When Decathlon launched its activities in Romania back in 2005, they started out with very few employees. Today, the Romania branch delivers essential sporting products throughout the entire country as well as Greece and Bulgaria, has 28 Romanian stores, and is looking to expand its delivery services to the Ukraine and Serbia in the future.
What’s more, it is home to IT-support and call-centre services for Decathlon offices in 23 different countries – making for a 1,400-peoplestrong workforce.
An ambitious strategy with a distribution centre to support it
Talk about impressive growth and an ambitious business strategy, right? When the company identified the need to build a local distribution facility near Bucharest to further support its logistics activities in 2015, they looked to WDP for the necessary planning and execution expertise.
Decathlon Romania’s CEO Jean-François Mace explains: “Once the decision to open a Romanian distribution centre to service the region was validated by HQ, we contacted WDP as a possible partner. Their committed local experts, short communication lines, impressive track record and proactive approach really made the difference.”
Could you tell us more about how WDP made the difference in your opinion?
“The WDP teams constructed a fully built-to-suit warehouse for us, which we opened in October 2017. The whole project, from contract to delivery, went really smoothly. In Romania, nothing ever goes really fast. You have to take into account the permits, the bureaucracy, delays to the schedule… But WDP worked really fast and delivered efficiently.”
“Another aspect that was truly remarkable was the quality delivered. Working fast is one thing, but delivering top-notch quality that’s fit for long-term use is something else. Combining speed and durability is a remarkable feat when you’re in this business.”
If I'm not mistaken, the speed of delivery was something you were specifically happy with?
“Before working in Romania, I was active in China. There was something we called Shenzhen speed, when a project would be delivered within an incredibly short timeframe. I didn’t think it would be possible outside China, but even I was impressed with the project timeline here.” (laughs)
Looking to the future, does Decathlon have any expansion plans in Romania?
“We are currently consolidating our operations in the logistics facility. With stores opening around the country, three Ukrainian stores in the pipeline and online activities with home delivery skyrocketing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we feel that we need to expand and optimize our current distribution centre. Today, we’re already expanding our facility with 10,000 m² of extra floor space. With the extension, we will have 40000 m² distribution centre.
And what part could WDP play in that?
“Needless to say, they remain our go-to partner for both the current and future expansion of the warehouse complex near Bucharest. WDP proved to be a trustworthy and committed partner throughout the entire process, fully supporting our ambitious strategies and requirements.”