Two heads are better than one...

Feb 03, 2014

wnDirect and Citipost have formed a joint venture to develop wnDirect's Global Processing Centres. Following a successful partnership for a number of years both parties have agreed to formalise their relationship and officially signed the JV in December 2013.

The rationale behind the JV is that, together, the organisations will be able to replicate wnDirect's UK success from other destinations enabling online retailers to maximise the growth opportunities international expansion represents. The enviable solution will go to market under the wnDirect brand.

wnDirect was launched in 2011 bringing to market a fresh approach to international logistics for online retailers. Growing exponentially since launch wnDirect boasts an impressive retailer portfolio and has delivered over 8 million parcels from its UK outbound facilities since launch. wnDirect's solutions have received a number of industry accolades not least the UK National Business Awards New Business of the Year 2013 award.

Citipost was launched in 1985 and has 400 people across 10 global sites. The JV creates a powerful partnership combining bespoke software developed by Citipost with the successful distribution network of wnDirect creating a fully-tracked service anywhere in the world.

Both companies are privately owned so have complementary business models and decision making flexibility. Together the organisations represent a significant force to be reckoned; bringing together global infrastructure, unmatched bespoke IT solutions, considerable heritage and innovative thinking. In a world where the phrase 'innovate or die' is becoming even more apparent the JV brings a new pace of change to the retail logistics industry. The combined 'thinking' and courageous approach to growth will enable retailers to realise the significant international growth opportunities in a managed and efficient way thus reducing the risk. Something which can't be underestimated for an industry which has been hit hard by the global recession.

Graeme Buchan, Managing Director at Citipost said:

"This is an incredibly exciting development for Citipost. We have over three decades of heritage in the Distribution Sector. By combining our expertise and infrastructure with wnDirect's dynamic approach we are creating a paradigm shift in the retail industry."

The first region to benefit from the JV was the US. wnDirect's US outbound services were launched at the end of 2013 utilising two processing centres; one at LAX and the second at JFK. A Chicago based facility is soon to be opened.

Discussing the US outbound services Stuart Hill, MD of wnDirect said: "We recognised that there was huge growth opportunity in the US for online retail. There has been significant investment by the larger retail chains in online shopping; the delivery experience is a key element of this success. Similarly the smaller brands have been quick to recognise the opportunities and need a partner who can offer a managed process. Often they don't have the in-house capability or resource to support the development; we can support both ends of the retailer spectrum with ease."

Already handling over 40,000 parcels per week out of these facilities this number is set to rise considerably as wnDirect makes further investment in the teams supporting the US outbound services.

Europe and Asia will be the next regions to receive the wnDirect / Citipost magic touch. Europe represents a significant opportunity for online retailers. Particularly those based in the US as consumers are keen to purchase products from American brands. With a total population of 730 million Europeans are high internet users and also represent some of the wealthiest consumers in the world. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt 'nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain and difficulty'. I can't imagine he was talking about international expansion for online retailers...but he might as well have been as most new regions represent significant challenges; Europe being a case in point.

wnDirect employs a 'learn first and adapt fast' approach. This focused approach paid dividends last week. On January 24th Russian legislative developments mean that all B2C traffic entering the region will now be subject to more stringent ID checks with immediate effect. As a result wnDirect is currently the only carrier who will be able to process and clear Russia customs.

Speaking about the development Stuart Hill, wnDirect MD said: "Before launching our Russia services we conducted significant research and actively sought out a local expert to partner with; the strategy we employ for every region we deliver into. From the outset we were clear that Russia customs could present a significant barrier to retailers wanting to deliver into the region and so set about developing systems which complied with the legislation which was in place but wasn't being actively enforced. So for us January 24th was business as usual. Within an hour we had made the few tweaks necessary to continue to operate. There was no disruption in service and, as it stands, we are the only carrier able to support retailers in this region...considering the opportunity Russia represents for retailers this is quite a competitive advantage for us."

So for those retailers interested in international expansion...the two heads you need are now working as one.

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