Footway: “Logistics is at the core of e-commerce”

Online shoe giant Footway previously conducted its warehouse management activities itself. But after a visit to PostNord’s TPL warehouse facility in Helsingborg, Sweden, the company started thinking in a different direction. Its logistics operations are now run by PostNord.

When Footway was established in 2010, its founder and Managing Director, Daniel Mühlbach, already had considerable experience in e-commerce, after having started and run the contact lens vendor Lensway. His decision to move to the sale of shoes had two explanations. One was related to consumer power, with shoes being a much more enjoyable product to talk about than contact lenses. The other was related to logistics.

“Online shopping for shoes brings with it complex logistics, and I like such challenges,” says Daniel Mühlbach. Logistics is at the core of e-commerce and complicated logistics issues give rise to plenty of opportunities to do things better than the competition.

With Daniel Mühlbach’s background and interest in logistics, it seemed an obvious step to build up a dedicated warehouse facility for Footway.

“We invested quite a lot in this area, in order to make it really good and to avoid having to redo everything. But after the acquisition of Brandos in 2013, I realized that the existing solution might only be sufficient for a couple of years at the most.”

A number of potential ways forward were discussed. One was for the company to ‘bring home’ Brandos’ stock handling from PostNord TPL in Helsingborg and create a new, larger logistics apparatus itself. But a visit to the terminal in Helsingborg, resulted in Daniel Mühlbach changing his mind.

“I realized that the operations there were very good, and were handled by knowledgeable and dedicated staff. The warehouse is also very well designed and has the capacity to cope with a major scaling up.”

Footway thus did the opposite of what they had first intended.

“Some of our external investors were shocked when I explained that we were going to get rid of the warehouse in Kista. But logistics operations are not always perfect just because they are handled as closely to the company’s base as possible.

Daniel Mühlbach has not regretted choosing PostNord. Everything quickly fell into place after the move. The dual experience of ‘teething problems’, from both Footway’s own warehouse and from Brando’s TPL storage facility, was very helpful.

“We benefited from the lessons that each party had learned and made a number of improvements. These included implementing automatic sorting and Sunday shipments. We have also optimized the mass picking to our outlet.”

Mutual understanding important

Mutual understanding has been a prerequisite for the efficient logistics operations that Footway has established together with PostNord.

“I often say that one can also outsource the elements in which one is an expert. If there is a good understanding between the parties at the required level, which is what we have, very few problems arise.”

Last updated: 8/12/2016 11:06 AM