European Business: You are part of one of the largest industrial developers in the world. Can you tell us a little about how you fit into the corporate structure?
Fred-Markus Bohne: Most important for us is that we enjoy wide-ranging autonomy within the corporate structure. The first European office was opened in London in 2004 with expansion across the continent following soon after. In 2014, we completely restructured our operations in Germany. In addition to our main office in Hamburg, we also have offices in Düsseldorf, Mannheim and Munich allowing us to cover the whole country. We started out here in Hamburg with a team of just six people and fully expected to take a couple of years to break even. Instead, we were up and running from day one with investment in expansion and growth matched immediately by order growth. We now have 71 highly qualified and motivated employees who are the drivers of our success. In return, the American head office is happy to devolve a great deal of responsibility to the local offices, which gives us the freedom to act as we see fit. And our success more than justifies that faith.
European Business: One of the cornerstones of your strategy is sustainability. For some, this is little more than a box-ticking exercise. How does Panattoni approach this issue differently?
Fred-Markus Bohne: We have made a priority of sustainability not just in the environmental sense but from a business point of view, too. We aim to build facilities that are ecologically friendly but also forward-looking and adaptable. With investments of this scale, we need to look much further into the future. For example, we completed a new 30,000 m2 production plant for Firestone in Heinsberg. It fits our criteria for sustainability not just through its use of green materials and an efficient energy concept but through its design as a building that will serve the client’s needs for decades to come. This is true sustainability in action.
European Business: How do you add value for your customers?
Fred-Markus Bohne: We are a full-service provider of turnkey solutions. For projects in “greenfield” locations, we manage the complete investment from start to finish. Beginning with the search for a suitable site, we then take care of all necessary administrative procedures, supervise construction and accompany the official building inspection, acceptance and handover of the finished facility. Our offer covers professional asset management, property management and facility management for an investment with a fully optimised ROI.
European Business: How does your corporate culture contribute to your success?
Fred-Markus Bohne: We work hard but also know how to have fun together. I see my role in creating an atmosphere in which every team member feels their opinion is valued and mistakes are something to be learned from and not punished. What we have seen with this crisis is just how well-placed our faith in our team is.
European Business: Bearing in mind the current crisis, what do you anticipate will be the direction of travel in the logistics market?
Fred-Markus Bohne: There is no denying that the current situation has accelerated the amount of space being built to accommodate the growth in e-commerce. We alone have built three facilities for online marketplace giant Amazon as well as several depots for logistics companies like Dachser, trans-o-flex and Rhenus Logistics. Thanks to Covid-19 more people are ordering online for the first time and demand for e-commerce fulfilment facilities has boomed. It is highly likely that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. By the same token, many companies are looking at how they can optimize their supply chain management to maintain competitiveness. A centralized depot is often the most attractive solution. With our immense experience in this sector we can offer customers the ideal solution for their logistics needs.