E/D/E Annual Report 2022

Dependable, effective agile - Digital power taking our alliance into the future

contract suppliers

Dear ladies and Gentlemen,
Partners and Friends of E/D/E,

the title “Dependable, effective, agile – digital power taking our alliance into the future” aptly describes the E/D/E Annual Report 2022 that you have at hand.

This is because, with the qualities of reliability, high performance and agility, we have faced a challenging year in our core business. A year in which we were confronted with questions and situations that we could not have imagined before. Parallel crisis factors – some overlapping, including those resulting from the Ukraine war – left us facing unstable supply chains, partly limited availability of goods and an overall very different market situation in Europe.

As an association, we were able to react agilely and find answers to these very differ-ent questions – for our partners in Germany, as well as for our members and coop-eration partners in the other European countries. This has enabled us to ensure the reliable and continuous availability of goods, and to deliver a successful outcome in all areas of business. As a result, and due to an overall high level of demand, we were able to achieve significant growth in trading volumes in the E/D/E network, which significantly exceeded our expectations.

The basis for success in 2022 was once again the interplay of robust goods business, growth in international business and the key driver EtRiS BAnK – with its highly dynamic development within buying association business and in factoring. looking at the core business of goods, we see strongly fluctuating volumes and price effects that were characteristic for the year 2022 and, in total, determined the overall develop-ment of trading volume. in June, market momentum also flattened across the board in what was a difficult environment. During the year, costs increased significantly as a result of general cost trends, rising expenses in day-to-day business and the genera-tion of growth, as well as risk provisioning. As a result, the company’s results did not keep pace with the volume.

Aside from our core business, we were able to make significant progress in the area of digitalisation. in the E/D/E Group, we have taken a decisive step towards the future with innovative solutions such as the targeted use of artificial intelligence. the smart use of technology and the transfer of innovative approaches to services for our core business will increasingly make the difference in tomorrow’s market. Digitalisation is a central aspect of our strategy and organisational development process EvOlUti On, which has been setting the pace for change in E/D/E for many years. in doing so, we have introduced the central importance of an end-to-end perspective, thus creating greater flexibility within a digital system along with the prerequisite to accompany our members in their digitalisation projects. For example, with the further development of the eDc data management, whose practical benefits are already being appreciated by many of our partners, and not only for online sales.

In 2022, we established another key vision for the future by anchoring the topic of sustainability in our organisation. this is linked to the goal of taking a holistic view of sustainability, bundling and coordinating topics and working on them in a coordinated manner with a common understanding of their importance. The basis for all our sustainability activities is, without fail, our shared sense of self-image that any buying association business within the cooperating SME sector is characterised by a natural, system-immanent degree of sustainability. Sustainability is closely linked to SME values such as continuity over the generations, along with a keen sense of local-level com-mitment in a social and community environment. The long-term sense of orientation implies a sparing use of resources. A central infrastructure like the one E/D/E offers its members, creates efficient economies of scale and organisation for the individual. The E/D/E generates synergies in the entire process chain and bundles resources. As a result, the buying association is set to reduce its ecological footprint immanently.

Just like last year at this time, we once again find ourselves facing the question of how the months ahead will develop. We are encouraged by the fact that the forecasts for the German economy have recently turned more positive again – economic growth is now even expected for 2023. We experienced the past winter without any restric-tions in terms of energy supply. nevertheless, we are observing with caution as to what extent the energy crisis will put further pressure on the cooperating SMEs. We will also be keeping a close eye on the issues of goods availability and supply chain bottlenecks again this year, and will control them wisely.

In every task that lies ahead, we will act consistently with a sense of proportion, always taking into account the current macroeconomic situation. This also applies to the investments we will make in 2023. The core services and thus the competitive-ness of the medium-sized industrial B2B trade are the focus for the current financial year. Specifically, this involves the further strengthening of logistics and investing in digitalisation projects, as well as optimising the E/D/E organisation. Once again, one of the key topics will be the further development of data management. We also want to continuously advance our service portfolio and continue to expand our business in Europe.

