Hollister, the US developer and producer of medical care products launched its European distribution center in Etten-Leur in 2008. It currently employs 45 staff and has a five year growth plan that includes expansion of the logistics department, employment of an additional 15 personnel and potential concentration of the company’s labeling process in Brabant.
Hollister is world-renowned in the field of medical products for ostomy care, continence care and wound treatment. Their mission is to help medical professionals provide better products and services, improving patient quality of life.
The company started developing and manufacturing innovative medical products in 1948 and now services more than ninety countries worldwide. Medical products are manufactured in Ireland, Denmark and US and distributed by a worldwide network of offices and distribution centers. Hollister’s activities place great demands on logistical operations.
Hollister started formulating new logistics plans in 2005, at which time the company was managing European distribution from centers in Germany and the UK. When the German center could no longer meet demand and fire destroyed the UK distribution center, plans were fast-tracked and the company started looking for a new location.
Many potential sites in the Netherlands, Belgium and northwest France were put under the microscope. Hollister “quickly discovered that Brabant is a logistical dream. The location between the major ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp is ideal. We have two international airports within close proximity, in Schiphol and Brussels, and we are relatively close to both England and Germany, where our main clients are established.”
Labor costs, work ethics, workforce flexibility and building costs strengthened Brabant’s position. For an international company like Hollister, communication in English is very important. The high degree of proficient English spoken in the Netherlands and Brabant was a key factors ensuring that “the locations in other countries disappeared from Hollister’s radar.”
The new site in Etten-Leur will supply Hollister’s customers throughout Europe. The company has invested approximately € 10 million in the new distribution center, but predicts that concentrating distribution on one center will produce long-term cost savings. Immediate advantages have already been seen as the 11,000 m² in Etten-Leur costs the same amount as the 6000 m² that the company had in Munich and has been constructed to the latest standards, optimizing fire and theft protection.
The support and services that Hollister received from regional development associations, the government and other service providers have contributed to the successful opening of their new European distribution center.
The role played by the BOM was invaluable, as Hugh Berry, Hollister’s Logistics Services Manager for Europe explains: “You would not believe the amount of knowledge that BOM has, and the networks that they have access to. BOM pointed us towards a number of engineers, of which we eventually chose Groenewout. They supervised the entire organization of the construction. The municipal government was also extremely cooperative regarding the land transaction and the permits. They all did an excellent job.”