Do you know what happens in a malthouse, from the moment the barley is delivered to when the finished malt is dispatched? How many people are involved, and what different aspects have to be taken into account? Around 1,200 visitors came to the open day at BESTMALZ’s Wallertheim facility at the beginning of October to find out precisely that, showing a huge interest in what goes on in a plant like this.
We are taking this as an opportunity to give you a glimpse behind the scenes with a series of articles introducing our production, quality assurance and logistics processes. Join us on a tour of our Wallertheim malthouse.
The malthouse in Wallertheim is BESTMALZ Group’s youngest location: The company’s history dates back to 1899 in Kreimbach-Kaulbach in the Palatinate region, where most of our malt is still produced today. The company’s headquarters were based in Heidelberg from the start. The malthouse in Wallertheim was incorporated in 1987, mainly to gain access to the nearby ports on the Rhine at Mainz, Wiesbaden and Worms, from where the company exported its malts via Antwerp and Rotterdam to countries all over the world. For this reason, the company invested heavily in logistics, which we will present in the second part of the series.
High-quality barley for high-quality malts
Apart from the advantage of having improved logistics and better access, the acquisition of Wallertheim boosted production capacity. A production site at the heart of one of the best areas for cultivating malting barley was added: Around 60 tons of locally-grown high-quality raw materials are processed into some 50 tons of malt every day, half special and half basic malts. To ensure consistent high quality, they also comply with food regulatory and legal provisions. The plant’s in-house laboratory safeguards the quality of incoming raw materials as well as the finished malt and makes sure that customer-specific and legal thresholds are observed.
Guardians of quality
Since early summer 2016, the quality assurance team at BESTMALZ in Wallertheim has been stepped up with two new employees, hired exclusively to monitor manufacturing, logistics, and product quality: Oliver Hudelmaier in the area of production and Daniel Müller in logistics, both trained at Weihenstephan University of Applied Sciences. In addition to inspecting the processes mentioned above, the quality assurance team controls compliance with occupational safety regulations, such as accident prevention and plant protection. They suggest improvements in all areas, for instance to increase output or further reduce the error rate in logistics.
Berthold Klee, Chief Operations Officer/Production and Logistics at BESTMALZ AG, says: “Of course our quality assurance was good before and we had all the necessary certificates. But by creating two new positions for plant controllers, we are focusing more on closely monitoring our product and the processes involved at every stage of value creation. That includes the corresponding documentation in the form of weekly quality reports. In this way, we can improve the quality of our product in every respect and optimize supply processes for the benefit of our customers.”
In the next issue, we will show how the logistics team takes care of packaging the products and dispatching them efficiently.