Author: Jonas

New Fulfilment Centre of Excellence (FCE): ERIKS invests £20 million

“At ERIKS, we want to be the best. Not only do we want to offer our customers products at competitive prices, but we also want to deliver them more efficiently, more accurately and faster than the competition,” says Jon Whitehouse, Product Business Unit Director. To achieve this, the British EDE member ERIKS invested 20 million pounds, around 22 million euros, in the new 11 000 square metre Fulfilment Centre of Excellence (FCE) in Oldbury, West Midlands. This replaces the previous ERIKS logistics centre in Halesowen. “For us, it is a very big step on the way to achieving the five customer satisfaction goals at ERIKS,” explains Jon Whitehouse. With 53 per cent more storage capacity than at the old location and 22 per cent more shelf space, the FCE achieves the first goal: to have exactly the products in stock in large numbers to be able to guarantee high availability.

One hundred per cent control

Picking, packing and dispatching orders with one hundred percent accuracy describes the second goal of ERIKS customer satisfaction. As an Industry 4.0 warehouse, the FCE has the technology to make this possible. At each stage of processing within the logistics centre, goods are checked against weight, size and barcodes to ensure that the correct products are delivered. “This happens not just for 99 per cent of orders, but for every single one,” says Jon Whitehouse.

“Our third goal is to deliver as quickly as possible within the UK and Ireland, the fourth to be able to track orders much better,” says Jon Whitehouse. “For both goals, the technology is already in place and is being implemented and optimised.”

The development of digital transformation that supports the customer makes the ERIKS customer satisfaction goals complete. “Extensive warehouse capacity already built now for future requirements, existing infrastructure and scalable Industry 4.0 technology, help to achieve the goals we have set,” says Jon Whitehouse.

In mid-January, Freek Dekkers, Sales Director North Europe-Benelux at EDE International, visited the FCE: “What ERIKS has created with the new logistics centre is very progressive. We have been working together globally and intensively for many years. With the new logistics centre, we will be able to expand our cooperation even further.” Congrats Eriks from EDE International!

Soon to come: „Marktplatz“ FORMATplus Slovakia & Czech Republic

At last, FORMATplus marketplace for Slovakia/Czech Republic again!

After the long dry spell since 2019, a marketplace of our FORMATplus Group Slovakia/Czech Republic will finally take place again on 11 May 2023 in Trnava, Slovakia. Around 30 suppliers from the areas of hand tools, precision tools, factory equipment, power tools, personal protective equipment (PPE)  and more, as well as 12 members from the FORMATplus country group Slovakia/Czech Republic with more than 150 participants – including selected end customers – have registered and will finally be able to meet again in May for a personal exchange at the “Marktplatz”, a trade fair specially organised by EDE International.

In addition to a social evening with an entertaining evening programme on 10 May, there will be attractive product presentations, sales training and a raffle. EDE will also have its own stand with the trade brands FORMAT, E-COLL, FORTIS PPE and the ETT BASIC dispensers. Vladimira Gimerska, Country Manager Slovakia and Czech Republic, is already full of anticipation: “Despite increasing digitalisation, there is simply no substitute for personal and professional exchange with our members and suppliers!”

Steel in balance

EURO STAHL-Handel: Supplier partner AFV Beltrame presents Chalibria to E/D/E Group

Chalibria – that is the name of the new CO₂-neutral steel from the AFV Beltrame Group – number one in Italy and a leader in the European market -. A delegation led by Carlo Beltrame informed numerous steel traders organised in ESH EURO STAHL-Handel in Wuppertal about the new product to support the market launch.

The topic of greenhouse gases has long since reached the executive floors of the steel industry. And so it was an illustrious group that had gathered at the invitation of ESH around authorised signatory Jürgen Laukandt at the E/D/E headquarters. Among the participants were Carlo Beltrame, CEO of the French and Romanian locations and Head of Business Development of the Beltrame Group, the owners of numerous trading houses, E/D/E Managing Director Peter Jüngst, responsible for the steel sector and Annegret Franzen, CEO of EDE International.

Carlo Beltrame and Klaus Rieger, Beltrame Sales Director for the German-speaking countries, emphasised the sales opportunities of Chalibria, because in the future climate neutrality will be a prerequisite in many tenders. Beltrame added that they had worked on the project for two years and had anchored Chalibria as an important element in the Beltrame Group’s wide-ranging decarbonisation strategy.

