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Your Business: Hänel Storage Systems gives back
By Mary Glindinning

No written policy guides Hänel Storage Systems in giving back, but its actions speak louder than words. From donating an automated vertical storage carousel to a program that ensures kids have food to eat on the weekends, to donating to the Shankesville, Pa. Sept. 11 Memorial, the company steps up.

“We believe in supporting the community that supports us and trying to make a difference in our local community,” said David Schneider, marketing manager for Hänel. “You won't find an official company philosophy on paper; it is driven by the spirit of the employees and management.”

In many economically-challenged areas of the country, kids often get good meals at school but go hungry on the weekends. To make sure they have enough to eat on days when they don’t eat at school, a “back the pack” program was started by the Rock Hill School District in Rock Hill, S.C. to send food home so the students come back ready to learn. The food is donated, and so are the systems to store and distribute the food so that it could be discreetly put into the children's back packs on Fridays. Hänel Storage Systems donated a Rotomat® vertical storage carousel to the program. 

“We were put in touch with the school district through our involvement with the Material Handling Industry of America,” Schneider said. “They support several high school level tech and trade schools across the country, maintaining strong ties to that community to help foster future material handling career professionals.

“We have donated other equipment through MHIA as well. For example, we recently had a unit that was retired from Trade Show Duty. We let our contacts at MHIA know and they put us in touch with the Greater Altoona PA Career and Technical Institute, who took the machine to use part of their instructional equipment.” 

Hänel was founded in Germany in 1953 by Gerhard Hänel, and established its U.S. headquarters outside Pittsburgh in 1984.

“I love working at Hänel,” Schneider said. “Saying Hänel is like an extended family sounds cliché, but it is a very appropriate expression. We are a small team here in the U.S., with employees who have been here 10, 15 and even 20 years.

“There is a spirit of camaraderie that is fostered both by the management here, and from our parent company in Germany. Hänel is a worldwide organization, but it is still a family business and Joachim and Michael Hänel maintain a welcoming environment for each and every employee.”

Hänel Storage Systems is also environmentally aware. “Hänel has made its biggest contribution to the environment through its products,” Schneider said. “We manufacture almost every piece of our equipment in-house, greatly reducing the impact of transporting components. We offer several energy-reducing technologies, including Eco-Mode and Eco-Drive. Both reduce the electrical consumption of our units to help reduce energy costs and protect the environment.”

The manufacturer of storage and organization systems has distributors in more than 50 countries.

“I think most people don't realize the true scope of our product line,” Schneider said. “We have two primary products, the Rotomat Carousel and the Lean-Lift VLM, but the variations and options available for both are amazing. We do climate-controlled units, clean-room compatible units, multi-story units, and units that can accommodate just about anything, including items that require an electrical supply when in storage. We are very innovative in creating customized solutions to meet our customer's storage needs."

“At Modex, we will be displaying a specialized Rotomat Carousel that is fully refrigerated. We have manufactured refrigerated and freezer units for our customers in the electronics, pharmaceutical and healthcare markets, and the demand is growing. We have also introduced an updated version of our HänelSoft inventory management software, and new control units for the machines that incorporate the latest energy-saving features,” he said.

Mary Glindinning is a freelance writer who has worked at daily and weekly newspapers for more than 20 years. She lives in rural Shullsburg, Wis. You may contact her by e-mailing editorial@mhwmag.com.
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