European Business: At DACHSER Benelux, you are responsible for three countries. What are the main differences between them when doing business?
Aat van der Meer: The different cultures between these three small neighboring countries are enormous. To start with the languages, Belgium and Luxembourg have three official languages each. Moreover, each country has its own working mentality. This is often underestimated by the rest of Europe who consider the Benelux as one economic union of three neighboring countries. Nevertheless, we have one thing in common, and that is the fact that geographically we are ideally located `owning` the two best equipped and largest harbors in Europe. Furthermore, our people are known for their ability to adept rapidly to market changes and are able to speak almost all common European languages. The use of our homogeneous DACHSER system allows us to serve the market in same way and our European customers do not notice the differences between the countries at all.
„Our own R & D teams are constantly looking for new developments to improve our supply chain." Aat van der Meer
European Business: Thanks to technical developments, there are several ideas that improve businesses. How do you optimize logistics?
Aat van der Meer: The DACHSER IT network is one of the most innovative in the entire industry. Core systems developed in-house, internal computing centers and an intelligent networked IT system landscape make it possible to manage and optimize logistics processes and the exchange of data down to the last detail. At the same time, DACHSER information logistics offers consistent, globally equal solutions instead of a diversity of systems. Unified hardware and software at all of our branches provide the seamless flow of data for logistics processes. All core systems are available to secure communication and the completion of orders in multiple languages.
Within two years, all our electric pallet trucks will be using the new LI-ION technology to increase the usability. Our own R & D teams are constantly looking for new developments to improve our supply chain.
European Business: How did the kind of cargo change, do companies use other Incoterms for example?
Aat van der Meer: As companies want flexibility and reliability they have less stock then in the past and the size of their shipments becomes smaller and enlarges the pressure on the lead-time as the need to deliver their customers just in time.
To make it possible to stay on the driver seat the exporting customer often uses the incoterm free delivered at destination. In this case, they manage the goods flow themselves and can optimize the internal logistics flow in their warehouses and increase the efficiency.
„As companies want flexibility and reliability they have less stock then in the past." Aat van der Meer
European Business: How has logistics changed over the last years and what do you think, how will the delivery of a product work in 10 years?
Aat van der Meer: In the past years the technology has developed at lightning speed. Automation has played a main role in the technological development in the logistics world, although DACHSER attaches great value to its employees as a family business. With new technology, we will also create new jobs. We expect the scanning process to develop more and more and maybe in the future new techniques will be available to serve our clients. It is already possible that they can register their shipment themselves online, which saves time of course. Thanks to our worldwide network we can already deliver fast, but we are continuously expanding our network, who knows how fast we can ship within 10 years.
Interview: Vera Gaidies | Photos: Dachser Benelux