How Voergroep Zuid earns money for the farmer

We like to show you what our company actually does, explain our passion, and how we put it into practice every day. We do this together; together with our clients and together with our colleagues. Our clients are the driving force in everything we do, they are at the core of our activities. We want to introduce one of our business relations to you: Voergroep Zuid, producer and supplier of compound feed and feed ingredients in the south of the Netherlands and Belgium.

The right feed , in the right place, at the right time. It sounds so obvious, but at Voergroep Zuid they know how important it is to keep that promise every day. “Good service is fundamental to our business,” says Bas Franken, Supply Chain Manager at Voergroep Zuid. “That means making sure feed is delivered on time and that it has the right quality.”

Future-oriented farming
However, Voergroep Zuid is much more than just a feed supplier. “As a cooperative, we stand among our customers,” says Franken. “You know who your customer is and what they need. Farmers have a lot to deal with these days. Just think of aspects like business succession, scale expansion, environmental legislation issues, and so on. We work on ideas together with them and create added value. The Agri-Business Master Classes we hold specifically for young farmers are an example of this. We bring them together to exchange experiences and discuss all kinds of topics. Not only about issues in the barn, but also for example about legislation. With this, we aim to make a good contribution to a successful start and help them achieve future-oriented  farming.”

The strength of Voergroep Zuid
Efficiency in the barn is another aspect where Voegroep Zuid directly assists its customers. Franken: “As a cooperative, we do not have a profit motive. We want to make money for farmers, rather than making money from farmers. We look at a farm as a whole. We not only analyse which feeding strategy is the best fit, but also look at the management and health of the animals. Together with the farmer, we look at ways of keeping the animals healthy so they can perform optimally. Our strength is that we deliver customised solutions. 80% of the feed we supply is specifically tailored to that farmer’s livestock.”

Hundreds of types of feed
The shift to produce customised feed started about fifteen years ago, says transport planner Joachim van Dijk. “We used to produce about twenty to thirty different types of feed. Today, we make hundreds of different feed mixes. This development has a major impact. The fact that we now produce most of the feed to order means we can’t start working on it until the order has been received. This development has also made the logistics side more complex. It is a new challenge every day to get it right. It takes a lot of flexibility. For the average pig farmer, we supply five, six or seven different types of feed. And it may well be that a customer calls in the morning and places an order for feed to be delivered today. Then it’s up to us to find a solution to serve the customer.”

The essential role of logistics
Voergroep Zuid does most of its distribution with its own fleet. “We deliver about 70% of the volume ourselves,” says Franken. “We believe in having our own drivers and vehicles. Logistics is extremely important to us. For our customers, the drivers and the vehicles are literally what they see most of Voergroep Zuid. They have the closest connection with the farmer. So it’s essential for that to go well. But we also believe in a partnership with a logistics service provider that helps us achieve flexibility combined with high quality.”

As of this year, Voergroep Zuid has been working with Nijhof-Wassink. Van Dijk: “Nijhof-Wassink provides dedicated transport for us. Two truck and trailer combinations work full-time to distribute feed from the factory to the farmer. We also call in Nijhof-Wassink for network transport, especially for destinations farther away. If we had to take a load of feed to the south of Belgium, that would actually be too far for us. We also have no return freight. Through its network, Nijhof-Wassink is able to organise return loads. That means they can do this type of transport more efficiently and cheaply than we could ourselves. We were also already working with Ecotrans Logistics for bagged goods transport. After Nijhof-Wassink’s takeover of Ecotrans, we now have a single logistics partner.”

“When choosing a logistics partner, professionalism is an important requirement,” says Franken. “Do you deliver the feed properly, the way the customer wants it? Can you provide the wheels and the people? And can you arrange the transport for a reasonable price? Nijhof-Wassink has proven that it can support us optimally with this.”

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