Relocating an Online Shop – How 80,000 Designer Products Find a New Home
News of 2016-07-01, of Anja Beckmann
It's getting crowded at Connox. It wasn’t so long ago that a mere 15 Connox employees worked in the open-plan office that now fits 40. Back in 2011, furniture and home accessories fit comfortably in the almost 26,000 square feet of warehouse space; now high shelves fill every corner, bursting with the latest designs. The Connox interior design shop has reached its limits on the outskirts of Hanover, but not for long! The Hanoverian company is moving to new offices in the city centre while the warehouse heads to Langenhagen. More than 80,000 items will be on the move - a logistical feat.
"It must not affect our customers” - the ultimate goal of Connox CEOs Thilo Haas and Kristian Lenz is clear and unquestioned, but makes the relocation of the online shop an organisational challenge. Business will continue as normal throughout the move in late July and early August, with packages going out every day and the team remaining readily available for their customers. However, behind the scenes there will be an organised state of emergency.
Meticulous Planning around Day-to-Day Business
The procedure has been planned down to the last detail to ensure that day to day business is not affected. "We'll start with the warehouse, sending deliveries from the old location right up until the last day of July, and switching straight to the new warehouse in Langenhagen on 1st August. Once we've managed that and finished all the preparations in the new office building, we'll pack up our computers, desks and everything else and move in. Only then, after everything else has been done, will our customer service team be moved," explains Thilo Haas. This way, he says, the Connox team will be continuously available for their customers.
It's a small time frame: the company only has three weeks to get all of this done. For this reason alone, the plans have been made a long way in advance and in meticulous detail. "We've been preparing for this move for half a year now”, explains Maresa Grobe, Executive Assistant. "We had to find renovation and relocation services, choose furniture and plan IT systems and new processes".
The limited time frame means teamwork will be crucial. In order to coordinate more than 80 employees from the office, warehouse and customer service teams, the schedule is timed precisely and every job has its task manager. As with the annual Christmas shopping season, the office staff will be reducing their daily workload to help in the warehouse with packing and unpacking for the move.
New Logistics Centre - The Size of a Large Football Pitch
It all begins in July, when the offices of the new warehouse will be renovated, the IT infrastructure will be created and pallet racks will be built. Then it's finally time: over 80,000 individual products will be given a home in the new logistics centre at Münchener street in Langenhagen. Several semi-trailer trucks will transport over 2,000 pallets with designer furniture and accessories, making 140 trips over the course of 4 days.
From 1st August, the new warehouse will be the focal point of incoming and outgoing goods. It covers 48,500 square feet and has 19 rolling shutters to facilitate receipt and distribution of goods. But this is still not enough: "We expect further growth, and want to have more and more products in stock for our customers. Because of this, we'll take on the adjacent warehouse by 2017 as well - that's another 48,500 square feet." says Haas, the Managing Director. With all this space, the new warehouse will be the size of a large football field.
City Centre Headquarters to Facilitate Recruitment
The new Connox headquarters will be at Aegidientorplatz in Hanover. On the 4th floor of Deloitte’s new 10 storey building, 16,700 square feet of bright, ultra-modern offices await the team. At the moment, the new office still looks like a barely-finished construction site, but by the first day of work on 15th August, it will have more than 100 work spaces, three bistros and several conference rooms - furnished with highly functional designer furniture from Vitra. There's also a plan for a lounge room with a football table, a pinball machine and plenty of space to relax and be creative, designed by 99chairs with furniture from Hay.
It's not without reason that the new office is so close to the city centre - just two tram stops away from the city's main train station: "We are rapidly becoming more international and are constantly looking for dedicated new employees for our IT team as well as for our international shops and customer service," said Maresa Grobe, "location and connections should not be underestimated as a competitive advantage for recruitment".
Working in Two Locations - Looking to the Future
Two locations - a whole new experience for Connox. The entire IT infrastructure has been changed to enable easy communication between the office and the warehouse, as well as among colleagues. Thanks to the cloud solution, working on the network will be possible from anywhere, meaning that employees will not be tied to one location. The Customer Service and Product Management teams can work in dedicated offices within the logistics centre when necessary, with a regular shuttle service allowing for an easy change of location.
With the new warehouse and office space, Connox has grand plans for the future. Europe is waiting. In the last year, the company has launched four international shops, and there are more to come in 2016 and 2017. New sites mean more human resources; the number of employees has more than doubled since 2015 – and it doesn't look like stopping. "The limited office and warehouse space at our current location has forced us to put on the brakes, even though we have the means - and need - to recruit more people and specialists. There is simply no room. That will change as of August," reports Thilo Haas, "We are looking forward to it!".
About Connox (www.connox.co.uk)
Connox is one of Europe’s leading online shops for interior design. The company, based in Germany, has websites across Europe with more than 16,000 selected premium products, including a broad range of award-winning designer products, design classics and other beautiful items for the home. For the staff of 90, the customer comes first and is central to every working decision. Connox customers benefit from high quality service, a readily available customer care team and a modern shop dedicated to the user experience. The specially developed shop software enables a high technological flexibility and guarantees the latest security standards.
Phone: +49 511 300341-38
Further information about the company is available in our Press room.