The retail industry is going through a period of profound change: Consumer preferences are changing, logistics and supply chains are becoming more complex, new channels are emerging and the retail industry is becoming more global. International players are expanding into new markets and, as a result, the global retail industry continues to be characterised by a process of consolidation. According to Euromonitor International, one-third of all retail sales in 2024 will be attributed to cross-channel retail. For a seamless and consistent shopping experience across all channels, it is therefore all the more important for the German sports sector, retail and industry, to increasingly focus on omnichannel strategies and to continuously expand and improve them.
A multichannel company like SportScheck also wants to be prepared for the future. The Munich-based sports retailer is active in both the stationary and digital retail markets. The challenge: 34 branches of the sports retail company as well as an online shop with an assortment of around 50,000 articles from over 500 brands want to be professionally and competently supported logistically and strategically. And this is precisely where one of Europe's largest omnichannel logistics providers comes into play - FIEGE.
The two traditional companies SportScheck and FIEGE are linked by a long-standing partnership. Together they are driving forward the strategic development of the sporting goods retailer. The tasks that FIEGE assumes for SportScheck are manifold and oriented towards future-oriented strategies. FIEGE has been working for SportScheck at the logistics centre in Apfelstädt since 2014, and today takes care of warehousing, Germany-wide store distribution, e-commerce fulfilment and returns management as well as B2C parcel shipping within Germany and to Austria. "In recent years we have steadily and continually expanded our cooperation with FIEGE. Our partnership is characterised by mutual trust and a very open exchange", is how Christian Marzinzik, CFO of SportScheck GmbH, describes the trusting cooperation with the logistics partner. Through joint know-how and the further development of processes, steady growth in logistics has been realised - with a total shipping volume of 72 million items since the beginning of the partnership.
For the future, SportScheck and FIEGE plan to further expand the partnership through automation and growth projects. For example, FIEGE is currently implementing a major automation project for the long-standing customer near Erfurt. The Greven-based logistics service provider is installing one of the largest car stores in Germany on a floor space of almost 10,000 square metres. It should be ready for operation as early as 2023. With an investment of around 40 million euros, 270,000 containers will be stored and retrieved by 160 robots in the future. "In the fast-moving omnichannel business, maximum availability of goods and minimum throughput times are important success factors. With the Autostore we offer SportScheck an integrative and scalable system that meets these requirements," says Stephan Wittenbrink, Managing Director of the Fashion & Lifestyle division at FIEGE.
For SportScheck, the new logistics centre brings numerous added benefits. The logistics area is reduced, throughput times are shorter. Staff deployment can also be better planned. In addition, there is greater flexibility thanks to modular expansion options. The state-of-the-art storage system will replace the existing bag sorter, which will be available for other customers in the future. "Since the range of goods, the customer needs and thus the demands on the logistics concept have continuously increased, the expansion with an Autostore was the logical consequence," explains Wittenbrink. "The flexible tote warehouse provides more storage capacity in a significantly reduced area and reduces the manual picking effort to a minimum. This allows us to relieve our employees of repetitive tasks and deploy them in value-added processes, which is becoming increasingly significant in view of the shortage of skilled workers."
FIEGE is convinced that a holistic service for all warehousing and transport products through central contact persons enables fast and efficient communication. The roughly 14 million items expected in the new SportScheck warehouse in the future require reliable preparation of the merchandise - both for the individual SportScheck branches as well as for online shipping. FIEGE will provide this service in the central warehouse as well as other value added services.
Other services within the scope of the logistics partnership between FIEGE and SportScheck also include support for the last mile, which will play an increasingly important role in the transport of goods in the future. "In my view, the last mile will be the gamechanger with regard to sustainability," says Christoph Mangelmans, Managing Director BU Consumer Products & Digital Services at FIEGE, on the importance of the last mile. "It's mainly about which journeys are avoidable to deliver parcels." Since January 2021, FIEGE has been in charge of parcel delivery for SportScheck on the last mile to end customers throughout Germany and Austria. In addition, FIEGE ensures that the goods are delivered to the shops on time or reliably reach the private online customer. From collection at the central warehouse to delivery at fixed times to the shops, SportScheck can rely on reliable and plannable delivery.
For FIEGE, the satisfaction of the end customer is one of the keys to successful and future-oriented retailing. "A customer wants to be happy, no matter where. He wants to have the best buying experience," Mangelmans explains. "That can be in the shop, but it can also be that he gets information in the shop but then buys online." In the case of SportScheck, there are about 50,000 transport units per year. FIEGE's other tasks include continuously optimising costs and ensuring the best transit times. In order to ensure this level of service and the best price for transport, FIEGE works together with local carriers. A modular service system is the trump card of the family-owned company. Customers of the contract logistics provider from Greven can select the components they need from a modular service system. What is not required is not even offered by FIEGE - just as it should be for a trusting partnership.