Not just service – partnership: Schoolbook rescue action for Porto Editora

Published on in Company, Interview, Service
4,5 minutes reading time

Porto Editora, headquartered in Porto, is the largest publishing group in Portugal. One of the company’s responsibilities is printing and supplying a majority of the country’s schoolbooks. For storing and delivering their printed materials, Porto Editora has relied on a partnership with KNAPP for 9 years.

In March of the previous year, the unforeseeable happened: A tropical cyclone moving through Porto destroyed about 30 percent of the warehouse. This natural catastrophe posed a great threat to the publisher’s business.

Being a good partner means providing support quickly when it becomes necessary and KNAPP was able to provide Porto Editora with a provisional solution within just a few weeks. The company was able to resume operations, albeit with a reduced throughput. The part of the system destroyed in the storm was quickly put back in order by KNAPP: The project was completed three weeks ahead of schedule, much to the delight of Porto Editora.

As a result, the schoolbooks were able to be delivered on time before the start of school in the second week of September. (Whether or not this delighted the pupils, however, is a whole different question ?).

Entrepôt de Porto Editora, Porto

We met with Fernando Miranda, Logistics Manager at Porto Editora, to hear the story. He told us about his experiences during the tropical storm and about the amazing and successful rescue.

How did you feel after the storm when you saw the damage to the warehouse?

I was sitting with other employees in an office in the warehouse. All of a sudden, we noticed that something just wasn’t right. A moment later, the storm let loose. Luckily, we were all able to leave the office in time, and no one was injured.

Four hours later, when the emergency personnel gave the all clear, I came back to the warehouse and saw the damage to the building. It was a horrible sight. Part of the roof had collapsed on the conveyor system, totally demolishing it. In that moment, I was devastated.

Fallen roof at Porto Editora

What were your first thoughts after the tropical storm?

My first thought was, “How are we going to fulfil our orders? How should we move on?” We have the only logistics solution in the entire Porto Editora group. The other warehouses of the group are neither set up for the online market nor for delivering schoolbooks. * It was obvious that we had to solve this problem as quickly as possible and that the warehouse had to be immediately made up and running. Anything less would have meant a complete standstill for Porto Editora.

*An explanation on the side to show just how precarious the situation was for Porto Editora: The publishing group supplies both the B2B and the B2C market. The peak season runs from July to September. During this time, the publisher generates more than 50 percent of its annual sales. As Portugal’s largest schoolbook publisher, Porta Editora is obligated to the government to supply the market on time with schoolbooks. The biggest concern was managing the peak season after the storm damage in order to fulfil this obligation.

The storm took place in March. We therefore had only a few months’ time to rebuild the damaged warehouse to operate fully for the peak season.

Fernando Miranda, Logistics Manager at Porto Editora

>> “My first thought was, ‘How are we going to fulfil our orders?’”

Fernando Miranda, Logistics Manager at Porto Editora

What happened next?

We immediately contacted KNAPP and in just two days, Bernhard Rottenbücher (Executive Vice President of KNAPP) came to us in Porto. With our Managing Board and Mr Rottenbücher, we got an overview of the extent of the damage to the warehouse. After this initial inspection, he assured us that KNAPP would do everything possible to help us. I was so relieved. We knew it would not be easy to put a team together on such short notice. Fortunately, KNAPP was able to send a team to Porto within a short space of time to dismantle the damaged system. That was the only way the renovations could be made to the building and to the roof, which were needed for the restoration of the warehouse system.

However, this was not the only challenge we had to overcome. Even before the installation could be removed, we had to find a temporary location for our online business. Within a few weeks, KNAPP came up with a work-around for us. Thanks to this solution, we did not need to stop production between April and August and our online customers could still be supplied with books.

The schedule was tight – did you ever doubt that it could be kept?

Yes, definitely. It was a real challenge for us all. The most difficult part was the construction work for the damaged building. Two days before the KNAPP technicians arrived in Porto, the new roof was still not finished. So yes, we were not completely sure that we would be able to keep the tight schedule.

Construction on the storage hall was only completed at the beginning of July. Despite the construction delay, KNAPP was still able to set up the new system by the beginning of August. This was fantastic because our peak season begins in July. We were already a little bit behind schedule anyway, and if we had begun with deliveries only at the end of August, it would have been difficult to supply all the schools and stores in time for the start of the school year. KNAPP’s outstanding and rapid work was truly a blessing for us.

Rebuilt system at Porto Editora

How was the collaboration with KNAPP?

For us, KNAPP is not a supplier, but a partner. They immediately recognized how critical the situation was and how absolutely important it was for us to get the system rolling by the start of the peak season. Bernhard Rottenbücher as well as Andreas Schnidar (Head of Technical & Quality Assurance Services at KNAPP) and his team did everything to help us. We truly value KNAPP’s quick help during our crisis and we will never forget it.

>> “It was not easy to organize everything so quickly. The deadlines for the dismantling of the system had to be pinned down, while at the same time the internal production requests for the new parts and the electric installation were re-worked. As a team, we met this terrific challenge within a short time. We also have to thank our customer, because without their perfect support, it would not have been possible.”

Andreas Schnidar, Head of Technical & Quality Assurance Services at KNAPP AG

Is there anything else in the pipeline for you and KNAPP?

We already have plans for new projects and recently met in Hart bei Graz to discuss them. We are planning a new solution for our peak season in 2020 because fortunately, our business is growing. With a logistics partner like KNAPP, we are well equipped for both now and for the future.

Thank you, Fernando, for the trust you have shown in KNAPP. We are always glad to help you.