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Growing with the job

The DIY store as a reflection of the times: from a mecca for DIY enthusiasts to a largely digitalized cross-channel shopping experience. For 20 years, DACHSER DIY-Logistics has been there to support the industry through all its many changes. A journey through time from woodchips to returns management. 
Full service along the entire flow of goods—from supplier to the shelf and, if necessary, back again

It’s incredible how times have changed. Twenty years ago, the DIY store around the corner was the only place that craftsmen, repairmen, and amateur home remodelers could go to satisfy their cravings, a wonderland where they could select from among 100,000 items delivered by 1,000 suppliers. Today, the internet has made such stores virtually infinite, although none so successfully as Amazon. The online retailer already features over a million DIY items in its portfolio and has relocated the shopping experience to the customer’s own home. Traditional DIY stores are falling in with this trend and opening their own online shops, in which sophisticated data analysis makes it possible to gear offerings precisely to each individual customer’s needs.

“Regardless of how retail is positioned, it will always need logistics and the physical transportation of goods from A to B,” says Ralf Meistes. He knows the industry inside out: for 20 years, the head of DACHSER DIY-Logistics and his expert team in Cologne have been developing custom solutions for home improvement and gardening. “Over the past two decades, demands on logistics have changed a lot. The days of just picking up and dropping off are over; nowadays, industries require complete solution providers with strong network expertise,” Meistes explains.


With the supplier collaboration SynLOG loading bay traffic and the flow of goods can be optimized and reduced.

Gateway to new markets

DACHSER believes that fully tapping synergies is the key to success in DIY logistics. One example of this is SynLOG, a supplier collaboration DACHSER has been working with since it was established 20 years ago. A joint initiative of the professional associations Herstellerverband Haus & Garten and Industrieverband Garten (IVG), SynLOG aims to counteract loading bay traffic jams and help players in transportation and carriers harmonize processes, optimize costs, and share expertise. Meistes is pleased that SynLOG has chosen DACHSER as its exclusive groupage partner. “DACHSER makes about 4.6 million DIY shipments each year, bringing them to all the 18,000 home and garden outlets throughout Europe within established delivery windows,” he says. “This reduces loading bay traffic and optimizes the flow of goods. Manufacturers can rest assured that supplier performance is of a uniformly high quality for their retail customers across Europe.”

As Meistes puts it, DACHSER DIY-Logistics also aims to apply its network expertise and serve as a gateway to new markets for manufacturers and retailers. “To that end, we always have our ‘ear to the rails.’ When our team is at a trade fair like spoga+gafa or the hardware fair and discovers new suppliers, we help them ensure their systems meet the requirements of today’s retail. It’s a win-win for all sides.”

A driver of innovation in the DIY market

DACHSER set another historic milestone when it helped introduce NVE codes and electronic delivery notes to the DIY sector. “That was when processes started becoming efficient, transparent, and flexible to manage,” recalls Meistes. “Today, it’s impossible to imagine operating without these DACHSER standards. And in times of rising digitalization, too, we are and will remain an innovation driver; thanks to the company’s solid basis of experience—such as in food, where retail is a bit further along—we can implement the IT for process optimizations very quickly.”

All such innovations and experience come together in the DACHSER DIY-Logistics Pipeline. Here is where the DACHSER network’s comprehensive global logistics services, proven in practice many times over, are tailored for the DIY sector. For example, transporting goods via air and sea freight from the U.S. and Asia to Europe, where the many branches and warehouses can distribute them as needed through the DACHSER network to all the home and garden stores that the company serves. “That means full service along the entire flow of goods—from supplier to the shelf and, if necessary, back again. And always with intelligent, IT-supported logistics solutions from a single source. No other logistics provider can do that like we can,” Meistes says.


Ralf Meistes, Department Head DACHSER DIY-Logistics

Solutions for disruptive times

He looks to the future with optimism, noting: “More than ever, we have to answer the question of what added value retail can offer its customers via logistics.” To do so, logistics can partner with retailers to offer many new solutions and approaches— for example, in city distribution. It’s fortunate that Meistes and his team are part of Corporate Solutions, Research & Development, as this is the corporate unit at DACHSER that deals with topics of the future. The unit’s developers are focusing on a toolbox of intelligent concepts for city-center deliveries. One example is electric trucks in combination with microhubs; another is customer-specific solutions, and a third is convenience services such as offering two-person handling in direct B2C delivery all the way to the front door or even to assembly in the building. “Our overriding goal is to use logistics to connect operational efficiency with customer satisfaction,” explains Meistes. “That’s how you prepare for the future, even in disruptive times.” 

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