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The art of glass cleaning at the highest level
If it’s wine you’re after, then ProWein in Düsseldorf is the right place for you. From 19 to 21 March, the global world of wine producers converged in Düsseldorf. More than 6,000 exhibitors from 60 different countries showcased their best wines, champagnes and distilled spirits. And what is wine without a proper, quality glass to match? Exactly – nothing at all. Boels Rental has been the preferred glass supplier for a large number of exhibitors for the past 13 years. But the service doesn’t stop there. A team of more than 300 employees ensures that between 1.2 and 1.5 million glasses are washed and returned clean to the stands every single day. A technical and logistical feat of the highest order.
The first day of ProWein started early for Project Managers Max Wintjens and Simon Truyen. The central area of the trade fair was set up with portable units that served as the backbone of the operation. Exhibitors could go there to order glasses, ice, refrigerators or wine coolers. The staff at the counter were able to speak to everyone in fluent German or English. Most customers placed their orders in advance through the dedicated website set up for this purpose, Simon said. “Yes, the webshop is one of the systems we have further optimised. Given the high number of customers with varying requirements and queries, having a proper online ordering and inventory system is vital.”
“We learnt a lot from the last edition and have further optimised our processes in terms of customer focus and service.”
Sustainable trade fair
In addition to numerous external parties, the following departments were involved on behalf of Boels Rental: Unit Rental, Machine Rental and Portable Kitchens. Most of the machines came from the Boels branch in Willich, located twenty kilometres from the trade fair. “This reduces the carbon footprint enormously. We also try to reduce the number of transport movements by planning them as much as possible. On top of that, everything on site is electric. This is our way of helping make the trade fair as sustainable as possible,” Max explained as we walked past the row of trailers.
“Our customers can choose from as many as eleven different glasses. Their shape, volume and thickness make them distinct. Nothing is left to chance, the quality of the tasting experience is the top priority.”
Max took us to one of the three plants that were strategically positioned next to the large exhibition halls. Each plant was meticulously managed. There were two high-tech custom made cleaning lines inside each location where mineral-free reverse osmosis water was combined with a special cleaning agent, making sure that each and every glass was clean, dry and streak-free. Removal and supply of the dirty and clean glasses is taken care of by the runners. They ensure that the buffer locations in each hall are stocked with the complete selection of available glasses. This involves as many as eleven different types of glasses that are distinguished from each other using coloured labels on the crates.
The wonderful world of wine tasting
We entered Hall 17 with Project Manager Simon to do a delivery check at the impressive Greek stand. “This is one of our biggest customers during the trade fair. They get more than 100 crates a day. The busy stand looked amazing. Visitors were waltzing around, sniffing, sipping and then spitting the wine out again. This has nothing to do with the quality of the wine. It is simply impossible to drink all the wines tasted, as visitors ‘consume’ an average of 40 glasses a day. In addition to the many visitors, you could also see the occasional trolley with clean and dirty glasses passing by. The runners walked from stand to stand and then back to the buffer areas in crisp white shirts and lovely Boels aprons. It is a well-oiled machine where logistics, teamwork and multilingual communication are the key principles for success.
“It is a well-oiled machine where logistics, teamwork and multilingual communication are the key principles for success.”
The beauty of this project, explained Max, is the versatility of the operation. “Here, our teams each form their own production company. In this respect, it is quite a challenge to engage with all the parties involved in our operation. There is a lot of juggling to do at the moment.”
“Imagine, washing all those glasses by hand…”
It was rush hour at the three plants. One full trolley after another was brought to the cleaning lines. From there, the machines were loaded up again with dirty glasses. And the last remnants of wine disappeared into a receptacle. It was to be a long night ahead for the evening crew, getting the hundreds of thousands of glasses ready for the next day again. But fortunately, they could rely on a great little piece of cleaning technology, because otherwise you just have to wash all those glasses by hand…