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The managing directors Alexander Brockt (left) and Ulrich Schröder (right) are celebrating their 40th and 30th anniversaries of service, respectively, this year. They have shaped LOXX for many decades and have played a key role in the company's growth. In an interview, they report on how LOXX has developed since back then, what contribution green logistics can make to environmental protection, and how important flexible digital solutions are.
You both came to LOXX at the beginning of your careers and are celebrating impressive anniversaries this year. How has LOXX developed since those days?
Brockt: At the beginning of my career, LOXX was a small company with around ten employees. It was with the move to Gelsenkirchen, in particular, that we got off to a flying start internationally. We now have around 350 employees, and can offer our customers a very wide range of forwarding services. After starting as a small niche provider, we have established ourselves over the years as a hidden champion in the international freight forwarding business.
Schröder: We really have come a very long way and developed further: from a specialist in LTL/FTL for Eastern and Southeastern Europe to an all-rounder for the European general cargo business and beyond. Our wide range of services, especially with respect to departure frequency and the number of destination stations, is unique in North Rhine-Westphalia.
What have been the biggest milestones in your career so far for you personally?
Schröder: At LOXX, I had the opportunity to continuously develop myself professionally – from a clerk to managing director. Of course, I had to seize my chances myself, but I also received support and could always seek advice.
Brockt: The move from Essen to Gelsenkirchen was a very important milestone for me. At the time, I advocated for it because I was firmly convinced that the high investments would indeed pay off. With our new location, we then had a strong new basis for the subsequent growth of LOXX.
LOXX is currently in a process of transformation. For example, we have had new freight forwarding software since 2018, which makes us much more powerful and efficient. But with our new management duo in the warehouse as well – with Uwe Karrenberg as the new managing director of LOXX Lagerlogistik GmbH and Jens Krämer as the new warehouse manager – we have an innovative team that has already been able to implement its first successful projects for process optimisation. With the technical possibilities and the corresponding expertise, we have reached a new level in recent years.
Schröder: From my perspective, as well, the move to Gelsenkirchen was an extremely important step in the company's development. Without that, I don't know if LOXX would still exist in this form. Thanks to the LOXX shipping facility and the concentration on one location that this entails, we had completely new opportunities – to continue growing and to build new halls. That was what made the forward development possible.
The logistics industry is continuously developing. In your opinion, what are the most important trends in logistics?
Brockt: Digitalisation is one of the most important topics in the logistics industry – and it will be for the coming years as well, because it offers us completely new opportunities on many levels. There has always been movement of goods, and with new technical possibilities, clients receive very transparent and continuous information about where the goods are, when they are expected to be delivered, and much more. This gives both our customers and us more effective security in planning.
Schröder: Automation is also an important keyword here. This encompasses various processes, from route planning to digital billing systems with e-billing. Automated processes enable us to deploy employees more sensibly, for example, in direct customer service. We also see yet more processes that we could convert in our warehouse in future, for example, with respect to driverless industrial trucks.
The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly relevant to society. What contribution can the logistics industry make to conserving natural resources?
Schröder: In order for the economy and ecology to be in harmony, we have to find solutions together with our clients. One important approach is efficient route planning. This includes our shuttle concept, for example, or optimal use of the cargo space, the so-called filling rate. This way, we can avoid trips with unused cargo space and minimise empty trips.
Brockt: In addition to the possibilities in forwarding, we also have a green logistics building that contributes to our sustainable use of natural resources. The automatic lighting in the halls, the photovoltaic system on the roof and the feeding of rainwater into the Emscher river for rewilding are important aspects of this.
If you were to venture to make a forecast: Where do you see the strengths of LOXX in the next few years?
Schröder: At LOXX, we have always had an affinity for automated processes and solutions. We very recently implemented a dynamic lane concept for the warehouse that automatically detects when lanes are full and a new lane has to be opened. I see our strength in the years to come as still lying in the development of short-term and flexible solutions with our internal IT department.
Brockt: I also view the development of digital and automated solutions as an important foundation for LOXX. With our IT department, we are able to develop and implement projects quickly internally.
You can find this and other articles in the eXXpresso 11/2021.