Erzkontor is now CREMER ERZKONTOR, and on its way from being a pure raw
materials trader to becoming an end-to-end supplier
Since March 1, 2023 it’s been official: Possehl Erzkontor is now
CREMER ERZKONTOR. Just a name change, or is there more to it? In an interview
with Nils Fleig, Executive Director of CREMER ERZKONTOR, I asked what the
reasons were for renaming their long-established trading company and what their
plans for the future are.
(Mr. Nils Fleig, Executive Director of CREMER ERZKONTOR)
Refwin: Wow, giving
your company a new name after more than 100 years is courageous. Why did you
take this step?
Mr. Nils Fleig: This step is part of the Road#2024PLUS strategy and
transformation we launched three years ago. With the name change, ERZKONTOR
draws closer to the Hamburg family company CREMER, which acquired the shares of
this Lübeck-based raw materials trader in 2014. With the renaming to CREMER
ERZKONTOR the over 100 year history of Possehl Erzkontor enters a new chapter.
The name change is a statement. The road we’re on takes us from being purely a
raw materials trader to managing the supply of raw materials for our customers.
In addition to logistics services, this includes processing and recycling these
materials in our own facilities. The CREMER name stands not just for
international trade and logistics, but also for the refinement of products and
for an extraordinary worldwide network; it’s a perfect fit.
Refwin: What exactly
does it mean when you say that you are evolving from being a “pure raw
materials trader” to “managing your customers’ raw materials supply”?
Mr. Nils Fleig: The world of raw materials is facing major challenges. Raw
materials have to be procured more sustainably, managed more efficiently,
recovered through recycling and returned to the production cycle. Our ambition
is to be part of the solution for our customers. Our Road#2024PLUS strategy,
adopted in 2020, was the starting point for a transformation process focused on
precisely these challenges. We know that as a trading company, we cannot change
the underlying conditions that affect raw material trading – fluctuating prices
and freight rates, lack of availability, new legislation, political
developments, digital advancements, etc. – but we can change the resilience of
our business. In addition to digitalization and operational excellence, our
focus is on verticalization, diversification, and sustainability. We’ll
leverage our in-depth expert know-how and our global network of companies to
provide value-added services along the entire value chain. Our vision “Beyond
Trading” underlines this new orientation.
services are you currently focusing on?
Mr. Nils Fleig: The further processing of raw and secondary materials of various
minerals in our own plants and facilities is an important step for us in the
direction of extended value creation. In Europe, we’re the market leader with
our certified grinding plants in terms of capacity (around 180,000 tonnes) and
facilities (15 grinding, crushing, screening, blending, and drying plants). In
Hamm and Wesel (Germany) we can store 200,000 tonnes of products, we can crush
blocks up to 1m edge length, we can dry, screen, grind, mix, and recycle scrap.
We operate a laboratory for quality assurance and have invested in a fully
automated bagging plant, which we put into operation early last year. In short,
we’re in a position to offer customers all-round, worry-free processing
service. Our size and large number of plants guarantee safety, flexibility, and
speed - even for short-term requests. This year, we’re also rolling out these
capabilities worldwide. We’re currently building a processing and recycling
plant in the US that can sort, dry, jaw crush, impact crush, screen, and bag.
The goal is to have a flexible operation that can handle small to medium sized
campaigns for our customers. This is especially necessary for recycling. We
want to be able to work with customers to develop, test, and perfect different
Refwin: Sustainability is part of your corporate strategy. What is meant by this?
Mr. Nils Fleig: As already mentioned, recycling and secondary raw materials are
very important to us. Recycling scrap made of refractory materials is
absolutely sustainable. In all our processing locations, we can and will
In Argentina, in addition to the
usual port activities, operation of BBVs (Break Bulk Vessel) with comprehensive
port unloading and storage services, plus a comprehensive portfolio of minerals
and chemicals for Argentine heavy industry, since last year we’ve also offered
a processing plant with a JIT (Just-in-Time) storage system and capacities for
drying, crushing, pouring, bagging, palletizing, and truck transportation.
To fulfill our corporate vision of
“Beyond Trading” and the sustainability laid out in our strategy, we’ve built
capacity for sorting scrap and a comprehensive recycling program. This allows
us to supply secondary raw materials and somewhat reduce the CO2 emissions of
the raw material world.
The recyclates go back into the
production of refractory bricks and masses. The remaining residual waste is
used for things like building and road construction, so that full recycling is
This is an excellent example of
circular economy, and hopefully many more will follow in the USA and Europe.
Refwin: Our last
interview also dealt with the topic of digitalization. What is the status
there? Is there any news?
Mr. Nils Fleig: Technology and digital platforms will play a greater role in our
traditional business to simplify the processing of transactions and thus save
time. We have these developments in mind and plan to present two solutions
before the end of the year.
The first is our "Customer
Dashboard", which was developed in collaboration with pektogram, our
Group-owned subsidiary that focuses on digital applications. This software
solution supports the communication between sales and customer before, during,
and after the sales process, by making all relevant information and data
available to both sides 24/7. This permanent transparency and availability free
up capacity on both the customer and ERZKONTOR sides. All information on
contracts already made, which must otherwise be communicated internally via
many stations when customers inquire at ERZKONTOR, can be viewed directly by
the customer. The tool is already being used internally and will be rolled out
to interested customers in the next phase. In addition, when implementing the
tool, we take into account the software solutions already in use internally,
such as the ERP and CRM systems, in order to benefit as much as possible from
the synergies of the programs.
The second solution - also a
pektogram development - is the digital availability of our product portfolio on
the company website. With this new solution we will enable our customers and
potential buyers to place a complete request for quotation so that we can
provide them with an offer as quickly as possible. For the implementation, our
first step was to gather industry insights to better understand what customers
or potential buyers want. These insights, coupled with the knowledge of our
product and sales managers, flow into the programming of the CREMER ERZKONTOR
solution, which, like the dashboard, is linked to the CRM system. At the moment
we’re in the MVP phase here. But I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to go online
before the end of the year.
Of course, we’re also carefully
reviewing our internal processes with a focus on continuous further development.
The main aim is to keep pace with the dynamic development of digital
opportunities and to respond immediately to new trends.
you very much for the interview and good luck on your further exciting way to
becoming an end-to-end provider.
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