German Logistics Award for the Würth Group - Award at the 26th German Logistics Convention

Berlin. The Würth Group is the bearer of the German Logistics Award 2009 awarded by the Federal Association for Logistics (Bundesvereinigung Logistik, BVL). The jury rewarded the company for their “Modular logistics: The solution for multi-channel sales” project. The award ceremony was held within the context of the gala event on the first evening of the 26th German Logistics Convention, which was held in Berlin from 21 to 23 October.

The Würth family business was founded in 1945. In 2008, the Group generated approximately € 8.8 billion in sales and employs roughly 58,000 employees in 84 countries, thereof over 16,000 in Germany. Half of all employees work in the sales force. The company is in contact with three million customers, thereof over 400,000 in Germany. The worldwide trade in fastening and assembly material is its core business. Bettina Würth, Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the Würth Group, accepted the award in Berlin. The Chairman of the Jury of the German Logistics Award, Prof. Dr. Hans-Olaf Henkel, gave the eulogy.

The exemplary logistics project began in 2003. Sales had been stagnating from 2000 to 2002. In order to counteract this trend, Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG, Würth Industrie Service GmbH & Co. KG as well as Würth Logistik GmbH & Co. KG consistently analyzed their customers’ situation. The result was an all-new approach, which centered around interlinking sales and logistics structures. Traditionally, Würth had served its customers, who mostly work in the crafts, in a uniform manner departing from a central logistics system. The project aimed at developing modular system logistics, which can be tailored to the needs of individual customer groups. In short, there is no longer one Würth for all customers, but every customer has their own Würth.

In the course of the project, small and large crafts businesses, industrial customers, national and international key accounts, construction sites and other ventures were scrutinized to study their operative processes and requirements. After this analysis, the company developed a portfolio of modules which serve to be close to the customers and support them in their processes. Thus, Würth established itself with a range of services in the customers’ operative structures, to a degree which far exceeds the standard for a trading business. The customers can thus focus on their core business and no longer need to worry about restocking Würth products. Würth does not look at this process in a static, but a dynamic manner as customer requirements are also subject to constant change.

Examples of modular customer care include

  • the significantly expanded sales branch network, which is used especially by crafts businesses,
  • Würth Industrie Service GmbH & Co. KG, which was founded for the industrial segment and offers European industrial business solutions for an efficient supply with production-relevant small parts, for instance through individual Kanban solutions,
  • construction site services, meaning that Würth supplies e.g. construction sites with specially designed service boxes which sets up proper bases on large construction sites including material and personnel. This service even means that Würth will function as a partner as early as the bidding phase, calculating, assembling and delivering specific assembly groups in advance, in keeping with individual requirements.

The figures speak for themselves: Since the implementation of the new system was started in 2003, the three companies listed continually increased their sales volumes from € 900 million to € 1.4 billion by 2008. Over the same period, logistics costs decreased significantly. This was made possible by Würth not only relying on and promoting loyalty within their existing customer base, but opening up new markets among industrial customers, construction site logistics and certain key account projects thanks to the innovative, modular services offered.

The jury was impressed with the idea’s radical nature, the courage shown in implementing it and the consistency which characterized the Würth Group’s actions. Prof. Hans-Olaf Henkel pointed out in his eulogy: “The Würth Group’s mass business has been individualized by interlinking sales and logistics. Purchasing, IT and Controlling have also changed as a result. This means that the project of “modular logistics” is truly an example of success coming from the inside: by strengthening strengths and transcending departmental limits within the company.”

BVL awards the German Logistics Award to logistics concepts realized in practice, which can be submitted by companies from industry, trade and the services sector. In the documents to be assessed by the jury, the development of the concept, the implementation and the results must be presented. The relevance to practice is decisive. The Federal Association for Logistics has been awarding this honor since 1984. Over the last five years, the following companies have been honored: Deutsche Lufthansa AG together with Fraport AG, Frankfurt, in 2008, CLAAS KGaA mbH, Harsewinkel, in 2007, Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH, Fürth, in 2006, die Kühne + Nagel International AG, Schindellegi, in 2005, and Tchibo GmbH, Hamburg, in 2004.