Interview at WTR - Family behind the business - Willich (DEU)

WTR Willicher Tankwagenreinigungs GmbH Tank cleaning facility Bermes Gruppe

It’s the family behind the business

Since 2001 an ultra-modern tank cleaning facility has been located in the Willich-Münchheide II industrial area: WTR Willicher Tankwagenreinigungs GmbH. What started with the purchase of one rotor jet to clean the WTR owned tank truck fleet, has now grown into a full-fledged tank cleaning facility, as a subsidiary of the Bermes Gruppe. WTR has been a valued Gröninger partner for many years.

We met with Christopher, 34 years old, the fourth generation in the company.

“With two horses and a wooden wagon, the first transport was provided by my great-grandfather. This was in 1916 and meant the birth of Gebr. Bermes Spedition GmbH,” Christopher says. “In 2001 we moved from Anrath to Willich and built two chemical tank cleaning bays. Due to growing demand and increasing quality requirements of customers we decided in 2011 to further expand our range of services with the construction of an additional food only cleaning bay. For this project we chose Gröninger.” Christopher adds: “Many more projects followed. From the installation of an air purification system to replacing the complete control system and PLC software.”

Special care and individual attention

“We like the mix of transport, cleaning and storage. A growing number of customers come to us for these combined services. At WTR they can always count on extra service and attention. The strength of WTR is that drivers who come by to clean the tanks are not considered ‘a number’ but are all treated as individuals. They like to come here, because they are treated seriously and friendly. They can use good and clean sanitation areas with showers and toilets, but also enjoy food and drinks. And that’s worth a lot. We strive to create a welcoming and friendly environment where drivers feel at home.”

Access to the cleaning data

“We use the Gröninger Cleaning Guard system for monitoring and documenting the cleaning process. This way we offer the customer insight into the cleaning data. Our system helps to validate that the tanks meets the required standards. For example, before a tank can be regarded as kosher, a minimum temperature and steaming duration must be reached. This is definitely a requirement in the food industry. So that is perfectly validated.”

Power of cooperation

“My father always said that it’s good if the customer has a problem, because only then we can solve it and help them. And that’s exactly what we do. But we also expect that from our partners. If we have a technical problem, we call Gröninger, if urgently needed even outside office hours. Gröninger is always available to us. Of course, downtime is not considered an option; in these cases Gröninger remotely takes over the system or comes to our site to bring the technical solution. Gröninger offers us the quality of service that we offer to our customers. Trust is such an important element of any successful collaboration, and it’s clear that we have built a strong foundation of trust over the years.”

Building a sustainable future

“Before COVID-19, we cleaned about 60 tank trucks per day. That temporarily decreased a bit. We now we see an upward trend again,” Christopher continues: “The last few years were challenging, not just because of the corona crisis but also due to the war and its consequences. Consider just alone the price increases that happened. That kept us very busy. Our internal costs increased as well. In ­cooperation with Gröninger we are executing a plan to make our cleanings more sustainable. With the data from the system we make reports that show what we emit and where we can achieve savings, both financially and environmentally. With the new measures and actions we ensure that CO2 emissions are reduced in combination with more financial benefits to the bottom line.”

Christopher elaborates: “With the entire Bermes Gruppe we have long-term perspective when it comes to investments and sustainability. My parents have been active in the tank cleaning market for 20 years. During this period they also experienced many other crises. There are always ups and downs, but that keeps us sharp and competitive. Together with Gröninger we continue to build our future.”

FLTR Ryan Chmielewski, Christopher Bermes, Heinz-Josef Bermes.