Years 25Years - Media – HAVI Logistics

Years 25Years - Media – HAVI Logistics

The Global Lead Logistics Provider



25Years Years

Havi Logistics is making history

A new global brand is born

In July 2008 the corporation previously known as

Alpha Group, “The European Lead Logistics

Provider”, was renamed Havi Logistics. And along

with the new name came a simultaneous increase

of international expansion.

Since our group was established in 1981 we have

grown from a new German business to an international

logistics network of 25 Food Service Logistics

(FSL) companies and an additional 15 service

enterprises. Previously all 40 companies had

different names and logos despite being part of

one single company’s success story. It is that same

passion for logistics, as well as the common vision

and level of commitment that unite all our employees

whether in Portugal, Russia, Norway

or Italy. This powerful bond has been further

strengthened by renaming all our FSL companies

Havi Logistics, thus cementing our market position

as “The Global Lead Logistics Provider” within

Europe and paving the way to becoming a major

global brand.

Ever since our beginnings 25 years ago we have

been dedicated to meeting our customers’expectations

of the highest food safety standards, reliable

supply-chain management and innovative logistics

ideas. We have done this with an uncompromising

commitment to the environment and continued social

responsibility. This remains unchanged today:

based on the “one-stop shopping” concept, our

more than 4,100 employees continue to provide dependable

logistics services in Europe under the

banner of Havi Logistics.



“ T h e O n l y P a r t n e r f o r M c D o n a l d ‘ s “

“Andreas, you’ve got the job.” The call, which came in June

1981 from Michael Gerling (McDonald´s Purchasing Manager

in Germany at that time) was one Frigoropa Germany had been

eagerly awaiting for a number of weeks. The “you” in question

was the still young trading company from Duisburg. A subsidiary

of Frigoscandia, it had been supplying frozen foods to the ex-

panding quick service restaurants group in Germany since April

1978. Andreas? Frigoropa’s Managing Director Andreas Rost.

The job? McDonald’s had decided in principle to purchase the

logistics for its entire range of frozen, chilled and dry goods from

a single source as of November 1, 1981. That single source was

to be Frigoropa Germany, having successfully bid for the role of

“Total Distributor Germany” in competition with major national

and international players.

During the course of the conversation that followed, McDonald’s

and Frigoscandia quickly agreed to form a joint venture for this

business, in which both partners should have equal share. For

McDonald’s, this model is new and unusual, as its policy is not

to take shares in suppliers. However, in this case, the company

is determined to get its franchisees on board in order to whet

their appetites for the strategy of supply from a single distributor,

which they are not familiar to yet. The specially founded holding

company offers franchisees cost transparency by means of control

and co-management, as well as a share in profits. In choosing this

solution, Frigoscandia believes that it is minimizing the risk of

19 - 19 1

T h e Fo u n d a t i o n o f W L S

partners suddenly bailing out in case of a change of heart (leaving

it with a large volume of goods and nobody to sell them to). Both

partners also agree that the Managing Partner should be allocated

shares in order to encourage his entrepreneurial spirit. Finally,

the capital stock of 100,000 German marks is shared 45:45:10

between McDonald’s, Frigoscandia and the designated Managing

Partner, Andreas Rost. It is Rost who comes up with the name by

which the joint venture will be known as of November 1, 1981:

WLS GmbH Warenhandel + Logistik + Service.

Let’s now take a moment to step back a little further into

history. Frigoscandia Deutschland GmbH first starts distribu-

ting McDonald’s frozen foods in July 1975. According to the

contract concluded on June 18 that year, “Frigoscandia shall

purchase from known suppliers at the specifications negotiated by

McDonald’s exclusively for McDonald’s and McDonald’s licen-

sees”. In principle, the agreement has retained its validity for Fri-

goscandia successor companies. The two parties agree a margin

Frigoscandia Germany and, since April 1978,

the Frigoscandia affiliate Frigoropa have been

exclusive suppliers to the German McDonald’s

restaurants. While affiliated companies in

Austria, Denmark, France, Sweden, and Switzerland

at that time deliver frozen, chilled, and

dry goods to the restaurants in their respective

countries, Frigoropa in Germany is only responsible

for frozen goods.

History & Future

Did you know that as early

as 19 1 potential new customers

were interested in working

with WLS?

offers • Administrate attendance lists • Work on a firm basis • Create jobs • Archive documents • Carry out audits • Watch the red dot •



History & Future

T h e Fo u n d a t i o n o f W L S

of “0.19 DM per kg”. They also agree that orders and deliveries

should run “strictly in accordance with a fixed schedule». For the

purpose of supply, Frigoscandia takes over the McDonald’s stock

of frozen foods. The company, which opened its first restaurant

in Germany in Munich in 1971, had before managed its own

logistics and supplied its restaurants directly.

