IT & Operations

Food-retail logistics could do with more trust

December 4, 2014
Beeld: © Nationale Beeldbank

Pascal Piepers of Hollander Barendrecht BV has been nominated for the title Logistics Manager of the Year. The personal attention makes the TIAS-alumnus feel slightly uncomfortable, because his message is only parties who work together can make big changes. 

What does Hollander Barendrecht BV do?

"We manage the logistics for all perishables in the PLUS Supermarkets. Dairy, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, meat, flowers: for everything that is fresh and cooled, we manage the supply chain for all 260 stores. Hollander started in 1929 as a supplier of potatoes, vegetables and fruit. In the last fifteen years, the company transformed itself into a logistics service provider. Our added value is to reduce the number of links in the supply chain, resulting in products that are better preserved and more readily available."

How where you nominated for Logistics Manager of the Year?

"PLUS nominated me, much to my surprise. Afterwards, I read the candidates' requirements on the organizers' site and thought: 'Innovative, good education, life-long learning, enthusiastic about the trade... I'm not a bad fit!' The award is a personal one, but I rather talk about 'us' and 'our'. I do my job in my own way, but not on my own, of course."

When will you know if you have won?

"Five people were nominated and we presented ourselves to the jury and an audience during an event in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. Before the end of this year, the jury will visit the company and do a so-called 360-degree scan, to evaluate my management skills. Then, the jury will select three nominees who continue for the title. There's a whole process attached to that too, including media training. On 5th March 2015, there is a gala evening, with another presentation and then the winner will be announced. I hadn't thought it would be so much work, this nomination really isn't a walk in the park. Turns out that many more people know about it, too. Even people I know privately."

What have you learned during the TIAS program Master Supply Chain and Operations?

"I have gained a number of new insights about the more technical side of the trade and about co-operation in the supply chain. But in the day-to-day business, I don't see much of that in the foodretail chain. The industry has a bit to learn there. We talk a lot about working together, but many only do when it benefits themselves. At TIAS we learned, for example, how to deal with profit-sharing, but the trust to do that will take some time to grow. It will, but it will require patience and a lot of energy. Hollander's strategy is to put the customer at the center of our business; we continuously work for maximum availability and quality of products in the PLUS-stores. The savings that result from minimizing the links in the supply chain, ensure a lower cost price. And everybody benefits." 

What would you like to say to other logistics managers?

"As individual links in the chain, we can make people work faster and more efficiently. But if we want to make really big changes, and get our products to the shops faster, all the links in the chain need to truly work together. That is the business. Logistics used to have the image of someone playing with trucks and picking orders in a warehouse, in a blue coat. Those days are long gone. Logistics or supply chain management also includes HR, finance, management. I'm half an IT-man, because innovations in our business are mainly ICT-driven. This business is so divers and so interesting. And it will become more interesting, when the entire chain works together in trust." 

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