Shimano Bootcamp 2017

Founded in 1921 by Shozaburo Shimano, Shimano Inc. is a name that has long been associated with the cycling world, responsible for a whopping 50% of the global bicycle component market. Since the early 1970s, when the company took its first steps into the world of fishing and fishing tackle, Shimano has also become a household name in the world of angling. Its vast range of rods, reels, line, lures, and other various fishing accessories clothing and electronics now makes up nearly 25% of the business.

Here in the UK, Shimano is probably best known for its range of high performance reels. These are manufactured by drawing on years of experience in the cycling world to create and build the lightest and smoothest reels possible with the best components available. The most well-known of these reels would probably be the ’Baitrunner’, a term trademarked by Shimano in the 80s and a reel that most anglers have owned at some point in our fishing careers. (I remember saving every penny of my pocket money as a kid to save up and purchase one of the old 5010s!)

As time and technologies have moved on, so has reel production and some of the best reels that money can buy are now available from the Shimano stable; models like the Power Aero XTB and XSB, the Ultegra XTD, as well as the excellent and super-lightweight Ci4 ranges.

As well as reels, Shimano is also famous for a wide range of other brands, with the ‘Tribal’ label (a range of carp fishing tackle released in the early ‘00s) being just one.

Just over a week ago, Team AD was kindly invited to visit one of the Shimano warehouse/distribution centres in Nunspeet, Holland, to learn a little more about how the company ticks and what goes into the day-to-day running of such a large fishing tackle manufacturer.

On arrival, it was difficult not to be impressed by the size of the building, all 13.000 sq ft of it! This was also just one of the many premises they have in and around Europe. With more sites in the UK, in France, another in Holland, and plans afoot to open even more – it’s a seriously impressive operation!

While there, we were treated to two different presentations. One came from Shimano’s marketing manager Gerard Bakkenes, who offered further insight into their business, and another was delivered by marketing officer Sammie Perkins, who went into greater detail about Shimano’s history as well giving us as a run-through of some of the exciting new products they will be launching soon.

From both presentations it was clear to see Shimano’s vision and everyone within the company genuinely believed in what they do and in their mission statement, which was simple:

Closer to Nature, Closer to People.

People know the joy of contacting their hearts to the breathing of nature.
People know the joy of meeting someone to communicate with each other.
That's simply because all people have nature in themselves.
And tools are largely connected with the joy of people.

Once the presentation was complete, it was time for a tour around the warehouse, which I must say was simply staggering.

Just in the Nunspeet facility alone, there are over 31,000 sku’s, with over 18,000+ angling products and 13,000+ cycling products. Each day over 7,500 order lines are picked and with an average of 4.3 items per order that’s around 32,000 items per day! One particular thing which was very impressive was the automated machines in the warehouse, particularly the PTS (Picking Tray System) which picked a whopping 73% of all the items shipped each day! Others included their very own packaging machines, which ensured all the goods shipped are done so in their very own custom box. These things were very impressive and on reflection probably essential with such a large scale operation!

Once the tour was complete, it was time to relax a little with a bite to eat and a few drinks, as well as more fishing talk. It was very interesting to speak with Onno Siegersma, Shimano’s European sales manager, to learn about the different markets within Europe. It was nice to hear how each country differed!

The following day, we didn’t just talk about fishing – we also got to experience some! Now, for anyone who doesn’t know, Holland is known as the land of water and with 26% of the country below sea level it’s no wonder the country is so keen on angling, especially predator and lure fishing, which was going to be our tactic for the day.

To give us the best chance of catching some of the large, hard-fighting predators that inhabit the Dutch waterways, Shimano had kindly arranged for their pro staff to accompany us on their own boats for the day, to help guide us and to teach us exactly how to fish effectively in these waters. As soon as we left the moorings and the 90hp engines were opened up, it soon became apparent that this was seriously different to what we were used to in the UK!

To cut a long story short, everyone had a fantastic time and lots of fish were caught, with nice pike, perch, zander and even asp gracing every boat. It was a superb end to a brilliant couple of days. I’d just like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you, on behalf of everyone at AD, to everyone at Shimano for their fantastic hospitality.

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