Wonder and amazement at “logistics cathedral”
A spectacular show, musical interludes, plenty of words of recognition and an Open Day with a folk festival feel: the official inauguration of the HARTING Technology Group European Distribution Centre (EDC) was celebrated with an amazing celebratory programme.
Before an audience of about 330 invited guests, including Detmold’s District President Marianne Thomann-Stahl, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) of East-Westphalia in Bielefeld Wolf D. Meier-Scheuven and Minden-Lübbecke District Administrator Ralf Niermann, Espelkamp’s mayor Heinrich Vieker and local Members of Parliament Bianca Winkelmann and Ernst-Wilhelm Rahe, CEO Philip Harting looked back to the company’s beginnings, when the first buyer had to fetch raw material on the train with a rucksack and his grandmother Marie Harting delivered goods to the surrounding area by bike.
Over 70 years later, the EDC is essential for opening up new markets and achieving a billion euros in turnover in the near future, said Philip Harting. The strong growth of the company and the demand of customers for fast delivery were the pivotal factors in the decision to build this large logistics centre at the Group’s headquarters. The centre is also a clear endorsement by HARTING of Eselkamp and the Minden-Lübbecke region – also to the delight of the local mayors from Lübbecke (Frank Haberbosch) and Rahden (Dr. Bert Honsel). The EDC is a flagship project showcasing the company’s technological logistic competence when it comes to innovative and flexible intra-logistic solutions. “Our products are everywhere in this building, in its technology, in its systematics and in its inner workings,” said Philip Harting.
IHK President Meier-Scheuven said that, thanks to innovative and courageous companies like HARTING, the district of Minden-Lübbecke is the most powerful economic region in Ostwestfalen-Lippe after Kreis Gütersloh. “The EDC has brought world class to Mühlenkreis,” added Minden-Lübbecke District Administrator Ralf Niermann.
“The EDC might not be the biggest but it is definitely one of the most attractive logistics centres in Germany,” was the praise from Philip Harting as he thanked everyone involved with the works. The collaboration between the team of architects from 3Deluxe headed by Managing Director Peter Seipp, Senior Vice President Margrit Harting, Senior Vice President Maresa Harting-Hertz and the internal construction team under Sven Düker had made a “functional building” into an “architectural beacon.” From a "cathedral of logistics," enthused Carsten Heil, deputy editor of the regional paper "Neue Westfälische".
Mayor of Espelkamp Heinrich Vieker said the day was “bliss”. He was alluding to unusual stainless-steel sculpture “Bliss” by Albanian artist Helidon Xhixha. The person behind the art installation, Margrit Harting, said that “Bliss” stands for the HARTING vision to create values for people. Machines and technology can help people but bliss can only be achieved through meaningful, fulfilling activity. Margrit Harting was also responsible for the internal and external design of the EDC, from the colour scheme to the fixtures, fittings and the outdoor facilities.
The highlight of the opening ceremony was the amazingly spectacular handing over of the key, featuring a show under the roof of the high bay warehouse and on a stage. Performers from the GOP Variety Theatre used the entire area of the 20m-high warehouse. Swinging on trapezes, bouncing off spring boards, climbing and jumping everywhere. After all the dizzying and breathless running around, the key was finally handed over to the very happy “owner” of the EDC, Achim Meyer.
The excited audience treated the performers – and a trumpet duo from the North West Germany Philharmonic – to loud applause. Anne Heinemann and Thomas Meise surprised guests with a musical trumpet intermezzo about 10 meters over their heads. Achim Meyer also thanked employees Tanja Brinkmann, Ullrich Brinkmeier, Sven Düker. Enrico Glaße, Jochen Richter, Thomas Richter, Antje Senst and Kristin Thomsmeyer for their extraordinary commitment throughout the years of planning and construction, presenting them with flowers. Margrit Harting awarded Achim Meyer, Managing Director of HARTING Logistics, with the company golden pin of honour for his massive commitment. He had overseen around 100 logistics centres in Germany and neighbouring countries. Ground was broken for the EDC in May 2017.
There was an Open Day for HARTING employees and their families after the official inauguration, giving them the chance to take a tour of the EDC. 3,000 or so people enjoyed a sunny afternoon of cold drinks, fancy ice creams, tasty food, entertainment for all the family and plenty of information if they needed it. And nobody was mean with their praise for the imposing building, its impressive technology, work station facilities and the design of the space. This made the opening an event that everybody will remember for a long time to come.