he says, are innovative solutions that are geared very closely to the customer.

Store solutions and returns processing

That’s why Wackler has joined forces in a joint venture with e-commerce company elektro-plus, among others, which offers web store solutions for online retailing of electrical, household and garden appliances. “We can thus implement entire online stores for our customers and offer the entire fullfilment chain as an e-commerce service.” This is accompanied by a high level of expertise in the area of returns processing: “Goods that are ordered and then returned by parcel service provider or via a freight forwarder are among the most complex tasks in our industry in terms of logistical processes,” says Schwarz. “We have gained plenty of experience here to be able to meet these complex requirements.” Wackler takes care of all services from planning to control and inspection of returned goods. “If these phases run efficiently, it is possible to reduce throughput times, optimize internal warehouse and shipping processes, sustainably reduce the costs of returns, and also relieve personnel through outsourcing. Orderers benefit because their orders and returns are processed faster.”

Extended workbench saves transport costs

The company also wants to offer its customers a high value chain: “For example, we run a small assembly center where we can manufacture components – comparable to an extended workbench,” explains Maximilian Schwarz. This also saves transport costs: customers then outsource their warehouse and small assembly steps can already be carried out there. “There is no need for transport between their central warehouse and production. Otherwise, the parts would sometimes be brought here three times from the central warehouse to production, then back to the warehouse on hold if necessary, and back to the line.”

»Advancing globalization alone means that intelligent logistics solutions are increasingly in demand.«

Maximilian Schwarz, Business Development Manager and Authorized Officer responsible for the division, Wackler Spedition und Logistik

For Maximilian Schwarz, an important task in the future will be to expand such services and integrate others. When Wackler Spedition & Logistik celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2021, he had just returned to the company: He had first studied economics at the University of Hohenheim and a master’s degree in supply chain management in Austria, had been abroad several times during this time, and had then worked for three years in a logistics consultancy in Berlin. With his experience outside the Wackler world, he brings many new impulses to the company, which can above all fuel its digital transformation – for example, the suggestion to cooperate with start-ups. Here, Wackler cooperates intensively with Cargo Digital World, the digital subsidiary of the CargoLine general cargo network, among others. Cargo Digital World specializes in developing digital platform services and connecting them with networks of suppliers and customers in the logistics industry.

Industry with “a great deal of future”

“However, the fact that we are always looking ahead has long been anchored in our corporate culture,” explains Maximilian Schwarz. “Among other things, our external advisory board helps us regularly think outside the box and build visions for our company and our employees beyond the tactical planning horizon.” He himself has always been fascinated by transportation and logistics: “The complexity that lies in the general cargo business is exciting, as is the challenge that in logistics you always have to be fast and always offer customer-oriented solutions.” He likes the fact that he is working in an industry “with a very bright future”: “Advancing globalization alone means that more and more intelligent logistics solutions are in demand.” As the future head of the company, Maximilian Schwarz’s main aim is to continue to drive the healthy and sustainable growth of the group. “The most important goal, of course, is to be a safe and good employer for the people who work at our sites in Göppingen and Dresden – today and in the future.”

Being a good employer

Maximilian Schwarz internalized the values associated with this as a child. Now he sees it as his greatest task to continue to fill them with life in the interests of the company. Father and son are shaping the takeover together and are also supported by external coaches. “Fortunately, we both have a very good relationship with each other, both privately and professionally,” says Maximilian Schwarz. “We have complete trust in each other, and I am being introduced step by step to my future role in the management.”

Founded in 1846

Wackler’s history begins in 1846, when founder Christian Viktor Lutz from Göppingen expanded his passenger transport business to include freight transport under the name “Stuttgarter Bote.” Over the decades, new services were added: groupage transports, furniture transports, a warehouse with customs clearance, waste disposal for the city of Göppingen, and new offerings in the areas of warehousing, just-in-time delivery, and procurement. From a one-time provider of freight transportation services using horse-drawn wagons, Wackler has evolved into a company that today has national and international transportation solutions and services ranging from warehousing to full-service logistics to e-commerce in its portfolio. As a general cargo expert, Wackler is one of the eight founding shareholders of the Cargoline transportation network. The company has been owned by the Schwarz family since 1912, and in the 1990s the fourth generation took over with Oliver, Gabriele and Beate Schwarz. “Tradition and innovation” make up Spedition Wackler, according to Maximilian Schwarz, the son of current Managing Director Oliver Schwarz. Maximilian serves as business development manager as well as authorized signatory responsible for the division.

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