The drivers employed by the company WL-Spedition make payments throughout Europe using the Mercedes ServiceCard
During the crisis back in the “noughties”, the forwarding agency WL-Spedition sharpened its profile, recording strong growth ever since. A decision was made to start working with the Mercedes ServiceCard* – a profitable partnership.
Loading of the two dozen waste bins into the swap body has gone smoothly so far. Now, for the last bins, some precision work is called for. After pushing and pulling, the two containers are positioned so that the rear door can be shut and latched. The manufacturer of the waste bins is a major customer of the transport company WL-Spedition, based in Herford in Eastern Westphalia – a company with astounding growth over recent years.
Whereas back in 2006 the family company’s yearly turnover had languished at a modest 3.3 million euros, last year they broke the 20-million euro barrier. The workforce has grown to 200, with 110 trucks. Contributing to this dynamic upswing have been the waste bin manufacturer, new customers from the white goods sector and some textile logistics companies.
“We generate around 40 per cent of our turnover by the long-term chartering of vehicles and drivers to various large logistics service providers,” says Frank Zill, who runs the company with his father, Karl-Hermann.
One milestone to success has been the economic crisis towards the end of the “noughties”. “We were among those who took a hit, and we ended up seizing the opportunity to reposition ourselves,” Zill adds. Father and son largely discontinued the forwarding part of their business and are now concentrating fully on the provision of pure transport services. The move paid off because they managed to establish themselves quickly in the CEP market – Courier, Express and Parcel services. “Today, we are on the road for a number of providers, and thanks to e-commerce, with steadily increasing volumes. This business generates a further 40 per cent of our turnover.” The last 20 per cent of the company’s turnover is achieved with its own system traffic network and the remaining forwarding business, such as storage.
The trucks in the fleet of WL-Spedition mainly operate with swap bodies in Germany and in other Western European countries. 74 of the trucks bear the star – and each one of them carries the Mercedes ServiceCard. This was also a decision they made during the company’s reorientation. “We have been using the Mercedes ServiceCard since 2009,” says Zill. At the time, the company expanded its range considerably, and the owners were looking for ways to deal with any breakdowns. “If a truck breaks down in France in the middle of the night and can quickly and easily get back on the road, then that gives us peace of mind.”
The Zills are just as appreciative of the Mercedes ServiceCard, which is offered in cooperation with the company UNION TANK Eckstein GmbH & Co. KG (UTA) for the way it provides them with the value-added tax refund service. “We need to refuel in other countries, and when we do, we must pay VAT on the spot.” Depending on the country and the sums involved, getting refunds could take up to six months. “With the card it is all handled automatically, with fortnightly statements provided, and this gives us a great advantage in terms of liquidity.”
350 trucks make up the Group4Transport fleet of which WL-Spedition are a part, together with four other medium-sized companies. The affiliated partners acquire, for example, specific customers together.
This, in turn, helps the business stay flexible – one of the company’s great assets, according to Frank Zill, since “flexibility” also translates into “customer orientation”. “As part of our increased specialisation in pure transport services, we also tightened our operational procedures.”
The result is a streamlined, efficient team with short decision-making paths that can react quickly to emerging requirements, not least because they operate around the clock. “In doing so, we have definitely given ourselves a bit of an edge in the sometimes difficult transport sector.”
Photos: Christian Schmid