With all these investments and decisions for the future, we are guided by our most important mission: to be a reliable and high-performing partner for our members, cooperation partners and suppliers, and to create the conditions for qualitative and sustainable growth as a community that characterises the spirit of our buying asso-ciation. i would like to thank our partners and employees who made it possible to complete the previous financial year so successfully, with the confidence that we will continue to exploit new opportunities within our association in 2023 under condi-tions that remain uncertain.

Dr. Andreas Trautwein
chairman of the E/D/E Management Board

The Einkaufsbüro Deutscher Eisenhändler

We are the Einkaufsbüro Deutscher Eisenhändler (E/D/E) – the Euro-pean service and systems provider for the industrial B2B sector. We have approximately 1,200 affiliated members, primarily specialist wholesalers supplying commercial customers in the craft sector and industry, as well as local authorities. these members deal mainly in tools and machines, industrial supply, fittings and building compo-nents, as well as products for personal protective equipment (PPE) and the technical trade, building services, and in steel.

As a high-performance system headquarters, we provide compre-hensive support to help our members strengthen their competitive position by means of centralised purchasing, logistics, marketing, digital and banking services. We consistently focus on our mem-bers and invest in supporting the performance and future-readiness of medium-sized industrial B2B companies. We do this by ensuring that performance in daily operations is strengthened and core busi-ness is enhanced. Guided by the requirements of the market, we are continuously expanding our services as an organiser and operator of networks for market-driven supply systems for the craft sector and industrial needs.

When Ferdinand trautwein founded the Einkaufsbüro Deutscher Eisenhändler in 1931, it was with the conviction that every individual can benefit from being part of a strong community. He was proven right – and the strength of his idea persists to this day. E/D/E has always been the link between manufacturers and specialist dealers in the field of industrial B2B.

We have a presence in 30 countries all over Europe, and we employ more than 1,100 people.

Shaping a sustainable future together

As dynamic as the market conditions have been in recent years, the E/D/E partner network has been resilient and agile. The E/D/E Group itself is constantly developing. The course for this has been set by the strategy and organisational development process EVOLUTION. A key component to this from the outset was the goal of constantly expanding the E/D/E association’s performance and sustainability – for the benefit of members, suppliers and cooperation partners.

In 2022, we continued EVOLUTION under the motto “Achieving growth and profitability with greater ease in shoulder-to-shoulder cooperation”, and were able to successfully further develop the organisation. Specifically, we have made great strides in shaping the hybrid E/D/E working world. With this, we are creating the space for greater flexibility and efficiency in cooperation, both internally and with our partners. We have improved tools, routines and competencies on the way to being able to handle projects and daily business with more ease.

Furthermore, we have started a process to develop a common understanding of sustainability, and have created the necessary organisational structures for this. Together with members, suppliers and cooperation partners, we want to further strengthen the idea of sustainability within the buying association in 2023, and anchor this important topic in our joint daily activities.

We know that there are still important steps ahead of us to secure the future. The framework for this is provided by EVOLUTION as a learning process, which is subject to continuous monitoring and evaluation, in order to critically reflect on the previous solution approaches from a meta-perspective and, if necessary, to find and establish new patterns of change. In this way, we ensure that we achieve sustainable positive effects in our daily work. At the same time, we recognise the need for improvements in the ongoing change process very quickly, and can implement the necessary adjustments.

Resilience and adaptability are thus essential keys to our success. Previous years have taught us one thing: as an association, we are able to deal with the unexpected, as well as crisis situations as they emerge. This ability allows us to look to the future with confidence.

In 2023, we are guided by the motto “Growing sustainably together and driving digitalisation”. We will continue to modernise the digital infrastructure in the E/D/E network at every opportunity, in order to be able to achieve even more noticeable improvements. Our claim is to differentiate ourselves from the competition with innovations. We will also continue to optimise, automate and digitalise our core business processes and further develop our service portfolio in a market- and future-oriented manner.

In this spirit, EVOLUTION will continue to be our driving force in the years to come, so that we align our decisions and our actions consistently, in a coordinated and, at the same time, adaptable manner with our vision of the future.