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5 ways locating in TopDutch helped Oldenburger|Fritom become global logistics innovation leaders

For a century, the logistics service provider Oldenburger|Fritom has been active in the TopDutch region. The company, which is part of the Fritom Logistics Solutions Group, has branches in the TopDutch towns of Emmen and Veendam, but also in Italy, Hungary and Schiphol Airport. For large international clients, the company provides logistics services, shipments, warehousing (pick & pack), e-commerce and value-added services. Additional services such as packaging, labelling, stamping, testing, quality control and the assembly of goods are also part of the family business’ range of services.

From out of their own warehouses, with 40,000 rack locations, the company handles 150,000 shipments annually – often last minute, with next-day arrival. The majority of shipments go across the border; often by road to neighboring Germany, but also increasingly by sea containers and air transport across the rest of the world. The company is well-equipped for this flexible shipping, which can be a necessary service for big, multinational industrial groups. The company specializes in digitally consolidating shipments, which means that fewer kilometers need to be traveled per shipment.

The branch in Veendam has expanded considerably in recent years in order to be able to process its growing number of clients, who are largely in high-tech and electronics. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) drive around their newest warehouse, which has greatly increased the safety on the work floor. Oldenburger|Fritom’s turnover has increased almost fivefold in the past 15 years. CEO René Dale of Oldenburger|Fritom explains the advantages of establishing in, and distributing from, the TopDutch region.

#1. The excellent educational institutions

‘More than half of our sales come from clients outside of the region. These clients require knowledge, quality and the necessary certifications. Here, there’s a lot of knowledge, and as a company we have direct access to it. I am a member of the advisory boards of the vocational colleges’ and universities of applied sciences’ logistics courses. We have a constant stream of students doing the rounds who are gaining work experience with an internship. More than half of them stay with us. The logistics expertise is the strength of the TopDutch region.’

René Dale. Photo: Pepijn van den Broeke.

#2. Strong connections to Europe’s major logistics hubs

‘Our company is located in the heart of Europe. Some of our largest clients, many of which are global companies, choose to do business with us because of our expertise and flexibility of service. Here in Veendam, we have a tightly secured Security Restricted Area, from where we can deliver goods last-minute for air transport. Because of this, such shipments don’t experience unnecessary delays at the airport. We can declare these goods safe here, instead of at Schiphol. We also do business with a large Scandinavian security technology company, which benefits from our central location between Scandinavia and Western Europe. It’s not surprising that many Scandinavian firms organize their distribution and logistics from the region. Scandinavians and the Dutch can also do good business together because they gel well culturally.’

#3. The expertise to construct fast, and to a high quality

‘Our newest distribution center in the most sustainable in Europe. The building has been nominated for the 2020 International BREEAM awards, with our record score of 97.27%. BREEAM is the internationally recognized certification for sustainable buildings, and consists of nine categories, ranging from energy, water and material use, to ecology and transport. Not only is the building energy efficient and water neutral, it was also built using sustainable land use and sustainable materials. Water consumption, air circulation and waste and transport flows have also been designed to be as sustainable as possible. The active role of the municipality helped to ensure the success in constructing the distribution center. The construction company, Remco Ruimtebouw, has done an excellent job. Specialist expertise is readily available in the Netherlands.’

Specialist expertise is readily available in the Netherlands.

René Pas, CEO Oldenburger|Fritom

#4. The opportunities for intensive cooperation

‘We’re a company that acts as logistics director for our business relations. Clients work with us because we’re able to provide a wide range of services. We enter into long-term relationships with our clients. We also set up facilities together with local customers and customize our locations. We like the business culture in this region very much.’

#5. The opportunities in e-commerce and robotization

‘We work for e-commerce clients that expect quick delivery from us. We must always be able to deliver tailor-made products at all times. As a result of the rise of e-commerce, an important part of the experience is the speed of delivery. We have the expertise to deliver a speedy service. To do this, we need flexibility in our organization and processes. Our warehouse system therefore is linked to the customer’s track & trace portal.

'Here in the TopDutch region, the expertise in digital innovation is well-present; which makes automated processing of shipments possible. The robotization of logistics, through the use of automated guided vehicles, is also underway here. In our smart factory in Emmen, we work for a lot of start-ups and scale-ups.’

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