“The secret capital of the book world” proclaimed a headline in Spiegel* magazine after its visit to Bad Hersfeld and Libri; this was praise indeed for our investment in the world’s most modern logistics centre for small-scale goods. The Bad Hersfeld plant is a testament to Libri’s optimism about books and the industry as a whole.
As Libri was nearing its capacity limits in the late 1990s, the decision was made to radically overhaul its logistics operations and to consolidate all operative processes at a central location. It was planned to create a state-of-the-art distribution centre in Bad Hersfeld, the “logistical heart” of Germany.
A strategic goal was formulated: not only would there be improvements in productivity and quality, but Libri was to be transformed from a wholesaler into a logistics platform for the book trade in the 21st century. The new logistics centre – which integrates wholesaling, a central warehouse and dispatch operations – means that the growing number of retail chain outlets now present nationwide, Internet and mail order booksellers, and small and medium-sized bookshops seeking opportunities for cooperation will be able to implement forward-looking business models. In trying to find the “ideal logistical concept”, Libri invited some 40 companies worldwide to take part in an ideas competition. Witron, based in the Upper Palatinate region, was awarded the contract on the strength of a concept based on order-based picking and a high degree of warehouse automization. The “goods-to-operator” principle is rigorously applied, and the walking times of the order pickers minimized.
Following a construction period of almost two years, Libri commenced trial operation in Bad Hersfeld at the end of May 2000 as scheduled. With the new logistics platform, everything is in place to ensure that the growing demands of the book market can be met both now and in the future. With its innovative products and services, Libri’s desire is to keep investing in long-term business relations and to act as a catalyst for the industry.