The pre-anniversary anniversary
The big 150-year celebration is about to take place in 2023, but this year will already see corks flying: Our colleagues at Central Eastern Europe are celebrating 25 years of FIEGE in Poland. On the occasion of the anniversary celebration that took place this week in Warsaw, we look back at a story that started in a village called Odrzywołek.
FIEGE’s success story in Poland started with seven employees a quarter of a century ago. One of them who joined early on is Piotr Kohmann. In 2006, he took over the management of the Polish subsidiary. Today, he is the Managing Director of the Central Eastern Europe business unit and looks back at the company’s history with great pride: “What we have achieved these past 25 years is quite extraordinary. Without the exemplary motivation of our colleagues here, this would have never been possible.”
The growth record is indeed impressive. In the meantime, FIEGE offers next to transportation and logistical services also value-added services, eCommerce solutions and real estate development in Poland. The number of employees has increased more than a thousand-fold, to roughly 7,500. “With over 600,000 square metres of logistics space at 13 locations, we have evolved into one of the most important logistics providers in the region. Our know-how encompasses eCommerce, tyres, fashion, healthcare, and FMCG within the entire supply chain”, Kohmann explains.
It all started on a grassy meadow
Everything began in 1997 with the contract from a multi-national US technology group for which at first an old farming building in a small village named Odrzywołek was repurposed into a temporary warehouse. A few years later, FIEGE built a first modern logistics centre in Mszczonów, to the south-west of Warsaw. “The first nine months proved to be a real challenge. We had to define the standards of our daily operations while simultaneously responding to new developments”, Kohmann recalls. But the dedication paid off. To this day, FIEGE still runs operations for its very first client, and many others have joined since. “The decision to offer contract logistics in Poland was a pioneering one”, the Managing Director says. “Over the years, we have been opening more and more branches to meet the growing demand and to continuously expand our performance portfolio while simultaneously increasing our efficiency.”
More recently, FIEGE Poland landed several large-scale projects. This year saw the addition of two contracts from a German fashion mail order business. In Bydgoszcz, some 7.5 million shoes, garments, and accessories are being stored on over 100,000 square metres which are destined for the online outlet which ships them out to 14 countries. In Łozienica near Szczecin, around half of the space is available for fulfilment services as well as value-added services.
Responsible for oneself as well as others
The Managing Director also greatly values that employees feel valued and respected: “That is our promise as a family business and that is what we are gauged by.” FIEGE’s Leadership Compass launched at all branches in Poland this summer. “Everyone has the right to effective leadership” is the motto of the Group-wide guideline for an open and valuing management culture. People working in the warehouse as well as office staff from different locations all participated in the kick-off workshop. “The decisive aspect for such a project to succeed is that colleagues can contribute their own opinions and ideas”, Kohmann tells us.
FIEGE Poland was also one of the leading companies when it came to the first instalment of the Run FIEGE Run charity event. 12 of the 25 longest distances were covered by colleagues from Poland. One fifth of the 77,000 euros that were collected were donated to the Single Mothers House Foundation in Poland, which has also been supporting single women and their children in their search for a new life path for 25 years.
For its special commitment towards its employees, FIEGE Poland received the Solid Employer of the Year award, for the fourth consecutive time now since 2018. The award honours the best Polish enterprises for their development of their human resources. The jury focuses on criteria such as transparency of further education offers, motivational measures and corporate social responsibility. Kohmann is pleased: “The repeat award acknowledges our efforts. A good working atmosphere, mutual respect and a strong team spirit establish an important foundation for us to continue our growth in the 25 years to come.”