KNV, which was founded in 1829 ” when Goethe was still alive ” constantly has about 510,000 items in stock available for delivery, and it is the leading book wholesaler in Germany. As there are normally several copies of individual items, the shelves contain far more than this figure. KNV covers 95 percent of the requirements of a bookseller. 2,000 employees in Stuttgart and Cologne ensure that orders that are placed reach more than 7,000 bookshops in 2,200 places in the German-speaking world overnight. The drivers usually have a key to the business premises and can deliver the items without the need for the bookseller or its employees to be present. Deliveries are made using the vehicle fleet, which consists of 330 trucks and semi-trailers, which together cover more than 60,000 kilometers a day. 90 percent of the orders arrive at the shops before opening times, 95 percent by 10 a.m. at the latest.


The latest conveyor and warehouse technology combined with manual work


The process chain at KNV in Cologne, where 7,400 packets are dispatched every day on average, mainly consists of the following steps:



– Delivering and unpacking the books at the incoming goods department

– Determining the quantities by weighing

– Storing the books on the shelves




– Picking the orders with a standard container for each customer order. The container reaches the relevant shelf via the conveyor belts and the employees place the relevant books in the container until the order has been completed.

– The goods are packed in cartons, if the customer requires this.

– The containers are transported on conveyor belts to the sorting equipment for the delivery runs.

– The conveyor belts place the packages on pallets and they are then loaded on to the trucks.


The driver delivers the books to the local bookseller. For example, the employees unpack, log, transfer, label, package and load pallets, containers, cartons or individual books at many different work stations.

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