Being authentic requires being able to withstand a second glance. And at first glance this is also very clear to Orthomol: the characteristic blue packaging of the company’s products in the pharmacy should be familiar to many. Founded in 1991, the company has dedicated itself wholeheartedly to the health and well-being of its customers with its diverse combinations of micronutrients.
And behind the scenes? The first impression continues seamlessly. “We produce health-promoting products, so our employees quite naturally expect that the topic is a key priority internally for us too”, stresses Dr. Michael Schmidt, Managing Director at the family-owned company from Langenfeld in Germany. In practice, for example, this means several fitness studios, a wide range of sports courses, innovative health promotions, free fruit at the workplace .... and for about five years now also a company bicycle leasing scheme.
A good idea – and the right partner
“When our managing director, Nils Glagau, broached the topic at the works assembly back in 2017, company bikes or e-bikes were still far from being as popular as they are today”, recalls Christof Adler, Head of Purchasing at Orthomol. “An incredible lot has happened since then however – both in terms of the offer and how the process is handled”, adds Adler. As far as the latter success element is concerned, Orthomol is now working with “Lease a Bike”, a Bike Mobility Services GmbH¹⁾ brand, which in turn cooperates with Volkswagen Financial Services AG. “We had a different partner on board initially, but it must be stated clearly that the process is a lot less complicated with 'Lease a Bike', among other reasons because it is a completely paperless concept”, continues Adler. It also helped that we first got together around the table with the “Lease a Bike” expert team and the internal stakeholders, established the underlying conditions and defined the processes clearly. “That’s why everything runs so smoothly today”, says Christof Adler happily.
The ordering process for my new bike was totally uncomplicated. There is a bicycle dealer near us who works with 'Lease a Bike'. I went there, picked my favourite bike and was able to collect it a couple of days later. The whole process was really easy.
Just how smooth becomes apparent at the latest when Orthomol employees are asked about the topic. Then you hear “It was all super easy”, “Hardly had anything to do” – and virtually in unison “I could never imagine being without it again”. Dr. Michael Schmidt follows up smilingly “Anything else would surprise me”. “The employees register on the intranet, get an activation code via email from the HR department, take it to the store of their choice and select their preferred bike or e-bike, usually being able to take it away with them straight away, and that’s it”, he says as he describes the process, which – aside from going to the dealer – is fully digitalised. A total of 5,000 dealers are currently signed up to “Lease a Bike” throughout Germany. “In the immediate vicinity of Langenfeld alone there are some 80 at present. If a dealer is not registered with us, they can join our network comparatively easily”, explains Norbert von den Bruck from “Lease a Bike”.
A second bike is also an option
The “most arduous” aspect of leasing a company bike for Orthomol employees is simply choosing the right one, since the company gives them maximum flexibility in this respect. Whether city or trekking bike, mountain bike or retro bike – as long as the price of the bicycle or e-bike is between 750 and 7,500 euros, the company places no limits on individual preferences. In addition, Orthomol employees can get a second bike on request, for example for a partner or other family member. “Many of our employees start off with one bike and are so impressed that they order another one immediately after”, reports Christof Adler. A company bike is always leased for a period of three years, during which time it can naturally be used as desired for private purposes; employees pay tax on the non-cash benefit at a rate of only 0.25 per cent. After the 36 months have elapsed, they can buy the bike inexpensively if desired or simply get a new one. Clever: in addition to the prescribed UVV inspection, a wear budget of 150 euros is included as well as anti-theft insurance. In turn, the mobility model is effectively cost neutral for Orthomol because the full lease payment is taken from gross salary.
Sustainable mobility, made easy
A real win-win situation therefore? “I would even go as far as to say a win-win-win situation”, reiterates Dr. Michael Schmidt. “In addition to the health benefits, the scheme offers our staff much greater flexibility. Take the colleagues from production, for example. Those who start at half past five in the morning or finish at 11 o’clock in the evening are not best served by public transport. In contrast, the bicycle is always on hand – and if it’s an e-bike, even longer commuting distances are not a problem.” The second “win” is for the company, simply because of the increased satisfaction as well as positive external impact. That leaves the third. Dr. Michael Schmidt: “The third winner is definitely the environment. The company bike is becoming a real alternative to the car for more and more of our people on the daily work commute.”
Incidentally, many car drivers at Orthomol are also increasingly choosing the electric option. “We have many employees working in the field who cover distances of 30,000 kilometres and more annually and who are now using hybrid or even all-electric alternatives. The Volkswagen and Audi models are charged either at home using wall boxes financed by us or here on the premises using our internally generated solar power”, explains Dr. Michael Schmidt – and adds: “It’s important to remain mobile.”
Learn more in the following film:
News on the topic
¹⁾Bike Mobility Services GmbH, Siemensstraße 1–3, 49661 Cloppenburg
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