25 years of ONLINE Schreibgeräte – and further growth in Bavaria in sight
Imparting new momentum to the monotonous writing utensil industry – with this goal in mind, Alexandra and Thomas Batsch kicked off their successful business venture “ONLINE Schreibgeräte” 25 years ago. Since then, ONLINE Schreibgeräte provides the market with their creative collections in new and trendy designs every year – Quality “Made in Germany” from Neumarkt in Upper Palatinate. On the occasion of their 25th anniversary, the company expands its business operations in Bavaria.
Milestones in the company's history
15th July 1991 - Alexandra and Thomas Batsch found the company ONLINE Schreibgeräte in Neumarkt in Upper Palatinate.
Beginning of 2016 - The newly constructed, state-of-the-art logistics centre of the Bavarian writing utensils manufacturer starts its operations. With this step, the production and logistics processes become even more efficient.
15th July 2016 - ONLINE Schreibgeräte celebrates 25 years of successful business. With an eye to the future development of the company, the managing directors commit to the business location of Bavaria by making strategic decisions with which they pave the way for continued success.
Invest in Bavaria seizes the opportunity to talk to the managing directors Alexandra and Thomas Batsch at their 25th business anniversary. The topics we are interested in are anything but new – effects of digitalisation, reasons for the company's expansion and advantages of the Bavarian location Neumarkt in Upper Palatinate.
Congratulations on 25 years of ONLINE Schreibgeräte – what has changed since the company's foundation?
We started with a rather small team consisting of three people in an office with 60 square metres and a bicycle cellar located in the same building. Today, ONLINE Schreibgeräte employs about 130 people at its facility in Neumarkt/Upper Palatinate. Using state-of-the-art warehouse systems, the company currently holds 4,600 articles. Every year, about 3.2 million writing utensils and a large number of spare parts, and accessories such as ink cartridges, refills and paper articles leave the warehouse to be shipped to 56 countries all over the world.
Early 2016 you inaugurated a new, additional plant in Neumarkt. What was the reason for this expansion in Neumarkt and what has changed since then?
Administrating the increasing capacities and the ever growing variety of products had become more and more difficult and we needed to rent different external warehouses. The new logistics centre enabled us to organise all storage locations under one roof, which provided room for new production purposes in the main building to be even more autonomous. We also gained more office space and three departments could move into the new building.
Currently, digitalisation is a hot topic. With its BAYERN DIGITAL strategy, the State of Bavaria lays the foundation for the modern business of tomorrow. What is ONLINE Schreibgeräte's approach to the trend of digitalisation?
The topic of digitalisation has been a focus of ONLINE for many years. The company's first big step in this direction was taken in 2011 when the new logistics processes – an area where digitalisation is of key importance – were established. This laid the foundation for integrating an automated small parts warehouse and implementing a modern logistics system for our shipping purposes. This was also the gateway to the establishment of the own brand web shop three years ago. Since then, ONLINE benefits from all modern communication tools in the field of content marketing, which would be unthinkable without digitalisation and Big Data. However, traditional distribution channels are still in use. The objective is to combine online and offline strategies in this digital era.
The topic of digitalisation is often linked to production processes. Are there examples that show how digitalisation is changing the available product range?
When it comes to the products offered by ONLINE, we followed the digitalisation trend with our special Stylus Pens and our large variety of modern multi-functional writing utensils that are compatible with smartphones and tablets. One of the product highlights is a pen that comes with an innovative app for learning how to write: Educators helped ONLINE develop a special app that supports children in primary schools in the process of learning how to write on paper or on a tablet.
You have been operating from the Bavarian location Neumarkt for 25 years. Where do you see the biggest advantages of this location?
That is easy to answer: its central location, reliable experts, its proximity to suppliers and the support though local public authorities make Neumarkt the best choice.