Rooted in Germany, at home in Europe – Logistics of the future
Rooted in Germany, at home in Europe – Logistics of the future

In recent years, the Otto Group has significantly transformed its logistics operations: The Hermes Fulfilment Group, the central warehousing, logistics, and returns service provider of the group, has continuously expanded its network of locations – always following the principle of being rooted in Germany, at home in Europe, and globally active. The goal of these expansions and investments in new technologies is to provide customers with an optimal shopping experience and the best possible service. This includes high product availability and timely delivery. Because when people order online today, they expect the entire shipment to be delivered as soon as possible, ideally by the next day. This requires a denser network of logistics centers than was previously common.

High product availability, timely delivery

The largest location in the Hermes Fulfilment network in Germany is Haldensleben in Saxony-Anhalt. For more than 30 years, the logistics service provider has operated one of the most significant distribution centers in Europe there. In fact, there are two facilities, one for our subsidiary Bonprix and one for OTTO. The location specializes in handling small-volume products. Mostly clothing is stored, packed, and shipped to end customers from this location. Up to 300,000 shipments leave the distribution center every day, with deliveries taking place throughout Europe. Around 4,200 employees work at Hermes Fulfilment in Haldensleben. The Otto Group has invested nearly one billion euros in the location so far, primarily in digitalization and AI-controlled robots. The use of these AI-controlled robots is intended to increase operational efficiency and occupational safety and enhance the attractiveness of warehouse work in the face of skilled labor shortages. Human and robot working together as a team in logistics!

Over 150 million euros were recently invested in the construction of a 16,300 square meter automated shuttle warehouse in Altenkunstadt (Upper Franconia), which will open in the summer of 2024. The facility, one of the most modern in Europe, is designed to increase productivity and reduce lead times. The goal is to process orders within a few hours of receiving them and ship them to customers on the same day.

Other locations specializing in handling large-volume products are Löhne (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Ansbach (Bavaria). With a total area of 230,000 square meters, these locations handle logistics for items such as refrigerators, washing machines, furniture, and televisions with a screen size of more than 55 inches – a task that requires a lot of physical strength. These large items typically weigh more than 31.5 kilograms, so they usually require "two-man" or two-person handling.

The network in Germany is complemented by a location in Erfurt. The 50,000 square meter hall primarily stores carpets, with up to 320,000 pieces in stock. The range includes everything from bathroom mats to Persian carpets. They are shipped to customers via the Ohrdruf logistics center (also in Thuringia). In Ohrdruf and Langenselbold (Hesse), the focus is mainly on storing electrical appliances, small furniture, and consumer electronics weighing up to 31.5 kilograms. The newest location in the Hermes Fulfilment network in Germany is Gernsheim in Hesse. The plan is to store, pack, and ship goods from external retailers connected to the Otto Group's marketplaces via the "F2X" platform.

Laying the foundation for the future with logistics centers at home and abroad

In addition to the numerous logistics centers in Germany, Hermes Fulfilment also operates locations in Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Poland. In Iłowa, Poland, about an hour's drive east of Cottbus, a distribution center is being built on a plot of land measuring approximately 260,000 square meters. It will officially start operations in the fall of 2024. The complex consists of nine halls with a total area of 118,000 square meters. This is the first time in the company's history that Hermes Fulfilment is establishing a completely new location outside of Germany. Up to 1,900 employees will store, pick, and ship goods from OTTO to Germany. For the Otto Group and its logistics service provider Hermes Fulfilment, a strong European network of locations with a focus on Germany is the basis for optimizing their positioning for online retail in the future.

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