Getting our top-quality detailing products out of the UK factory an into your hands of our customers as quickly as possible has always been a huge priority here at Auto Finesse. After all, who wants to be sitting around waiting for their order, when they could be out there detailing their car, right? It's a concept we understand all-too-well.
You see, having started as a journey as a mobile professional detailing outfit way back in 1999, even before we had our very own range of products, we knew that having the right gear available - and most importantly to hand - would be the key to success. That's why we don't try and work on our schedule - we like to work around yours, just to make sure you have what you need, as and when you need it. It's the reason why we've always endeavoured to offer fast and free shipping the whole of the UK, and to get our orders out to the rest of the world as quickly as possible by any means necessary. We load up and ship out lorry after lorry every single day from our home base here in Britain.
The thing is though, it hasn't been solely about the UK market for quite some time now. Over the past few years we've built up a network of international distributors as far afield as Asia, the USA, Africa and Australia offering lightning-quick shipping times and a full range of our products. But, that said, a huge proportion of our biggest AF supporters over the last decade or so have been the detailing enthusiasts and trade professionals just next door, across the water, in Europe. It's a huge territory we that we've traditionally serviced directly from here in the UK. That is until now.
The story is, due to all sorts of shipping and customs restrictions over the past couple of years, fulfilling our fast-shipping concept, while not impossible just yet, has become more difficult than ever. And the truth is that we just can't have our quick "pick and ship' ethos under threat from bureaucratic red tape, can we? So, as you can imagine in this post Brexit landscape, it's only polite that we return the favour by offering the best support possible to service the needs of our European customers. And all this can mean only one thing - building a brand-new distribution centre in the middle of the continent and stocking it with the full range of AF products, ready to be shipped at a moment's notice.
The actual setup isn't hugely different to our tried-and-tested UK operation, of course. It may be a little smaller in terms of floor space, but all the key elements are there. We have a warehouse for mountains upon mountains of stock. Specific picking and postage areas, and even an office for our new European team to call home. All key cogs in the larger AF machine to make the order-to-doorstep process as smooth and seamless as possible. In fact, we'll soon have a whole new dedicated European website up and running specifically for this site, too.
But, here's the big question, where is the best place to invest in our new depot? What's the ideal mainland Europe location for transport links to every other country, from as far south as Portugal, to Norway in the north and Russia in the east? While still being able to receive HGVs almost daily from the factory here in the UK. After something of an epic search, the answer now seems obvious, and we soon landed on the town of Münk, in Germany.
Now, of course it maybe some sort of (ahem) magical coincidence that the Nordschleife is just a stone's throw from the new site. And no prizes for guessing that a few of our hard-hitting track projects will be making a semi-permanent visit for plenty of Nürburgring antics at some point in the future. But, what's most important for us here is the setup and, as always, we had plenty of our top team on hand to muck in and get it all together. We've moved and set up various other locations a few times in the past decade and, once again, we'd be starting from scratch and have to complete everything from building each specific area, to installing the state-of-the art computer-controlled stock system that gets those essential products out of the door as effortlessly as possible.
The first step was the perhaps the most simple though, getting the team out there to organise the bare building before our first round of wagons turned up from the UK…
Only once fully set up in the huge space, a task in itself we think you'll agree, could we could finally get down to the business of unloading the trailers and getting ourselves organised. It almost goes without saying that, when you're dealing with thousands of bottle products and countless other accessories, extreme organisation is a little on the vital side. Luckily, we've got all this down to a fine art nowadays…
So, after a good few days of graft for the AF family, that's our new European Distribution Centre up, running and ready to start shipping around the continent faster than ever before. We even had a little time to make friends with the local authorities, which is always a bonus, we're sure.
Keep an eye on the News Section of Our Blog to keep up with what else is happening in the world of Team AF.