Three years later, in April 1978, Frigoscandia founds the Frigor-

opa subsidiary primarily because the business with McDonald’s

is so different from its other business. In relation to McDonald’s

and his franchisees, Frigoscandia is not only a forwarder but also

a wholesale trader. As such, it has ownership of the goods in tran-

sit. It is, therefore, only logical that the company should operate

as a trading company. It is at this time that its management team

Andreas Rost and Kent Zohnne are approached by McDonald’s,

whose people are insistent that the German business needs to be

restructured and a total distribution system encompassing frozen,

chilled and dry goods like that operating in the USA has to

The ice cream manufacturer Baskin

Robbins made some inquiries, but

WLS wanted to concentrate fully

on McDonald’s at the start. WLS DC Duisburg-Großenbaum

Delegate tasks • Fill tasks with life • Track fulfilment of tasks • Be honest • Refine used shortening • Make excursions • Improve efficiency

e introduced. With this in mind, Andreas Rost and Kent Zohnne

collaborate on a project to draw up the most cost-effective

logistics concept for McDonald’s distribution in Germany (and

Europe). Their findings reflect the perceptions of a quick service

restaurant company.

Against the background of these preliminary investigations, it is

no surprise that the duo’s findings provide the basis for the bid

submitted by Frigoropa on April 21, 1981, for the role of “Total

Distributor Germany”. The primary difference between the bid

and the original findings is that the former also includes “absolu-

te costs for the most cost-effective distribution model submitted

previously in rough draft format». Appended to the bid is a list

of eight advantages (entitled Frigoropa the only partner for

McDonald’s) arguing in favor of Frigoropa succeeding in its bid.

The most important among these are: “Profit sharing and cost

transparency in the form of a joint venture; many years of loyal

cooperation; access to the know-how and resources of Frigoscan-

19 1

McDonald’s tenders an application for a ‘Total

Distributor Germany’ and is thus looking for

a distributor supplying all the goods required

in a restaurant frozen, chilled, and dry as

a one-stop-shopping concept in Germany too.

Frigoscandia is awarded the contract against

a number of competent competitors on the

condition that a new company is established

for this task.

dia in respect of frozen-food storage and transportation problems;

already the total distributor for McDonald’s in five countries».

At this time, sister companies of Frigoropa Germany were sup-

plying McDonald’s restaurants in Austria, Denmark, France, Swe-

den, and Switzerland as total distributors. When the joint venture

actually goes into operation in Germany on November 1, 1981,

these companies initially remain part of the Frigoropa Group, to

be taken over subsequently one by one by WLS. WLS too is still

under the Frigoropa umbrella when the big day dawns. Due to

cartel legislation based on parent-company turnover and number

of employees, the new company needs a license. This takes time

it is not until February 1982 that the license is actually granted.

However, the parties have agreed that during this transitional

phase, total distribution should run under the auspices of Frigor-

opa Germany.

T h e Fo u n d a t i o n o f W L S

November 1, 19 1

WLS GmbH Warenhandel + Logistik + Service

is established. WLS becomes the exclusive

and full-range supplier of McDonald’s in

Germany. The shareholders are Frigoscandia

GmbH with 45 per cent, McDonald’s -including

its franchisees - with another 45 per cent,

and the Managing Partner Andreas Rost with

10 per cent.

History & Future

Optimize occupancy • Participate in tender processes • Take picture for employee identity card • Make evaluations • Automatic creation of outgoing



History & Future

By this time, WLS has physically been in operation for four

months and has passed the first acid test, having integrated the

dry goods previously supplied to McDonald’s restaurants in

Germany by RWR into its own range in November 1981. And yet,

despite an agreement being in place for the new total distributor

to take over RWR’s goods and stock on the big day, November 1,

hardly anyone in the WLS team has any knowledge of dry goods

or their specification. So, on the weekend before the takeover,

there are many puzzled looks on many faces. What exactly is a

packaging unit of floorcloths? Ten items or just one? And which

of the ten different types of cup lids go with which item number?

Question after question, all needing answers in just three days

total distribution had to get underway the following Monday.

(See minutes of advisory board meeting dates February 19, 1982

item two on agenda, annex).

November 19 1

T h e Fo u n d a t i o n o f W L S

A core team of five people starts building

WLS: These are: the Managing Partner Andreas

Rost, Nikolaus Meischatz, Willi Müller,

Bernhard Gabriel, and Käthe Eickel. The

company is headquartered in Duisburg-Großenbaum

and has two full-range Distribution

Centers in Duisburg and Markgröningen. In

addition, warehousing capacities for frozen

goods are leased in Hamburg, Groß-Gerau,

and Munich as so-called satellites.

And get underway it did, because even during these first - if still

unofficial - days of WLS, an advantage you will not see listed in

any advertising brochure was clearly in evidence: the entire crew

was willing to give 120%. Everyone pulled together during the

takeover phase, sorting, counting, cataloging, working almost 60

hours non-stop and grabbing what little sleep they could get bet-

ween the carefully sorted floorcloths and cup lids. When they

awoke, they would be McDonald’s “Total Distributor Germany”.