40 percent CO₂ reduction targeted

So just what is behind Chalibria, a neologism made up of the Latin words chalybs (steel, iron) and libra (balance)? Beltrame measures the CO₂ emissions of all its activities. With 570 kilogrammes of CO₂ per tonne of steel, the company is at a relatively low level compared to the rest of the industry (which is also due to the fact that Beltrame only produces electric steel), which the company wants to reduce by 40 percent by 2030. There are 45 specific individual projects behind this, including the purchase of a hydroelectric power plant or the construction of a steelworks in Romania that generates its own energy needs via a solar park with a capacity of 70 MW.

The production of steel is not yet technologically possible without CO₂ emissions. What Chalibria lacks for neutrality is compensated for by the purchase of greenhouse gas certificates (according to the strict British standard PAS206). A neutral body documents and confirms this process according to DIN EN ISO 14064-1. Dealers and their customers can access the certificate directly after placing an order. “Chalibria is available immediately for all products,” said Klaus Rieger.

“A credible initiative”

The sector is ready, was the impression given in Wuppertal in view of the many interested enquiries. In the end, it depends on the customers, says René Philipp, managing shareholder of E/D/E member company HUSE & PHILIPP, Braunschweig. “I am curious to see how the market accepts it. There will certainly be differences in the different types of business and target groups here. It is a credible initiative by Beltrame and makes sense to want to gain an edge as a market leader in this increasingly important topic. Others will follow behind.”

Peter Jüngst, E/D/E Managing Director Building Services, Steel, Logistics, Construction Equipment, complimented AFV Beltrame: “Sustainability will shape the future. In this respect, we are proud to be able to count such an innovative company among our most important supply partners in the steel sector. Congratulations on this great project!”

Grand opening of EHLIS logistics centre in Illescas, Toledo

On Friday 17 March 2023, the grand opening of the new EHLIS automated logistics centre took place in Illescas, Toledo. More than 400 enthusiastic visitors from home and abroad were present, including suppliers, the Regional Minister for the Economy, Enterprise and Employment, Patricia Franco, the Mayor of Illescas, José Manuel Tofiño, various members of the Regional Ministry and the City Council, employees of CECOFERSA, Delcredit España, EDE International and – as is always the case at EHLIS events – a large number of family members of the founding family.

In his welcoming speech, Alejandro EHLIS reported on the general data of the new logistics centre, which has been under construction for almost two years since the start of construction on 21 April 2021. EHLIS built the logistics centre on a total of 60,000 square metres of land, covering around 22,000 square metres, and thus still has sufficient free space for possible future expansion. The logistics centre has a 36-metre high, fully automatic high rack with a capacity of 30,000 pallets, a likewise automatic system for transport containers and a final conventional palletising area. All this, says Alejandro Ehlis, “equipped with the latest technology.”

In addition to the numbers, data and facts about the new modern location of the 125-year-old family business, EHLIS emphasised above all its own quality standards “If we want to double our anniversary one day and reach 250 years (even if we ourselves won’t live to see it), we must continue to work hard, continue to invest and, above all, fulfil all our commitments to our suppliers, our partners and our own employees.”

We warmly congratulate EHLIS on this successful event!

Present for this year’s 125th anniversary of the cooperation partner EHLIS

On the occasion of the dinner at the board meetings of CECOFERSA and the joint venture Delcredit España S.A. on 15.3.2023 in Madrid, Annegret Franzen, Managing Director EDE International AG, and Mayte Jakstait, International projects, business relations & communications Manager, had a special surprise in their luggage. They presented Alejandro and Ignacio Ehlis, Managing Directors of EHLIS S.A., with a gift for this year’s 125th anniversary in the form of a personalised skyline watercolour. The watercolour, which had been individually created for the occasion, was the skyline of Barcelona mirrored with the skyline of the Bergisches Land. A special feature was that the headquarters of both companies in Barcelona and Wuppertal had been inserted, thus building a bridge between the two companies.

EHLIS had already been started in 1898 by Reinhardt Ehlis as a small company in Barcelona, at that time as a commercial agent for German hardware products. This year, the owner-managed family business in its 4th generation looks back on 125 years of history and has developed into one of the most important purchasing and marketing organisations on the Spanish market.

