Hamburg is adding to its production and sales network in south-east Asia by establishing a new production facility for its subsidiary, SternMaid Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd, in the Iskandar economic zone, Malaysia. After the plants in Suzhou (China) and Mumbai, this is the third food industry facility that the family enterprise has opened in Asia and its sixth outside Germany. Clients in the ASEAN region will in future benefit from more rapid deliveries, secure supply chains and applications advice from a consultant nearby.
The state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to the development and production of food ingredient systems to improve the functional qualities of food. The facility has three completely separate production lines; initially work will focus on enzyme-based ingredients systems for bakers and millers plus micronutrient mixes to fortify a wide variety of foods and beverages.
The Group has chosen a strategically-placed site. Located in the Iskandar economic zone within the Nusajaya Tech Park, Malaysia, it is ten minutes from the Singapore border and only fifteen minutes from the international container port Tanjung Pelepas. At the beginning of September Stern-Wywiol Gruppe officially opened this high-tech production hub for the ASEAN region; its neighbours in the industrial park include famous multinational companies in industries such as aviation and aerospace, car electronics, precision engineering and data centres. The decision to build the facility was essentially a response to the enormous growth potential now apparent in Asia’s emerging countries, whose food manufacturing is marked by an ongoing process of industrialization. Being present in this part of the world will allow the Group to pursue its “make-to-order” strategy in the ASEAN region. The objective is to provide the greatest possible flexibility when customizing products and to offer on the spot applications advice. Customers in the region benefit from shorter throughput times, excellent logistics and unbroken supply chains.
Torsten Wywiol, CEO of Stern-Wywiol-Gruppe, declares the opening of the facility to be “an important cornerstone of the firm’s growth strategy for Asia and beyond”. He goes on to say that, “Being so close to customers will allow us to satisfy their need for shorter deliver times and superb logistics even better than before.” Hendrik Mögenburg, general manager of Stern Ingredients Asia-Pacific, comments that, “This facility has gross floor space of some 4,000 square metres and three completely separate production lines with total annual capacity of up to 5,000 tonnes; from its very first day in operation the plant will be making a vital contribution to the overall sales and production network that the firm operates in the region. Currently our facility is in the process of becoming Halal certified and soon, with FSSC 22000 certification, will be in a position to meet all relevant quality management standards for food manufacturers.
The basic concept is that of modular, lean production, whereby capacity can be rapidly and easily scaled up or down. The powder manufacturing systems were made by MATCON, which is treating the new Stern-Wywiol Gruppe plant as its reference model for efficiency. Indeed, all of the plant machinery was sourced in Europe, parts of the blending system were supplied by the German engineering firm Lödige. 3.5 million euros has been invested in the facility, which can produce batches varying in size from 100 to 3,300 litres. In the quality assurance lab, fitted out in accordance with the latest standards and covering several hundred square metres, food technologists conduct microbiological assays, test for heavy metals and perform applications trials. The methods and quality criteria are based on the Group’s global standards; these are defined and monitored by the Stern Technology Centre in Germany. The laboratory instruments were all supplied by well-known German manufacturers such as Brabender, the leading company in the international market for rheology equipment.
The Malaysian government has welcomed the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe investment as part of a strategic cluster of international producers, and facilitated the firm’s establishment in the economic zone of Iskandar.