IT & Operations

When do you choose a responsive or a cost-saving logistics model?

August 13, 2015

When do you opt for in-house production at low costs, and when do you outsource it? Roy van Helden made this comparative assessment for his employer Cimpress while writing his thesis.

Image: © Nationale Beeldbank

“What kind of logistics concept do we adopt: a responsive model or one where we watch the costs? I answered this question in the thesis I wrote for the TIAS Master of Operations and Supply Chain Excellence. My employer Cimpress, the parent company of companies such as VistaPrint, Drukwerkdeal and Albelli, is flourishing. Despite the recession, the company has grown strongly in recent years.

In recent years, a number of marketing portals have been added to the portfolio, and these portals all have their own business model and marketing strategy. They have one thing in common. They are all customer-oriented and complement each other by offering a variety of products in different market segments.

In my role as Global Sales and Operations Manager I have attuned demand and supply to each other. Where this was not in balance, I looked at investment issues. High-volume, standard products are usually produced in-house at low cost, whereas other products have recently also been made by external partners. Giving substance to the selection of partners that meet the different customer markets that are supplied where online availability, reliability, quality, and short delivery times are key, is a new challenge in my current role as Senior Manager Outsourcing Europe and Asia.”

Do you also want to make a career move? The TIAS Master of Operations and Supply Chain Excellence MOS gives you the knowledge and skills to take the next step in logistics. Download the brochure.

Latest developments

What else did you gain from the program?

“The range of modules discuss a wide range of topics, which covers the entire landscape within your supply chain and operations. The latest developments in all those areas are offered on a silver platter. Now I can look at processes from a leading role and I understand better the consequences of changes for the different roles within Supply Chain and Operations. You also get in-depth and state-of-the-art knowledge from experts in the field of Supply Chain Excellence and Operations.

The program increased my scope as a person. I combined the program with a challenging job and a busy family life – I have three children, the youngest was one year old when I did the program. These factors together have ensured that I keep a better balance when I am under pressure and at times when a lot is required.”

Way of thinking is now ingrained

What insight do you still use every day?

“It is something from the strategy and innovation module that is taught by Walter Ploos van Amstel. He told us that you have to think in layers, in particular the strategic, tactical, and operational layers. That way of thinking is now ingrained. When someone asks me a question, I first ask myself at what level this issue arises and what the person is seeking. That way, I can easily answer the question substantively and well.”

What are the next steps?

“In this first phase, we are working to bring in and map the different partners. That is already an improvement, but still suboptimal. When you work with various partners, they are still islands. Connecting these partners within a European logistics network is the next step.”

Do you also want to make a career move?
The TIAS Master of Operations and Supply Chain Excellence MOS gives you the knowledge and skills to take the next step in logistics. Download the brochure.
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