Roche Diagnostics

rocheRoche Diagnostics expanded and modernised their logistics centre for 62 million Euros, thereby extending their location as an international hub.

From the Rhine-Neckar region, the global logistics supplies clients and Roche branches in 170 countries: A total of 7000 diagnostic finished procuts and equiment as well as 13,000 spare parts are sent all over the world. The international logistics centre in Baden-Württemberg is the central service point for the division Diagnostics. Around 770 employees are responsible for the global supply chain and operative processing, 330 of them work in logistics. Initial studies on expanding the site were carried out in the year 2000. Further discussions were held with the concern management in 2001 concerning market development, direct business with end customers and production supply of the growing production operations as well as about the required capacities. The concern approved of the expansion concept in February 2002. By November 2003, the logistics team completed most of the activities regarding construction and material-flow technology. The parallel project with IT subsequently became the focus. Construction and material-flow technology were transferred to the IT group to interlock the old and new processes. The new building was activated in early 2004 with a small connection to the old building.



Tray transfer in miniload
Tray transfer in miniload
View of highbay warehouse
View of highbay warehouse

Expansion by 100 percent
The logistics centre was expanded in March 2002 by around 15,000 m² area for order picking, dispatch and production. Roche also built a new highbay warehouse for around 20,000 standard pallets and an automatic miniload for 40,000 totes. The highbay warehouse has six aisles, two of them are cooled. It was built as a rack-supported system. Each aisle is a separate fire section.

By completing the expansion, a total of 15 aisles with 51,000 pallet spaces, four miniload aisles, 9,500 m of conveyor systems and nearly 40,000 m² of manipulation area is available. Each aisle in the highbay is a separate fire section. A novelty is the miniload warehouse constructed in the upper area of the highbay aisles. Even the connection of the picking areas with conveyors and buffers to decouple the areas is a highlight of the expanded facility.

The multi-storey building is in use since 2004. By expanding the capacity of the logistics centre by almost 100 percent, Roche Diagnostics created around 130 jobs. The 330 employees in operative logistics ensure that 4000 deliveries per day are send from Mannheim to the rest of the world. The annual growth rates - with reference to orders, order positions and loaded shipment weight - are around 8 percent. Export grows much stronger than the rise for the German market. A total of 6 million order positions per year can be processed in the complete system in Mannheim. Around five million of them are direct deliveries. Roche Diagnostics supplies over 70,000 clients in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, UK, Italy and the Netherlands with products in 24 to 48 hours without any further transshipment. The first direct deliveries began in the mid 90s. Denmark was added in April of this year and implementation for the complete Scandinavian area has also begun.

The warehouse in Mannheim has thus grown to become the global distribution platform for the division Diagnostics. A number of strategic projects, a new orientation of the global supply chain, optimisation of processes using new software as well as capacity expansion in the operative areas characterise the coming years.


Picking and packing functions for dispatch pallets
Picking and packing functions for
dispatch pallets

Data of the Mannheim logistics centre

Size of the complete complex: Ground area 15,300 m²
Built room space: 430,000 m³

Highbay warehouse from that:

  • 15 aisles, 6 of them cooled
  • 50,000 Euro pallet places
  • 40,000 trays for small tote storage

Construction begin: March 2002
Completion: September 2003
Inauguration: April 2005
Investment: 62 million EUR