INNOVATION IS A NECESSARY CONDITION FOR SUCCESS IN LOGISTICS
Companies who rely on low rates only to distinguish themselves are doomed to fail.
Kees Verweij is Logistics team leader at TNO, which is an R&D organisation, aiming to strengthen the innovative capacity of corporate life and public service based on scientific know-how.
INNOVATION IS A NECESSARY CRITERION
"As a company or public service, you can only really get ahead if you innovate. At TNO we aim to bridge the gap between science and practice by making logistics operations and policy in companies more efficient based on scientific know-how. Not as a sport, but just because it works. And because as a company or authority, you actually have no other choice.
COMPOSITE SKETCH OF LOGISTICS IN THE BENELUX
"There are two major logistics markets in the Benelux: the national distribution market (from bulk to consolidation) and the European distribution market (all import/export through the major ports). The property of logistics operations in the Benelux is that the latter market is considerable, whilst in many other countries the national distribution market dominates. In addition, with respect to logistics operations in the Benelux, parties work together fairly often in the consolidation process. Examples in the Benelux are Trans-Mission and now also DHB."
LOGISTICS CHALLENGES IN THE BENELUX, TODAY AND TOMMOROW
"At this time logistics service providers are facing three problems: the economic crisis, which results in less turnover (due to less volume and lower rates), the dependent position of service providers in the logistics chain and the competition of larger and foreign parties.
To be added, a threatening shortage of drivers, increasing pressure to offer added value in addition to regular services and increasing traffic issues and regulations."
"If a logistics company wants to be successful under these conditions, at the very least it must set itself apart and continue to innovate. Those who rely only on low rates to distinguish themselves are doomed to fail. This implies that with transport alone from point A to point B, a shipper will no longer make it in the market."
"A logistics service provider can also stand out by providing better customer service, for example, by providing real-time information about the status of journey and goods. You can also distinguish yourself by working together and bundling, enabling you to work more efficiently. You can offer warehousing and go even further and include Value Added Logistics and Services in your package, in addition to regular storage."
DHB'S DISTINGUISHING QUALITIES
"In my opinion, DHB has a number of attractive qualities to set it apart from the competition. First and foremost DHB is able, through cooperation, to provide a logistics service (detailed distribution), which is typically only provided by larger companies. DHB members are family businesses, which implies that the customer can expect a personal approach. Finally, the cooperation within DHB seems to be well thought-out and strong. They have apparently also paid attention to the incorporation of potential handicaps, such as route distribution, the creation of sufficient space, etc."
DHB VERSUS MAJOR INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS
"DHB’s cooperation structure in itself is different from the major international players. It is therefore important to make that clear. DHB members are family businesses, which implies that they provide tailored services and that management can be contacted personally by each customer, which is often appealing compared to multinationals. It is also critical to show a single face to the outside world, which takes place through the website, among others. And it is important for the current dedication to persist in the long term - here DHB must be vigilant in the long term."
POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE DHB MODEL
"DHB is a form of vertical cooperation between colleagues who complement each other geographically, thus appealing to larger accounts (see the DHB website for a sample of these customers). I believe that, over time, DHB will be able to drive for a cluster of customers with the same delivery addresses, for example in the food service sector."
DHB AS AN ANSWER TO LOGISTICS ISSUES IN THE BENELUX
"I do believe that DHB formulates an answer to the questions with which the logistics sector in the Benelux will be confronted in the near future. As a result of cooperation, larger customers are targeted with better services, whilst maintaining the assistance and personal approach of a family business. As you grow in a joint venture, you are also given the opportunity to acquire a stronger position in logistics chains – thus reducing dependency. This obviously only works if the joint venture continues to be successful and there are clear advantages to the customers (level of service, cost benefits)."
Kees Verweij wrote a manual for the successful bundling of transport flows in logistics.
For further information about TNO, go to www.tno.nl