Five shareholders founded ONLINE Systemlogistik GmbH in 1995 as an association for general cargo transports throughout Germany. The anniversary year 2020 did not invite any celebrations because of the pandemic. Although there are plenty of reasons: The B2C offer is being expanded, the cooperation with the British partner Palletforce is secured despite Brexit, the new office building at the central hub can start and the new management has been in place since summer 2020.
The merger of medium-sized logistics service providers as a counterweight to large corporations is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago. The emphasis has changed: while B2B transports were the focus back then, business with the end customer is just as natural today. This is one of the reasons why the signs are pointing to further development.
Using and expanding established structures
“Especially when it comes to innovations, as is the case now, the long-standing, trusting partnerships are very valuable. This allows us to offer new products throughout the entire network right from the start,” says Angelika Hinsch, CEO of ONLINE Systemlogistik. “At the moment, for example, we are intensively working on revising the existing processes in the B2C area. The processes for notification requirements, both for deliveries to private and major customers, are also being put to the test. The goal is to offer our partners and their customers a high level of transparency all the way to the end customer.” The Corona pandemic has changed the situation in B2C business and is a driver for new developments. Even industry giants in online retailing that have their own logistics division are reaching their limits due to the high volume of shipments and are more dependent than ever on cooperation with medium-sized companies.
Overall, new structures are needed to meet the current requirements. The association has prepared itself for this. “In 2021, we will connect more partners to the regional hubs in order to further optimise vehicle utilisation and increase freight capacities,” explains Petra Welling, CFO of ONLINE Systemlogistik. The two managing directors see the regional hubs, which complement the central hub in Schlitz near Fulda, as a decisive advantage of their general cargo network: “The distances from the smaller, regional locations to the partners and thus also to the recipients are shorter. Delivery times are reduced, and at the same time we can reduce CO2 emissions even more.”
More international, more digital, and greener
Since ONLINE Systemlogistik was founded, the number of partners has not only more than tripled, the association has also become increasingly international. Under the umbrella of the European groupage network allnet, ONLINE Systemlogistik cooperates with the British logistics network Palletforce, among others. “Together we have worked out a system that ensures a smooth flow of goods between the UK and the EU,” says Angelika Hinsch. “In cooperation with our customs service providers in Fulda and in Birmingham, we are very well positioned for the requirements of the future connection to and from the UK.” General cargo transports with Great Britain currently account for about 9 per cent of the European transports at ONLINE Systemlogistik, the share of cross-border transports in total is 25 per cent in the network.
All system partners see digitalisation and sustainability as the greatest challenges for the next 25 years – and the greatest opportunities. “From the very beginning, these topics have been in focus for us, they have accompanied us since our founding,” explains Petra Welling. “In 2021, we are particularly concerned with new software to make digital processes even more efficient and transparent.”
Celebration and new building at the central hub
So much commitment needs to be celebrated. “As soon as the Corona development allows, an anniversary celebration will definitely take place at our central hub under the motto ’25+1′,” says Angelika Hinsch. “If everything goes as we hope, we can then meet with our shareholders, system partners and business friends – and maybe even inaugurate the new ZUB administration building.”
25 years of ONLINE Systemlogistik – Milestones
- 1995 Foundation with 28 partners
- 1996 Completion of the central hub in Schlitz near Fulda
- 1997 Internationalisation with partners from the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland; first expansion of the central hub
- 1998 Second expansion of the central hub
- 2002 Certification according to DIN EN ISO 9001 (quality management) and DIN EN ISO 14001 (environmental management)
- 2003 Third and last expansion of the central hub
- 2007 First transnational cooperation between national networks with the French forwarding association Astre Palet System
- 2009 Introduction of early and late deliveries
- 2010 Introduction of HACCP hygiene management
- 2012 Cooperation with the Italian cooperation One Express
- 2013 ONLINE Systemlogistik, Astre Palet System and One Express found the European logistics network allnet. logistics network allnet