In 2021 Raben Group is celebrating its 90th anniversary. 90 years of experience, innovation, and continuous development. And the company will certainly not stop at that.
“We have achieved a lot over these 90 years through partnership and transparent cooperation with our customers, which makes us proud and at the same time ready to face new challenges, such as climate change. We want next generations to have access to the same resources we are using now. That is why, on the occasion of our anniversary, we want to take you on the extraordinary ‘Eco2way’ tour of Europe, where our employees will show you the places suffering from the effects of climate change. We hope that our customers will help us choose a place to support together once the tour is complete. So that we can all enjoy clean climate for the next 90 years...” - says Ewald Raben, CEO Raben Group
90 years on the way with ecology
Corporate social responsibility is an inherent part of the DNA of the family company based on a system of values. The company approaches the concept of CSR in a comprehensive manner, integrating socially responsible activities with the business strategy of the organization. Ecology is of great importance for Raben. Every year it invests in more efficient and environmentally friendly transport and storage solutions and plants thousands of trees which neutralise tonnes of CO2.
That is why the company decided to celebrate its 90th anniversary in a rather unusual way, by inviting customers and Internet users on an eco2way tour of Europe. This extraordinary journey starts on April 1 and will it last until the end of August 2021. Company employees and eco-enthusiasts will play the role of tour guides who will present and tell the story of twenty places which are at risk due to climate change. You can follow the entire tour at www.raben90years.com and on the company social media in all 13 markets where Raben has its depots. However, the celebration does not end there! To celebrate its 90th anniversary, the Group wants to make a gift to all of us and to future generations and in September it will launch an online voting platform for three offset initiatives. The one which gets the most votes will receive a grant from Raben Group. Voting will continue until the end of November, and the results and the winning project will be announced in December!
“We want to set trends in the market in the area of sustainability not just by having green trucks and warehouses or planting trees, but by all the processes we use. We are trying to make them as environmentally friendly as possible. This is our responsibility. And because our relationship with our customers is based on partnership, I am confident they too will join us in this sustainable way of doing business.” – explains Ewald Raben
Raben Group currently has over 150 branches in 13 European countries, it offers approximately 1,200,000 m2 of warehouse capacity, employs 10,000 employees and each day dispatches over 8,500 trucks on the roads of Europe. However, it all started really inconspicuously from a small Dutch family business. Today, the values characteristic of family-owned organizations are still important to the company, which positively affects employee engagement and relations with customers.
Birth of the global brand
In 1931, in the small town of Meddo-Winterswijk in the Netherlands, Jan W. Raben, grandfather of the current CEO, started to transport products of the local farmers to the market. He started the company which is a global brand today. The next milestone in the history of Raben Group was when the founder's son, Theo Raben, took over the helm of the company in 1960, and he developed e.g. the transport of textiles to and from Poland. But the first step abroad was taken by the grandson, Ewald. He knew the company from the inside out; he washed trucks on Saturdays already at the age of ten and he worked as a truck driver when he was in college. After the transformation of 1989, he spotted the opportunity for development on the Polish market, and he went there with the aim of setting up a Raben branch. It was then when he bought a map of Poland and marked twelve locations which were to become branches in different parts of the country.
The last 30 years have been a history of continuous development of the company and dynamic expansion into foreign markets, and one of the secrets of the success is the skilful combination of the best of a family business with models taken from corporate management.
“A family-owned company has an advantage over other businesses because it treats customers and employees as family members. We offer logistics ‘with a human face’. Partnership and loyalty fit this style of cooperation. We have many long-term customers. Their business has been changing over the years and we adapt to them. We are partners and together we respond to the challenges which emerge. We also grow together. This constant development is inscribed in the DNA of our company. We do not just deliver a service, but a promise, and this promise must be delivered - always on time, with care for details and of the highest quality. Therefore, we have been looking for innovative solutions for many years, always putting our customers first. In this way, we invest in the future, in sustainable solutions and projects that benefit in the long term.” – says Ewald Raben, CEO Raben Group. – “We still have more than one road ahead of us, but already today I am convinced that together we can get anywhere we want.”
Expansion into Europe
Raben Group was developing and it accompanied its customers on their road to business success. In 2002, Fresh Logistics Polska appeared on the market, which specializes in servicing fresh products which require controlled temperature from 0 to +2 (UltraFresh) and from +2 to +6°C in the whole logistics chain.
The period from 2003 to 2010 brought about expansion to new markets. In 2003 the first branch was opened in Ukraine and a year later the operations of Raben Group in Europe covered Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In 2008, the company entered the Czech and Slovak markets and after two years it was also present in Hungary. 2016 was the beginning of business in Romania. In 2017, the Group acquired a 20% stake in the Italian company SITTAM and since 2020 it has been the sole owner of Raben SITTAM. In 2019, Bulgaria joined the Raben family, where the company opened its first branch in Sofia.
The German market is very important for Raben Group. The company is building up its position there organically and through acquisitions. In 2005 Birkart Systemverkehre was taken over. In 2011, the network of German terminals was expanded through the purchase of Wincanton. In the following years, more companies joined. Currently Raben has its own independent transport network in Germany with 34 branches.
Raben Go East
The Group portfolio is complemented by Raben East which since in 2017 has been offering international road transport services, including regular groupage connections with Eastern countries, as well as customs agency services and advisory in organizing transport to Eastern markets. The company services the countries like: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Road to success
As one of the fastest growing European companies in the Logistics industry, Raben Group takes full advantage of the market opportunities which emerged with the opening of European markets and the free flow of goods. It offers comprehensive services: contract logistics, road network (domestic, international and eastbound), transport of fresh products (under the Fresh Logistics brand), FTL & intermodal transport, sea and air freight. The main industries served by the company in 2020 were food (30%), consumer technologies (21%), automotive (17%), retail (12%), chemicals (11%), non-food FMCG (9%). Road transport, which is responsible for 66% of the Group's turnover, offers a great opportunity for development, but it also poses a challenge Raben reacts to every day by adapting its network of groupage connections adequately to the expectations of customers from all over Europe.
The activities aimed at creating a network of international connections perfectly fit into the mission and vision of the company, and since trucks with the Raben logo can be seen on many transport routes, there is no doubt that every day the Group strives to be “one axle” ahead of its competitors.
Raben Group has been focusing on digitalization on many levels, from physical processes to robotization of office processes using RPA (Robotic Process Automation). In the area of automation, it is implementing advanced IT solutions such as platforms which automatically provide information to customers and platforms which present ETA (estimated time of arrival). In the area of warehouse automation and robotics, implementation processes include devices measuring shipments, autonomous or semi-automated forklifts as well as “cobotic” arms, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and many other solutions increasing the efficiency of warehousing and transportation processes. In the area of RPA, implementations of software robots supporting or replacing users' work in particular applications (WMS/TMS/FK) or at the interface of various IT systems need to be emphasised.
In the interest of safety of deliveries during the pandemic and in order to keep the recommended distance between persons participating in the delivery, Raben Group introduced a new service for groupage shipments called PCD (Picture Confirming Delivery). It consists in touch-free confirmation of delivery using a photo.
Time for celebration of better tomorrow
The year 2021 will undoubtedly be an interesting milestone in the history of Raben Group. It is not only another year of development of logistics and new technologies, but above all, a time to think about the future. If the overriding goal is to provide the future generations with the same natural resources as are available now, it is the best foundation for the common efforts to have better, green Europe. For Raben Group the green future starts today!
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