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Bad Salzuflen/Biemsen-Ahmsen. The retail push feed experts have retooled and expanded their production in the Corona pandemic. The demand for a secure job for cashiers is high throughout Germany. Production has been strengthened by 90 temporary workers to 190 heads.

Thomas Reineke, Lippische Landeszeitung

Corona has turned the world upside down. Also the processes and production in many companies. A good example is POS TUNING in the Meerbrede industrial estate. Since May last year, the specialist for push feed systems has been producing enclosures for cash registers in the retail trade – with success. “By the end of April we will have sold around 15,000 hygienic sneeze guards across Germany,” says managing director Oliver Voßhenrich.

Ideas exchange:

At the beginning of the Corona pandemic in spring last year, there were internal consultations at POS TUNING: “We asked ourselves in the team what our most important partner, the food retail trade, needed in order to protect both employees and customers from the risk of infection,” says Oliver Voßhenrich. The result was, among other things, face shields, spit guards, hygienic protective walls and, most recently, entire checkout enclosures. POS TUNING first supplied the city of Bad Salzuflen, among others, with protective walls – and subsequently also lawyers and doctors’ offices.

The problem was material procurement:

Demand rose quickly, and so a new problem arose for the company founded by Udo Voßhenrich in 1998:” We initially relied on plexiglass. But the demand for the transparent material increased so much due to Corona that it became far too expensive and in some cases could no longer be obtained at all,” recalls Oliver Voßhenrich.

PETG as the solution:

And again, good advice was expensive: “We then came up with the material PETG, and that was the key.” PET or polyethylene terephthalate is a plastic resin. Consumers know it in particular through the so-called PET bottles. PETG is a further development. It is clearer than PET, virtually as transparent as glass. “In addition, we were able to improve the structural rigidity of the material for our purposes, yet it is only three millimetres thick,” says Voßhenrich. This material forms the “walls” of the checkout enclosures. PETG is recyclable. It ends up being shredded back into granules, from which new plastic material can be moulded.

Customised solutions:

“We have developed a kind of modular system with which we can plan the right construction for practically any situation,” says Voßhenrich. Because: the checkout areas are fundamentally different from grocery chain to grocery chain, sometimes even from branch to branch of one brand.

Complete service:

It was also quickly clear to those responsible at POS TUNING that they could not leave the customers alone with the construction of the checkout enclosures. “We therefore offer a full service,” says Oliver Voßhenrich. This means that the Bad Salzufler company currently sends 130 two-person teams all over Germany at the same time to bring the ordered enclosures to the stores and set them up “ready to go” on site. POS TUNING gets the additional staff for this from service providers. “It would be impossible for us to build up so many staff so quickly ourselves,” says the managing director. The staff of the service providers are trained in Bad Salzuflen and then the packed goods are sent to all corners of the world.

Managing Director Oliver Voßhenrich stands at the model of a transparent protection for a workplace at the market checkout. POS TUNING currently sells such enclosures all over Germany. PHOTO: THOMAS REINEKE

Digitalisation in retail

POS TUNING was founded 23 years ago by Udo Voßhenrich, the father of managing partner Oliver Voßhenrich. The internationally positioned company with its 180 employees generates an annual turnover of around 30 million euros. “We are currently looking for further reinforcement”, says Oliver Voßhenrich. POS TUNING is a specialist for feed systems that always move the goods to the front of the shelf at the “point of sale” (the place where the customer’s decision to buy is made). This makes even a half-empty shelf look full. The experts from the Meerbrede industrial estate on the A2 are also in the process of digitalising retail. Modern feed systems from POS TUNING record the stock of goods and report it in an app, for example. Fully automatic reorders are also possible.

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Next big order:

Despite this enormous effort, the set-up in the stores remains the “bottleneck” in the entire value chain, according to Oliver Voßhenrich. Because: “If a team is good, it might manage three, at most four markets a day.” And demand remains high. POS TUNING recently received a large order from a food chain. Voßhenrich does not want to reveal the name. “We were asked to do so by the customer,” explains the managing director.

Production strengthened:

But POS TUNING has not only had to increase its logistics, but also its production because of the new line of business. The production in Meerbrede has been reinforced by 90 temporary workers to 190 heads. Voßhenrich has solved another problem among Salzufl entrepreneurs. “The packed goods were almost bursting out of our company. That’s when I asked Andreas Reibchen from the exhibition centre if he could provide us with temporary hall capacity.” No question for Reibchen. So POS TUNING can currently use 1000 square metres of space in exhibition hall 20 for picking the material for the cash register enclosures. From there, the boxes go on their journey to the markets. The rental contract is valid until mid-April for the time being.

Working without a mask:

When the trade fair business starts up again, Oliver Voßhenrich may have to think about another solution. In any case, he does not assume that the need for hygiene measures everywhere where there is a lot of public and customer traffic will be resolved when the pandemic hopefully subsides soon. “People have been sensitised by Corona. An employee at the checkout will want to protect himself or herself from viruses and germs in the future as well. The big advantage of the enclosures is that the staff inside don’t have to wear a mask. We have had this clarified by professional associations,” says Voßhenrich. So it is quite possible that the new business segment POS TUNING will be maintained in the long run. (Rei)

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