 “Although our cooperation has only existed for a comparatively short time, we feel that our companies have a strong partnership due to the many parallels in our decades of history,” says Annegret Franzen. And further: “We congratulate from the bottom of our hearts and are happy and proud to be at the side of EHLIS on this special occasion”.

Woman of The Month

February 2023

In this column we would like to present special characters and personalities in the international environment of EDE International on a monthly basis. Enjoy reading!

Five Questions to Dorota Cziber:

Dorota Cziber is 43 years young, works and lives in Wroclaw with her husband, teenage son and a Jack Russell. She has been the passionate managing director of the Polish subsidiary Ditzinger Sp. z o.o. for around 18 years now and has since built the company from a small two-person operation into a successful enterprise with 14 employees. As a Polish company with a German parent company and membership in E/D/E, she has many interesting things to say about international cooperation. Dorota Cziber speaks perfect German in addition to her Polish mother tongue.

EDE International: “Dear Dorota, please introduce yourself briefly to our readers. What do you like to do most in your free time when you are not working for Ditzinger as Managing Director?”

Dorota: “I don’t have much time for hobbies, but I love spending time with people. Of course, especially with my husband, my 14-year-old son and of course our dog – he’s practically our second child (laughs). On top of that, we have a huge family with whom we meet as often as possible and – as is so common in Poland – discuss things loudly and spiritedly. I also often play ‘mummy taxi’ for my son, who has been swimming competitively for many years. So I’m always on the go a lot and around people. I like that.”

EDE International: “Please tell us something about your professional career. How did you get involved with Ditzinger in Poland? What was special about it?”

Dorota: “After my studies in economics, I was asked by Ditzinger if I would like to take over the Polish branch. That was about 18 years ago, back then we started with two employees in Polkowice and built up the business from scratch. Today I am very grateful for this great experience. We did everything ourselves with our growing team. I can really claim to know almost all the processes of my business because I’ve done all kinds of tasks myself, whether it’s printing out a delivery note, preparing an annual balance sheet or training new employees. That is a big advantage. This joint development with the staff has welded us together. Clearly, the most important thing we have at Ditzinger Poland is our team! We have known and appreciated each other for many years. We know what makes each other tick, what keeps them busy.

Our head office (Ditzinger Germany) has always supported us from the very beginning, and we have been given a lot of confidence to build up the business in Poland – in our own ‘Polish way’. At the beginning it was a kind of ‘culture clash’ (winks with one eye). But we quickly agreed with the management in Germany that we could do it ‘our way’ for a year and then we’d see. That worked well. The head office’s leap of faith has proven its worth and today we are still allowed to act as independently as possible.”

EDE International: “What do you think distinguishes this Polish mentality and culture? What is the special strength of you as a company in Poland?”

Dorota: “Clearly one of our strengths: Polish culture is very open. We are relaxed in our dealings with business partners and place a lot of value on friendly relationships and like to mix business and private. It’s easy for us to establish a personal relationship with our customers very quickly! We usually know each other very well, we know the private situation of the people and, in addition to business, we often talk about private things. That creates closeness and trust. We Poles are sometimes too quick in our thinking and decisions. Personally, I have a lot of respect for the fact that my German colleagues think for a long time and discuss things calmly, without the emotionality that is characteristic of us Polish people.”

EDE International: “How do you feel about the cooperation with EDE? With the people? What helps you in the cooperation and what can we do better?”

Dorota: “Two words come to mind: Dialogue and partnership! Our cooperation is characterised by mutual trust. One of the reasons for this is definitely that we have been working with the same people in E/D/E since the beginning about 16 years ago. We know each other very well and due to the long cooperation, we have many nice experiences together, which we often talk about and also laugh about. 

We would certainly not be as successful today without the cooperation with EDE. We are a small company – without the great support from the warehouse, the logistics, the catalogues – and other services of E/D/E, we would not have developed so quickly. The professionally organised trade fairs, the personal visits of the staff on site and also the virtual meetings help us to progress. And although E/D/E has a group-like structure, we have always found enough flexibility when we needed an exception. And something else is important for us: despite the internationality, the Polish culture and mentality are always taken into account. I like that.”

EDE International: “What else would you like to see from E/D/E in the future?”

Dorota: “That we keep on moving towards digitalisation, develop new things together and adapt to the ‘new’ world. And that we continue to have the super partnership as before and our ‘special wishes’ continue to be fulfilled!”

