European distribution with smart quantity and returns management


The Spanish shipper had a problem that many companies are familiar with: fast, cost-effective and straightforward shipments are not always possible. Especially for international shipments. Although integrated networks offer a single point of contact for all countries, they generally use a standardised central hub. This convenience costs time and money. On the other hand, those who rely on direct shipments to the respective countries, where individual country specialists distribute the goods, gain speed, but have to negotiate with numerous partners. In addition, they incur high shipping charges to the destination country because there is no bundling. And they cannot get the best price because they only negotiate partial quantities. Speed comes at the price of greater complexity and higher prices.



For the Spanish consignor shipment was nevertheless fast, cost-effective and straightforward at the same time. The company found a trans-o-flex salesperson who was not looking to sell a standard solution, but instead addressed the specific needs of the customer. He analysed the shipment flows and found an individual solution tailored to the company’s priorities, which he implemented in the Eurodis network.

“It was striking that the majority of Spanish customer’s shipments (about half of all consignments!) had to be distributed in France”, recalls Jens Reibold, international division manager at trans-o-flex. “And the other half had addresses in six other countries: Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary.” The previous service provider actually transported all consignments from Spain to Germany. From here they went to shoe and textile wholesalers as well as specialist shops in the various countries. “This, however, meant that a great deal of time was lost, especially for the French consignments, because they first had to travel to Germany and from there back to France.”

Shortcut saves time and money
trans-o-flex saved the customer this detour, which would have cost time and money. The shortcut found goes like this: At the customer premises in Spain, the total quantity is sorted into French consignments and the rest. The French parcels are transported directly from the Spanish customer to the hub in southern France of the Eurodis partner. “We feed them in directly here and the consignments are delivered anywhere in France the next day”, says Reibold. “This is at least two days faster than if we had shipped them to the European hub and transported them back from there. And, of course, it’s also cheaper.” The remaining consignments are bundled from Spain to Cologne, where trans-o-flex bundles shipments from and to western and south-western Europe. “In Cologne, we can feed the German consignments, which make up the customer’s second largest international volume, directly into the trans-o-flex network.” The remaining consignments travel from Cologne via regular direct services to the respective countries. They can be bundled with other consignments from Germany to these countries.

One contact for all countries – efficient and convenient returns solution
Although the consignments are fed in in different countries, with different transport partners, the customer has only one contact person, namely trans-o-flex. “We also manage the data transfer to the individual national partners for the customers and organise any returns that may be required”, Reibold explains. In addition, a solution has been developed for the returns that combines low costs with the highest level of service for the consignees. “All undeliverable packages are a national return for the consignees in the respective country.” The same delivery service that delivers the consignment, also collects it. It is then routed via the respective national Eurodis hub to Cologne, where the returns from all the countries are collected and consolidated before being sent back to Spain.

Solution scalable and transferable to other customers
The cooperation with trans-o-flex in the Eurodis network has even more advantages for customers. For example, the consignor uses the option of shipment consolidation, as the consignees usually receive several parcels. In addition, customers can also hand over COD shipments for all countries. The COD service is used extensively for the French market in particular.

“The solution can be transferred to other customers at any time”, says Reibold. “It is particularly suitable for companies that are looking for a distribution solution for multiple countries and where different feed-in points offer time and cost advantages.”

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