Dynamic Logistics

If we imagine the various revenue streams for ABC-Logistik as a pie chart and trace how that has changed over the last few years, we will see that the value-added services offered by the German logistics provider have continuously devoured more territory that once belonged to the company’s ‘traditional’ cargo transportation services. Driven by the notion that it should differentiate itself by creating a proposition that sees it handle all of its customers’ logistics operations, ABC-Logistik is now providing the type of dynamic logistics that is hard to match by its peers.

General Manager, Michael te Heesen – the son of founder Holger te Hessen, who to this day remains Owner and Manager – introduces the services his company has specialised in: “We have grown our capabilities in advanced warehousing, which included mastering more complex pick and pack, repackaging, and relabelling processes. In addition, we have set up several refurbishment centres where we deliver maintenance to refrigerators for the beverage industry and we even have our own team of electricians who take care of these activities.

“The most prominent part of our service offering, however, is the installations of cooling devices and other complex systems like touchscreens and conference and presentation technology,” Michael remarks. “It is a capability of ours that really distinguishes ABC-Logistik, because our truck drivers are well-versed not just in transporting these products, but also in setting them up, doing a brief induction of how they work, and providing valuable information on how they should be maintained.”

In essence, ABC-Logistik aims to act as an extension to its customers’ business, effectively reducing their operations to the confines of their office. “Ideally, we want them to be able to focus on developing their business by allowing us to manage the delivery and installation of their products. Most of our clients do not have the infrastructure, in terms of warehouses, or the staff to do that by themselves, so this is where we step in and offer vital support.

“Moreover, even though 80 per cent of our work takes place in Germany, we are also ready to serve the customers in their international ventures. This being said, we are very strong in the Benelux and the UK. To give you an example, one of our clients works with BMW and we often have to do installation work at BMW’s facilities in the UK,” Michael discusses.

It has been two years of extensive preparation and stepping out of its depth for ABC-Logistik, but the company is now ready to grow with its latest service that has also become a separate business unit in its own right within the organisation’s structure. incharge is ABC-Logistik’s response to road congestion in the company’s beloved home city of Dusseldorf and a daring concept to transform big city logistics.

“Our objective is to reduce the number of B2B deliveries in Dusseldorf by up to 30 per cent and thus contribute to the shift towards more sustainable and environmentally-friendly logistics operations,” Michael comments, going on to explain how the scheme works. “What we want to do, is get companies to give the address of our warehouse in the Port of Dusseldorf, instead of the address of their own office (often in city centre), when they place any kind of order. Then, we collect all the products, check them out to make sure that they are intact, and deliver them all at once to all of our customers.

“Crucially, some of our clients may wish that we keep certain products for them in the warehouse, because one thing they lack in city centre, is space. By all means, we can do that and when the need arises, they can get these products delivered to the exact point where they want them to be delivered.”

Michael admits that it has not been easy for ABC-Logistik to take the concept of incharge to a fully-fledged business proposition, but he hails the hard work that has gone in its development and the experience the company has gathered over the past two years. “We had to invest in new software and electric vehicles, and, ultimately, be very inventive in our marketing efforts,” he insists. “It was not easy to convince smaller companies to embrace this idea, because we are talking about an entirely new service, which is yet to establish itself. Therefore, we had to learn how to sell it and explain to potential customers how they can be part of the solution and not part of the problem, when it comes to congestion. Now that we have succeeded in that, we expect the volume of products handled by incharge to double every year in the next five years.”

Benefitting from the fact that it is located in the most densely populated region of Europe, ABC-Logistik fancies its prospects of introducing the incharge service to other nearby cities in Germany. “All in all, we believe that it sets the blueprint on how to manage inner city logistics for any big city in the world,” Michael maintains. “As incharge is still a young service, though, we think that if we are to expand beyond Dusseldorf, we should start with places like Cologne or the cities in the Ruhr area. I do not expect us to be ready to serve faraway cities like Munich or Hamburg in the next five years, but we would be more than happy if we found suitable partners to do this with our help.

“Together with incharge, we are also looking to intensify the development of our value-added services to ensure that they continue to grow at a fast rate in the coming years. As the more basic cargo transportation service grows at a more modest, albeit steady, pace, these two sides of the business will be the mainstay for the company and we are excited to increase their share in the foreseeable future,” Michael wraps up.

Places strong emphasis on added value services
Operates in multiple European countries
Created incharge – a smart inner city logistics concept to alleviate B2Bdelivery traffic