The successful history of the medium-sized family-run company began with a vision. After the global economic crisis of the 1930s, Ferdinand Trautwein dared to make a new start on his own initiative. On 11th November 1931, he founded E/D/E with the conviction that collective purchasing could be professionalised in a beneficial manner. He was proved right.
Within a year, the number of E/D/E members grew to 115 hardware stores. By its 25th year anniversary, the company already employed 130 employees. With the purchase of the 30,000-m² plot of land in Wuppertal-Langerfeld, a new era began for E/D/E. Here, at today's headquarters, new warehouse and administrative buildings were built, which were put into operation in January 1964. In 1967, the second generation entered the family-run business by means of Dr. Eugen Trautwein, Ferdinand Trautwein’s son.
Towards the end of the 1960s, the E/D/E organisation focused on intensive expansion. Major investments followed this, whose success was visible from the increasing turnover development and growing number of members. The company also grew in terms of space: By the 50th year anniversary, the company had a warehouse of 60,000 m². Its modern high rack storage area with associated conveyor was a pioneering technical facility back then. Further milestones in logistics were to follow. In 1998, at the same time as the new administrative building was being constructed, the E/D/E began to build the electronic Logistics Centre (eLC), which made 24-hour delivery of goods possible.
In 2009, with the completion and commissioning of its new Logistics Centre, the E/D/E took a fundamental step towards further strengthening its activities. With almost €40 million, this was the largest investment in the history of the company. With the new Logistics Centre, procedures are standardised and accelerated, while process security is increased. For the members, this means a further improvement in delivery capacity and a higher quality of delivery. The Logistics Centre, which has been in operation since September, is an ultra-modern facility offering a first-class service to member companies and contract suppliers.
Today, the E/D/E is Europe's largest purchasing and marketing association with 956 affiliated medium-sized trading companies in the sector of industrial B2B and about 233 other retail traders. These companies deal in tools, machinery and operating equipment, structural fixtures and structural elements, sanitation and heating, steel and fastening systems, safety and industrial technology together with industrial safety products. The majority of these member companies deliver mainly to consumers from industry, trade and local authorities. In the 2019 business year, the E/D/E group with its over 1000 employees generated a total trade volume of €6.3 billion.
Dr. Andreas Trautwein, a member of the management board since 2006 and chairperson of the management board since January 1st 2014, represents the third generation of the family-run business. Dr. Christoph Grote is also member of the management board, as well as Peter Jüngst, Joachim Hiemeyer, Thomas Henkel and Bettina Jakobi. The chairperson of the advisory council is Hans-Jürgen Adorf, who has been part of the company for almost 40 years. Dr. Eugen Trautwein, who managed the company for about 35 years, is now in charge of the E/D/E Foundation.