Students in front of the EDEKA Straubing logistics center (Photo: C. Dethlefs)

“This is how it must feel in Siberia every day”, one of the TUM students stated after entering the -23 degree centigrades frozen food warehouse area at the EDEKA logistics center Straubing.

40 students of the Master’s program „Business Economics of Biogenic Resources“ visited the warehouse complex on December 5th for a very special field trip. Together with two research associates from Prof. Dr. Alexander Hübner’s Chair of Supply and Value Chain Management, they could take an insight look at a grocery retail warehouse and speak to an industry expert in the field of logistics.

Hans-Dieter Karbstein, operations manager of the logistics center explained processes of procurement, order picking, and delivery of products to the retailers. He focused on topics particularly relevant for operations and supply chain management students. According to their study focus, students were extremely interested in topics of sustainability and resource management. How many products have to be disposed after their expiration date? How to ensure the energy supply of the logistics center? How to optimize the utilization and load of vehicles?

Karbstein gave detailed answers and offered an outlook on new developments due to digitization, relevance of regional products, and growing quality awareness. After the interactive presentation, the student experienced the operations in the warehouse. They saw the different temperature zones for fresh food, dairy products, non-food, and drinks including the obligatory stop in the frozen food area. Here, coworkers were easy to recognize with icicles covering their beard and in winter jackets that you only find in parts of Siberia. With constantly -23 degrees centigrade, the students were happy to move back to the normal-temperature zone after a few minutes. They were fascinated by the speed of loading products onto their vehicles while getting and giving instructions via a „pick-by-voice“ system to work as efficient as possible.

The visit offered new perspectives on a world which most people only experience the very last bit of – the actual supermarket. Students that seek to experience the picking process hands-on can apply for a student job by reaching out to Mr. Karbstein.