Before the Coronavirus shut down our competition I played three times a week water polo with a team of friends, and at a pretty high level too. It’s where having fun together and fanaticism go hand in hand. I try to play as many matches as possible, but unfortunately I can’t always take part. “What country were you in again last week, Herco?” is an often heard jibe from one of the other team members after I missed yet another game or training session. In January they can definitely count me out, because of the New Year’s receptions every weekend in one of the countries where we operate. As commercial manager Feed Logistics, I spend a lot of time travelling abroad, and it’s really one of the great benefits of my job. I visit every country where we have branches: Belgium, Germany, Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands. As well as having to deal with different languages and cultures, I find it really interesting switching between the different ways in which people look at logistics.
Wherever I go in Europe, price is often the decisive factor for the customer. However, prices given by different carriers cannot always be directly compared. For example, if a certain competitor takes 20 tonnes of animal feed at a time while we take 24 tonnes, and we unload 45 minutes faster, it can already result in a significant difference in price. When abroad, I often notice that our competitors’ equipment isn’t the most modern or reliable. Unexpected downtime of transportation equipment results in an increase in costs. Thanks to our well-maintained, recent and modern equipment, we can offer our customers more certainty.
We also write reports (data) for our customers which we then review together, to make our cooperation even more efficient. I carry out this task with the help of my team of account managers and the Feed Support department. We also search the best transport solution for our customers. For example, we can provide customers with a truck combination in their corporate identity colours, and a driver. These then travel back and forth between a customer’s site and the customer’s delivery addresses. Another service we offer is to take over certain movements or lanes that are too long a drive from the factory for our customer, or provide extra capacity in busy periods. In these cases, we use our own Nijhof-Wassink trucks, and try to combine the logistics movements with those of our other customers. In this way, we build a network of customers and destinations, which leads to a reduction in empty miles travelled and costs.
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