ASWO’s distribution centre in Germany

July/August 2020

20 Television screens are getting bigger and,

consequently, the more expensive they are; therefore, repairs are considered now for a longer product life. In white goods, I’ve been around spare

parts for 15 years. There is a lot more technology coming into domestic appliances, like ovens with video screens and programming your washing machine from your phone. But I feel consumers are less inclined to go with technology on appliances. There are more environmental concerns

today and a lot more consumer awareness around electronics waste.

Q: Tell me about the new distribution hub in France? NV: So, our warehouse in Northern Germany was pretty much at capacity, so in order to help provide expansion in the UK – although it wasn’t built solely for the UK – we built a bigger facility in France. It provides 33,000sqm of storage space. We did have another warehouse in France – that was just 5,000sqm – so this extra capacity enables us to stock more products for next day delivery. Our service into the UK will be much quicker; today we have an order cut-off time of 5.30pm for next day. MP: We’ve experienced huge growth in

France and other bordering countries so we’re lucky that we have this new logistics hub because we would have never been able to manage the growing demand. We were very central in Germany but we

realised that it was not possible to have one place to do everything for everyone. So we looked at the French subsidiary and made this an international hub. We invested over €30 million into this project.

Q: How has COVID-19 affected your business? NV: ASWO was fortunate enough to carry on throughout the COVID crisis; some of that has been because of our diverse customer base, as not everyone stopped work. The French very quickly enabled all logistics staff to go to work – providing them with the documentation to travel – so the supply chain there didn’t really slow down. In addition, we have a technical forum called

EURAS, a subscription service for white and brown goods repair companies for their technicians. Obviously during COVID people were watching their bills and cutting back on luxuries (on things like subscription services), so we extended peoples’ memberships without cost to try and help them along. We also offered extended credit terms to try and help them through. MP: We experienced some growth during

this time. We knew that whatever product was not repaired before the crisis, it would need to be done during or after it. The UK has always been one of the biggest

spare parts markets in Europe, but for us it was the smallest business we had in the early days. It was a franchisee who was managing the UK for us in the beginning, but then we moved the business to a subsidiary and started pretty much from scratch. But now, I’m very happy that we have Nick in place – he knows the market very well. I learned from my father [Javier Pastor – one

of the Founders of ASWO] that you can’t have a ‘copy and paste’ format, in that French people work differently to English people, compared to German people and so on. We’ve always respected the local rules and local principles, and although we now have a very powerful hub in Paris to support the UK, it’s important that the UK team adjusts it to their use.

Q: What are your plans for the future? NV: ASWO is a very organised company – decision-making is always for the long term. From a local point of view, we will continue to recruit more people and build the team at our Coventry offices. The main priority today is to continue to

raise awareness of ASWO and its capabilities in the UK market. We’re still relatively unknown, which is a great opportunity for us, but it’s a priority to establish more local partnerships with retailers and manufacturers. If a customer has a problem or need and

ASWO can help them resolve it, we become a valuable partner and, over time, we both grow profitably together with them.

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