Logistics & Beyond: Interview with Mr. Lars Gottschenkis from J Müller Weser01. July 2021
This month, our Logistics and Beyond interview is featuring a network partner who is celebrating an outstanding milestone in the company's history. One of the leading Terminal operating companies in Germany, J. Müller Terminals, is located at the Port of Brake and Bremen. On the 1st of May, J Müller Terminals completed 200 years, which is quite a rare feat for a medium-sized family company. As a family company in the 6th – 7th generation, J. Müller sticks out in the German corporate landscape, standing by its motto "Tradition is not keeping the ashes but passing on the flame". The organization's belief, Tradition and Innovation are two sides of the same coin and has been the basis of their actions for around 200 years.
Today we speak to Mr Lars Gottschenkis, the Senior Sales Manager Breakbulk at J. Müller, to speak to us about this incredible 200 year-long journey. In conversation with Mr Gottschenkis…
PL-Alliance: J. Müller is one of the biggest independent Terminal Operators along the River Weser. Being around for 200 years, it has seen its fair share of struggles. Can you please elaborate on the various significant milestones of the port and its operation?
Lars Gottschenkis: The J. Müller Group of Companies has its origins in the agricultural sector. In the last 50 years, the company has become one of the leading companies in Germany in Port Terminal operation for breakbulk cargoes. Today, in addition to the project cargoes, the Terminals at Brake handle agricultural products, iron & steel, forest products such as pulp, lumber/timber and paper, and various kind of niche products. The Terminals at Bremen are characterized by the handling of agricultural products, coffee, cocoa and fishmeal.
PL-Alliance: Tradition is at the heart of many operations at J Müller. Over 200 years, there have also been many significant technological advances that were well received and implemented in your port operations and workings. What is the secret recipe to have this perfect balance?
Lars Gottschenkis: The secret recipe lies in a large number of highly motivated, educated and innovative employees. In addition to the commercial and operational departments, a separate technical department, mechanical and electrical workshop and an own IT department are also integrated under the umbrella of the J. Müller Group.
PL-Alliance: Backed by a strong standing through tough times, J Müller has acquired a unique experience and resilient infrastructure. How does this help you stand firm among other ports in Northern Germany?
Lars Gottschenkis: J. Müller works very close together with the landlord of the State of Lower Saxony, Messrs. Niedersachsen Ports - "N-Ports" – and has built up the infrastructure for a successful and future-oriented Port for the next coming years.
PL-Alliance: With changing times, there is a necessity to change strategy for continued success. What is the vision and strategy of J Müller in these unprecedented times of COVID-19, globalization, and multilateralism?
Lars Gottschenkis: Thanks to his flat hierarchical corporate structure, J. Müller can quickly react to changes in today's globalized world.
PL-Alliance: Industry 4.0 creates a disruption and requires companies to rethink the way they design their supply chain. J Müller has always embraced the use of state-of-the-art technology in its process and infrastructure. How do you plan to make use of industry 4.0 such as the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and robotics to digitalize your supply chain process?
Lars Gottschenkis: Industry 4.0 will get more and more importance in Terminal Port Operations. Barcode reading, RFID Technology and EDI are already in place and indispensable today. It remains to be seen to what extent 100% automation can be achieved for individual product groups in the breakbulk and project area.
PL-Alliance: A lot of readers also come from small and medium-sized companies. What is your piece of advice to them to succeed in this increasingly competitive world?
Lars Gottschenkis: There is no place for companies that want to evade competition in a competitive economy. Therefore it is very important to set early enough the sails so that the company can remain on track and do not deviate.
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