Thank you very much for the interview, Dorota!

About “Ditzinger “:

Ditzinger Sp. Z o.o. was founded in 2004 and is a 100% subsidiary of the Ditzinger Group in Braunschweig, Germany and today supplies industry and trade with products from renowned manufacturers in the fields of hand tools, rolling bearings and drive technology, industrial plant equipment, power tools, lubrication systems, industrial machinery and equipment, factory equipment, work protection and much more. Professionalism and efficiency in meeting customer requirements are top priorities. Ditzinger Sp. z o.o. has been a member of the E/D/E Group for more than 16 years. More info:

The interview was given in February to Mayte Jakstait.

EHLIS and ASIDE complete the European Hardware Network (EHN) in Spain

Since the beginning of the year, the European Hardware Network (EHN) has gained two new competence partners. EHLIS is a Barcelona-based purchasing and marketing association with more than 1,500 affiliated hardware, DIY and industrial supply shops. ASIDE, with its 36 specialized industrial members in the B2B business and around 60 points of sale, mainly supplies professional end customers in the industry.

“With the acquisition of our two Spanish cooperation partners, we were able to successfully drive the expansion of EHN,” Annegret Franzen, Managing Director of EDE International, is pleased to report. EHN is a pan-European competence group initiated and organised by EDE International in 2022. With EHLIS and ASIDE, the group now consists of the following seven purchasing and marketing organisations:

CECOFERSA, Spain and Portugal
CDU in Italy
e+h Switzerland,
FERNEY, Netherlands and
E/D/E GmbH in Germany and abroad

The qualitative expansion of the partner suppliers also continues. Since the end of 2022, a total of ten contractual partners have been part of the EHN.

EHN is in cooperation talks with further European purchasing groups and suppliers and is open to constructive and effective cooperation. Always with the clear objectives in mind of a win-win situation, to create joint synergies in existing markets and to expand cooperation in new markets.

Further information

International EHN supplier meeting in Madrid

Since its foundation more than a year ago, the European Hardware Network (EHN) met for the first time at the beginning of January for an international supplier meeting in Madrid. The focus of the meeting of the pan European Competence Group, consisting of the Spanish CECOFERSA, which hosted the meeting, the Italian Consorzio Distributori Utensili (CDU), the Dutch Ferney Group, e + h Service AG from Switzerland as well as E/D/E and EDE International AG, which acts as the coordinator of the group, was a first exchange between competence partners and its suppliers.

The suppliers’ meeting took place on 11th and 12th January 2023 and was initiated by a social event the evening before and offered the total of around 30 participants sufficient time to get to know each other personally. On the second day, the meeting continued in an effective and targeted manner: each supplier had the opportunity to present his company and his products. Afterwards, suppliers and competence partners were able to deepen their discussions and find initial approaches to establishing business relationships. “This meeting is the first one in which our suppliers have also participated,” says Annegret Franzen, Managing Director at EDE International. “We would like to hold it annually from now on to stimulate exchange between new partner suppliers, competence partners and members in the field.”

The participants were happy about the face-to-face meeting and appreciated the personal exchange, after the pandemic. Federica Bonini from Dino Paoli: “We gained many new impressions here today and are excited about the European meeting. We were able to exchange ideas on current topics and future projects in person.”

EHN offers its partner suppliers access to the largest community of purchasing organisations in Europe. The clear goal of this cooperation is to expand joint activities and become more successful in all relevant markets.

Rainer Brombach is the responsible Supplier Manager at EDE International AG: “At the end of 2022, we have reached a first small milestone in the young history of ENH and have gained ten contract or partner suppliers.”

In addition to the supplier meetings, EHN works efficiently and leanly in virtual meetings. Once a year, the competence partners come together for an exchange on current market topics at a face-to-face meeting. The group is open to cooperation partners of E/D/E and the partners. “The important factor is trusting networking and joint exploitation of synergies with all suppliers and competence partners,” says Annegret Franzen.

More info

Man of The Month

January 2023

In this column we would like to present special characters and personalities in the international environment of EDE International on a monthly basis. Enjoy reading!

Five Questions to Rik Lecot:

Rik Lecot is 62 years young, married and has two sons. He started his professional career in 1983. Since 2000, he has been Co-Managing Director at our member company LECOT in Belgium and has since then been an active and valued contact person in all E/D/E matters.

