The signal is clear: “We want to significantly expand the contract logistics area.” In view of the rapid growth, however, the first thing to do is to “build up structures”, admits the company boss. Because: TST now has 77 locations worldwide, the vast majority of which, around 70, are in Germany. For example, a risk management system must be introduced in order to ensure continuous utilization of the systems.
But there is another signal behind it. “We want to develop further and expand our portfolio,” Schmidt makes clear. In the past ten years, the TST Group has grown as a hidden champion rather clandestinely and silently. In the meantime, the medium-sized company has risen to become a serious player in production and industrial logistics. These personal details also make that clear.
The 54-year-old self-made man Schmidt started out with a truck in 1990. Meanwhile, the Rheinhesse, together with his wife Melanie and managing director Marcel Bicking, runs a group of companies that consists of around 30 companies, employs around 3,300 people and will achieve a turnover of around 380 million euros this year. A real family business: 37 members of the „Schmidt Clan“ work in the company.
Describing the TST product is not easy for outsiders. For Schmidt himself, on the other hand, it is: “Our product is the vision. We are a full-service logistician – making logistics easy is therefore our motto. ”He specifies:“ We have ideas on how the production and disposal logistics can be designed efficiently. ”This usually starts with the wishes and considerations the customer to the respective material flow in production, goes through the construction of halls to warehouse activity, order picking and upstream and downstream transports with our own fleet of 150 trucks. Ultimately, each project is “more or less unique”.
The success of the past ten years speaks for itself. „We don’t even have a sales department, we live from our references,“ says Schmidt. Names such as Henkel, Unilever, Daimler Nestlé, BASF, Intersnack, Tchibo or the automotive supplier Isolite, which belongs to the Japanese Hitachi group, are on his illustrious list of customers. They represent the pillars on which TST stands: chemistry, pharmacy, automotive, food and industry. Added to this are the cross-sector factory and intralogistics as well as the company’s own vehicle fleet. TST is also pushing its way into the e-commerce field.
The course for his success in optimizing material flow was set by chance in the mid-1990s. In a warehouse of what was then Win Cosmetic, Schmidt casually gave the manager in charge „a few tips on how to do it better“. Managing director Ulrich Grieshaber came by by chance, „and I was allowed to contribute a few ideas to the in-house logistics,“ remembers Schmidt. “If the managing director hadn’t come by at that moment, I would probably still be sitting on the box today,” he smiles. Win Cosmetic – long since absorbed by the Dalli Group – was the anchor customer „and Ulrich Grieshaber my mentor“ for many years.
The next boost came at the beginning of the 2000s: Schmidt was able to win a second major customer in the Markant purchasing company, and the independence project began. Subsequently, it was often smaller companies that TST started with and then grew with. In the meantime, more and more new customers are approaching the Worms.
The days when business were won through the price are long gone, says Schmidt. “First of all, we had to create trust that what we were proposing was also sensible.” Today it is different. “If we win tenders, it’s because we simply have good ideas,” he says confidently.
A few examples: For example, the snack manufacturer Intersnack used to import empty nut tins from overseas in order to then fill them in its plant in Schwerte. Today only the metals are delivered on rolls, a machine in the TST warehouse presses the cans, which then go straight to the filling station. Thanks to the restructuring of procurement and production processes, many tons of CO2 emissions have already been saved, says Schmidt happily. And of course costs were also reduced.
Or: In another project, complex packaging machines with numerous different components were built on the TST initiative, which are now used jointly by two large manufacturers of still water – with corresponding synergies.
TST also won the tender from Henkel for a new chemical warehouse to be built. In addition to the property to be provided, it contained the requirement to bring six different types of goods together in one warehouse, including compliance with prohibitions on storage together, an optimal material flow and suitable extinguishing technology. The solution was a star-shaped warehouse – „we had won the best model and thus the tender – with the world’s best extinguishing technology and role model function“. With the help of such ideas, sales have increased more than tenfold since 2010 from around 35 million euros.
The TST Group has long been financially stable. The equity ratio is well over 60 percent, the margin is right, even if Schmidt does not want to comment on this in detail. But “we don’t work for 2 or 3 percent,” he emphasizes.
And how is it going to be in the future? „We want to grow in a targeted manner in our niches – whereby we proceed selectively.“ The primary goal is not to drive sales up further. “We are of a healthy size with which we can survive as a family business.” He does not even think about selling, even if “many big ones have already knocked on the door, but we are not interested”.
Genug zu tun hat TST. So werden bis 2023 fünf Logistikanlagen entstehen in den Segmenten Chemie, Pharmazie und E-Commerce, zwei weitere Projekte sind in Vorbereitung. Deutschland wird unverändert der zentrale Markt bleiben.
Schmidt selbst schreibt sich das Talent zu, mit einem Blick logistische Optimierungspotenziale zu erkennen und ein Gefühl für Ideen und Innovationen zu haben. „Ich gehe in einen Prozess und erkenne recht schnell, wo etwas zu verbessern ist.“ Diese Fähigkeiten haben ihm auch die Spitznamen „Daniel Düsentrieb“ nach dem Erfinder aus den Disney-Comics und „Wickie“ nach dem ideenreichen Wikingerjungen („Ich hab’s) eingebracht.
Schmidt has already started arranging his successor. He wants to gradually withdraw from the operative business, rather to be active in an advisory capacity. In future, the group is to be led by a four-person committee headed by Managing Director Marcel Bicking. The older daughter Marie will be there – she has already started in the company and is completing a dual course of study.
Schmidt himself wants to travel more with his mobile home in the future, enjoy life and walk through the forest without a phone. One or the other brilliant idea will surely come to him in the process.
If we win tenders, it’s because we simply have good ideas. Frank Schmidt, owner of the TST group
Source: DVZ , October 26, 2021