Meta Regalbau from Arnsberg in western Germany has suitable shelving systems for any warehouse or storeroom to help with just that.
The steel shelving units from Meta make it easy to keep things in order. The manufacturer’s customers include major mail-order retailers, specialized trade, workshops, and archives. “Meta is definitely benefiting from the rise in online trading. Over the past four years, we’ve at least doubled our tonnage,” says Ingrid Schumacher, head of purchasing at the SME-sized warehouse and workshop furniture supplier. From the smallest screws through to bulky packages – everything needs to be stored somewhere.
It’s just the kind of success story that Martin Metzing from ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe’s sales team in Duisburg likes to hear. The steel producer is Meta’s main supplier of materials. The shelving manufacturer sources around 90 percent of its production materials from Duisburg – in all strengths and grades. “We supplied more than 30,000 linear meters of steel to them over the last eight years,” says Metzing. “Put together in a continuous strip around the 51st parallel north – the approximate latitude of Duisburg – this would circle the earth more than once.”
Higher, bigger, tougher
Shelves are expected to bear heavier and heavier weights, yet they are also to be more lightweight. Faced with such demands, Meta not only uses ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe as a supplier of carbon steel but also as a development partner. “We work together very closely. We explain to each other what we envision and we work out the best solution together,” says Schumacher. Last year, Meta started using a new material that is thinner but just as strong. “These coils can be stretched further, allowing us to manufacture more shelves from them,” explains Schumacher. “See, we even help our customers save money,” Metzing is happy to add.
At the Meta production workshops, the material is processed into complete shelving systems. The shelf production line is Meta’s centerpiece: Here, the plates cut out of the coils are put through numerous processing steps and then stacked and packaged as individual shelves. Because production is mostly automated, more than half of Meta’s 250 employees are office workers.
A very special business relationship
The connection between ThyssenKrupp and Meta goes back a long way: In 1997, Joachim Loh – whose group of enterprises includes Meta – acquired the Warehouse Technology division from Thyssen Industrie. This was used for the manufacture of pallet and sliding shelves as well as high-rack storage systems. It was an ideal addition to the Meta product range. It certainly is an advantage that both the supplier and the customer are familiar with each other’s lines of business.
To make sure it stays that way, the apprentices from Meta recently spent a day at the Duisburg plant to find out how the steel that their company processes is actually produced in the first place. Many interesting facts were learned and foundations laid for further collaboration in the future.