Gerhard Schäfer: initiator of the system concept and pioneer of storage logistics
Gerhard Schäfer initiated and implemented the system concept in storage logistics. The market launch and series production of the fixed storage box is considered the key impetus and a milestone both in internal logistics and in the corporate history of SSI Schäfer.
|Managing Director of the Schäfer company
|August 5, 1924 in Neunkirchen/Siegerland, Germany
|July 19, 2015 in Neunkirchen/Siegerland, Germany
|Dr. Jochen Köckler, Member of the Board of Deutsche Messe, Hannover, Germany
- In 1938, Gerhard Schäfer became the first apprentice of a company founded in 1937 by his father Fritz Schäfer. The name of the company was “Fritz Schäfer – fabrikmäßige Herstellung von Blechwaren aller Art“, denoting its series production of all kinds of metal goods. After the early death of their father in 1951, the four sons – Hans, Gerhard, Theo and Manfred Schäfer – took over the management of the company. Gerhard Schäfer, a fine-sheet metal worker by trade, was the technician, the hands-on man of practice, and the "implementer".
- The market launch and series production of the fixed storage box represented a milestone in storage logistics. This mould-breaking innovation was jointly developed by the Schäfer brothers under the leadership of Gerhard Schäfer in 1953. Besides taking up a lot of space, normal transport containers made it difficult to look for individual parts back in those days. To find a screwdriver, for example, it was necessary to search dozens of containers and sometimes even place them alongside each other to make the search easier. The stackable box with a "viewing hole" at the front put an end to this and ushered in the beginning of modern container production. The innovation, which still characterises storage logistics today, is held to be a crucial step in the intralogistics system concept. The fact that the term “Schäfer Box" survives to this day as a synonym for the storage of products bears witness to how farsighted this development was.
- With the industrial production and spread of the storage box with a "viewing hole", Gerhard Schäfer not only created a milestone in the field of intralogistics but also laid the foundations for the incredible success story of the Schäfer business – from a basement workshop to a leading global warehousing and logistics system provider which today has more than 9,000 employees as well as production locations and sales companies all over the world. With the emerging plastic boom, Schäfer extended the product range and manufactured not only the proven steel storage boxes but also the first milk and beer bottle boxes and storage bins made of plastic. In the 1960s, the company began its expansion and internationalisation by establishing its first foreign subsidiaries in Switzerland, England and Austria. The 1960s and 1970s saw numerous innovations, always in line with the "system" concept: shelves modelled after the plug-in system, stack and nest containers, high-bay warehouse and Euro-Fix containers for goods handling solutions. In 1970 it became possible to order products for warehouses, workshops and offices directly from the Schäfer SSI shop catalogue by mail order. The following decades saw the diversified expansion of the company's business fields into areas such as waste technology. Today, after almost eight decades, the product and solution portfolio of SSI Schäfer caters to the full range of internal logistics requirements, and the company is one of the largest providers of release-ready software for internal material flows.
- Gerhard Schäfer died on July 19, 2015 in Neunkirchen in the Siegerland region of Germany. Up to his passing, he successfully managed the fortunes of the group of companies as Managing Partner of SSI Schäfer.
Born August 5, 1924 in Neunkirchen/Siegerland, Germany
1938 became an apprentice at the family firm of Fritz Schäfer
1951 Managing Director of Schäfer
1953 Invention of the fixed storage box
1960 began internationalisation and diversification of the business
Died on July 19, 2015 in Neunkirchen/Siegerland, Germany. Gerhard Schäfer remained Managing Director of Schäfer until this death.