E-commerce is booming. While trade in retail stores seems to be stagnating, according to information provided by the German Federal Association for E-Commerce and Mail Order Outlets (bevh), in 2013 e-commerce in Germany increased by 22.9 percent to 48.4 billion euros, with this figure set to increase in future.
The Otto Group is the second-largest online dealer in the world. Customers can complete purchases either in the online shop, by ordering from the catalog or in the store. Service is of the utmost importance and encompasses the entire value added chain from purchase right through to the timely delivery of the product to the customer. The Hermes Fulfilment GmbH company, a part of the Otto Group, is responsible for all of the product logistics–not just for Otto Group companies, but also for external mail-order companies.
Sustainable Logistics for more environment protection
As products do not need to be paid for until a decision to purchase has been made, the return rates in the online sector, especially in Germany, are extremely high. In the fashion industry every second package is returned, which has a negative impact on the environment. Especially in times of climate change, an increased environmental awareness has become an important consumption factor. In this regard, efficient dispatch and optimum return management are the key to success. The returned items have to be returned, checked, and repackaged.
Sustainability has always been important to the Otto Group. By 2020, Hermes Fulfilment must reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent just like all of the other group companies. The company has therefore introduced a master plan to protect the environment. Economic success and corporate responsibility will go hand in hand during this process. Olaf Wallace, the Operations Manager at Hermes Fulfilment in Haldensleben, Germany explains:
We have quite ambitious climate change objectives. This is a challenging task and we are working with partners to try and resolve it accordingly. We are also providing awareness training to members of staff, as this is where environmental protection begins.