EDE International: “Dear Rik, what do you like to do in your spare time when you are not working?”

Rik: “Lecot is of course my biggest hobby. Otherwise, I like to go to football in the region where I live, the club from Kortrijk. We are also a sponsor there and I am there regularly every fortnight. Another hobby is food, too. As you can see (strokes his belly and laughs). Especially Belgian cuisine with very nice fish.”

EDE International: “You have been working with the EDE since you started at Lecot – more than 22 years now. Do you have a personal highlight? What do you particularly appreciate about working with the team at EDE?”

Rik: “The feeling that you are not a “number” at EDE! I have known EDE and the people, including the owner family, for a very long time. There are strong personal relationships. Mutual visits are always full of appreciation. We always reflect about things together: What else can we do? I must say that the joint development of Lecot and EDE is very positive. – Especially the topic of internationalisation. These two success stories should continue. “

EDE International: “Are there also cultural differences in our cooperation?

Rik: “Of course. EDE has developed a lot and has become more and more international. Nevertheless, there is still the German culture. That is also a good thing. I am European through and through. I worked in Germany before Lecot and know both the language and the mentality (editor’s note: Rik speaks 5 languages fluently (!) and a little Spanish). This also helps especially to understand the complexity of the EDE.”

EDE International: “Is there something particularly valuable that one could learn from a Belgian company in an international environment?

Rik: “Belgium has always been a transit country. Characterised by multilingualism, different cultures and openness. We have many foreign manufacturers – perhaps more than in other countries. We see that as an advantage and look with an open mind: Which one is the best? That’s what we take. There is a saying in Belgium: Goods arrive in Rotterdam – and on the way to France or Holland, something always falls off for us.” (laughs)

EDE International: “Rik – do you have a final message for us?

Rik: (thinks for a moment and then): “Full speed ahead in internationalisation EDE!”

Thank you very much for the interview, Rik!

About “Lecot”:
Since its foundation in 1888 by Charles Lecot, the family business has grown from a small hardware shop in Heule and Maaseik, Belgium, to become the largest national supplier of general hardware, fasteners, building hardware, tools and industrial safety. Today, it is already in its fourth generation. As a family business, Lecot says it swears by long-term relationships and places the highest value on reliability and quality for its customers in Belgium and the Netherlands. Lecot has been a member of the E/D/E Group for more than 25 years.

The interview was given in December to Mayte Jakstait.


As of 1 January 2023, Mónica Carrascal Rioja is the new Managing Director of DELCREDIT España S.A., a subsidiary of EDE International and the Spanish purchasing association CECOFERSA. With her appointment, Monica Carrascal replaces Rafael Martín Alfonso, who will take over the position of Advisor to the Board of Directors of DELCREDIT and CECOFERSA.

“We are pleased to have gained Mónica Carrascal, a long-standing CECOFERSA employee, and thus to be able to ensure a smooth transition of the management of DELCREDIT España S.A.”, says Annegret Franzen, CEO of EDE International AG.

In 2007, Mónica Carrascal joined CECOFERSA as Head of Purchasing and in this position made a valuable contribution to the organisation on both the supplier and member side. Annegret Franzen: “We thank Mónica Carrascal for her dedication and are sure that she will now apply this energy equally to our subsidiary. At the same time, we thank Rafael Martín for the ten years of joint cooperation.” Since the foundation of DELCREDIT España in 2012, he has been largely responsible for its excellent development in Spain and Portugal. “We are pleased that Rafael Martín will continue to be available as an advisor to the Board of Directors in the coming months and will thus pass on his experience to the new Managing Director,” says Annegret Franzen.

Strong cooperation on the Iberian Peninsula Since March 2022, EHLIS AG has held the majority shares in CENTRAL DE COMPRAS Y SERVICIOS PROFESIONALES S.A. (CECOFERSA).  This has created the strongest association in the B2B / DIY sector on the Iberian Peninsula with around 1,800 sales locations and its own central warehouse at the company’s location near Barcelona as well as further warehouse and service locations in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia as well as on Mallorca and Tenerife. In order to be able to supply the members of the new constellation with goods even faster, another logistics centre is currently being built near Madrid on a floor space of around 60,000 square metres.

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