What a job… ■

October 19

I.T.S. Internationale Transporte & Spedition

is established to optimize transport of all

products from the McDonald’s suppliers to

the existing WLS Distribution Centers. In

September, 1986, the company is renamed as

S.T.I. International Spedition & Transport.

invoices • Organize backhaulage • Environmental pacemaker • Plan trips by train • Scan barcodes • Refill battery water • Travel expense

December 19

WLS moves into a tailor-made Distribution

Center in Ilsfeld near Heilbronn. From now

on, the McDonald’s restaurants in southern

Germany are supplied from here. The satellites

in Munich and Groß-Gerau are closed.

History & Future

Did you know that there are installed

some really clever aids in

the warehouses of the Alpha DCs?

accounting • Show persistence • Write reports for A-lex • Treat meetings • Manage meetings • Spread best practice solutions • Create ord



History & Future P h i l o s o p h y o f W L S

For example: the red line at a

height of 2.20 m in the loading

area. It shows the maximum loading

height allowed for pallets.

A l w a y s A b l e t o D e l i v e r

From the very beginning in November 1981, WLS GmbH

Warenhandel + Logistik + Service was conceived to ope-

rate as a distributor in the US sense, as a wholesale trader

handling import/export business and specializing in logistics.

The company does not have a purchasing function (prices are

negotiated by McDonald’s), only procurement, and no sales: the

only customers are exclusively McDonald’s restaurants. As a

wholesale trader, WLS integrates the diversity of the quick ser-

vice industry. The policy of the business is to be able to deliver

all items throughout the range at all times after all, if an item

is not available, restaurants do not have an alternative they can

use in its place to create a specific product. An important issue

in this context is that of ownership of goods, something many

forwarding companies in Germany still would shrink from in

the early 1980s.


picture 2000

HLS Logistik in Switzerland is established.

This company, today headquartered in Oensingen,

has exclusive responsibility for supplying

all McDonald’s restaurants in Switzerland.

Before the Swiss restaurants had been

supplied by Frigoscandia since October 1976

and by Frigoropa since April 1980.


MLS is established in the Netherlands. At the

request of McDonald’s, WLS merges with the

independent distributor Ber Damen to combine

Ber Damen’s local competence with the

know-how of WLS.

forecasts • Handle orders • Develop order proposals • Achieve best marks in productivity and reliability • Pick up visitors • Announce visitors on the

Andreas Rost (left) and

Nikolaus Meischatz

As long as it doesn’t make any mistakes, because it has

customers in the shape of McDonald’s restaurants, the risk of

WLS being left with products in its Distribution Center and

not finding any purchaser would be relatively small. Although

franchisees (accounting for between 60 and 70% of McDonald’s

restaurants in Germany) do not have to buy from WLS, they

generally do. The high volumes WLS deals in keeps prices

reasonable and products are supplied, specified and approved

by McDonald’s. Restaurants wishing to use other suppliers and

their products could only do so if these suppliers and products

are tested and approved by McDonald’s. In spite of this, from

the very beginning WLS was under pressure to deliver “low

cost best value” goods, in order to ensure that franchisees

would support the new model. So, in its role as McDonald’s To-

tal Distributor, rather than having carte blanche, WLS actually

finds itself under specific internal pressure to keep customers

satisfied at all times.

March 19

The entire WLS organization moves within

Duisburg from Großenbaum to Rheinhausen,

starting operation of the first McDonald’s

Food Town in Europe in cooperation with

FSB Backwaren GmbH and L+O Fleischwaren

GmbH (now Esca Food Solutions). On the

premises of what used to be the Diergardt Mevissen

mine, the baking factory and the meat

processing plant combine their production

with the first tailor-made Distribution Center

of WLS. At the same time, the WLS satellite

in Hamburg is closed.

P h i l o s o p h y o f W L S

April 19

At least of equal importance is the company’s service philoso-

phy, which is also firmly ensconced in its name. It was the will

of the shareholders that the letters WLS should be the perfect

expression of the purpose of the company’s existence: Waren-

handel expresses the buying and selling the company does in its

role as a wholesale trader, Logistik a little known term in Ger-

many at the time of the company’s foundation expresses the

physical flow of goods from supplier to customer, and Service

expresses the accompanying flow of information optimizing

logistics and making the procurement process more transparent

for customers. In respect of the involvement of a US partner, all

the letters of the acronym should work equally well in English,

where WLS stands for Wholesale + Logistics + Service. ■

SDL Service + Distribution + Logistik is established

in Austria. As an enterprise of wholesale

and import trades focusing on logistics,

SDL is exclusively and fully responsible for

supplying all McDonald’s restaurants in Austria.

History & Future

black board • Take care for visitors • Issue a visitor identity card • Take visitor identity card • Hang up pictures • Adjust monitor • Switch mon



Havi Global Logistics GmbH

Geitlingstraße 20

47228 Duisburg, Germany

Phone: +49 20 65 695 04


Christoph Thünemann

General Manager Corporate Communications

The Global Lead Logistics Provider

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