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Meeting the European logistics challenge


Improving its clients’ business performance has been Clipper Group’s objective ever since it began life as Clipper Logistics Limited in 1992 with a team of just three people and a single driver. In the meantime Clipper Logistics Group has emerged as one of Europe’s leading logistics providers with over 3,200 highly skilled, long-serving employees and a network of 40 sites in the UK alone.

The group offers flexible next-day and 72-hour delivery to the Republic of Ireland and many other countries in the EU, as well as a cost-effective next-day scheduled delivery service for hanging and boxed deliveries to and from most major European cities.

The German base has been operative since 2008 and comprises sites in Münchberg, Hof, Kempen, Berlin and Schweinfurt. Having successfully guided the progressive development of e-commerce, retail and logistics on behalf of several other well-known companies, Stefan van Hoof was appointed Managing Director of Clipper Logistics a few months ago.

“Our aim is to provide our clients with cost-efficient logistics solutions while living up to our reputation of total reliability,” he explains. “At present we have 250 specialized employees in the whole of Germany, whose high level of motivation, flexibility and competence contributes to Clipper’s growing reputation.”

In Münchberg the focus is on textile logistics, one of the most important sectors of industry served by the German logistics experts. Likewise, the site at Hof accommodates an ultra-modern hang-and-pick warehousing facility with a capacity of up to five million items.

The 24,500 m² multi-user warehousing center in Kempen also serves as the company’s central fleet distribution base. Clipper Logistics also organizes transportation services from its sites in Berlin and Schweinfurt, either eastwards or southwards, respectively.

Plans to establish yet another site in neighbouring Poland are fully in line with the company’s ambitious growth policy. Faced with the need for cost reduction in the labour-intensive logistics sector on the one hand and expansion on the other, Stefan van Hoof feels that it makes sense to look towards Eastern Europe, where it is easier to find the people to do the work.

Compared to the group’s 400 million EUR turnover the German contribution of 20 million EUR may seem rather modest. Nevertheless, Clipper Logistics has the potential to achieve dynamic growth, especially as Brexit will become a reality in the foreseeable future.

Clipper’s German base has a strategic position in the heart of Europe. Clipper Logistics is a high-performance enterprise that combines the best of both worlds: the backing and resources of a major group capable of handling any logistics or supply chain management project, and the exceptional flexibility and dedication of a rapidly developing enterprise.

Encouraged by the fact that he has been able to win several new, important clients already, Clipper Logistic’s Managing Director expects business volume to increase by as much as 25 to 50% in the next few years.

Besides customer satisfaction and service optimization, his focus is on the acquisition and development of new business. “E-commerce is becoming ever more important, as the consumer business is on the increase,” says Mr. Van Hoof, who admits that e-commerce is his passion. “Traditional logistics like shifting wooden pallets is on its way out, while highly automated, complex shelving systems are becoming the rule. We have the warehousing facilities plus the IT competence to provide the competitive, high-value logistics required by our clients.”

Clipper Logistics has gained a sound customer base in the competitive German market The focus is on B2B clients so far, however the company’s IT competence and experience in e-commerce logistics allows for the continuous expansion of its B2C operations.

Stefan van Hoof feels that competent logistics companies should be able to serve B2B and B2C requirements from one single warehouse, thus merging old and new world requirements.

“We can bank on excellent IT solutions, for example in the returns management sector with our own, cost-efficient software,” he adds. “E-commerce is completely European, so it is necessary to offer a European solution and enlarge the European network. Our hands-down, flexible approach, combined with excellent IT competence, provides a sound basis for the development of a corresponding network within the next five to ten years.”

Clipper Logistics is well prepared to act as a European logistics service company enabling clients to order and offer goods in the whole of Europe.

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