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Need extra support during the holiday period? IDS is here to help.

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It can be difficult enough to keep the transport planning on track in a ‘normal’ summer, but it will be even more challenging this year. Your company is not alone in bracing itself for the upcoming holiday period. What will you do if you suddenly have to ship a complex or oversized consignment while your trusty employees are away on holiday? Who will arrange the transport? What’s the best moment to schedule the shipment? What’s the cheapest option? And what about inbound shipments? This summer, we can temporarily take care of managing your transport orders so that you and your colleagues can enjoy a carefree vacation.

Rising costs and waiting times

After all the upheaval of the past year, employees are in greater need of a break than ever – and many of them don’t care whether they go abroad or stay at home. But everything has changed in the transport sector and the end of the crisis is not yet in sight. That’s why IDS is lending a helping hand this summer. With our support, you can enjoy a carefree vacation without having to worry about your supply chain performance.

The flexibility has all but disappeared in the transport sector over the past year. The pandemic triggered a chain reaction when the lockdowns disrupted production in countries such as China, causing complete supply chains – and especially those that relied on just-in-time deliveries – to grind to a halt. Retail stores were forced to close for extended periods of time, resulting in goods piling up in warehouses and distribution centres. At the same time, e-commerce received a tremendous boost. Today, there is still a drastic shortage of containers, leading to spiralling transport costs and longer lead times – which in some cases have even doubled. All in all, it doesn’t seem like the best time to be taking a holiday, does it?

How can IDS help?

Luckily we’re here to take a weight off your mind by handling your transport orders for you this summer. For example, we can take care of booking the transport with carriers, following up on shipments, and informing your company and your customers about deliveries and any exceptions. We can also handle the financial administration, invoice checking and payments for you – either with our own partners or with your preferred carriers. This will give you chance to recharge your batteries so you can return to work refreshed and reenergized.

Improving delivery reliability

And what about after the summer? It will still be a while until the global transport sector has fully recovered from the pandemic. Perhaps this is a good time to take a closer look at your supply chain from a longer-term perspective. We can help you to identify the vulnerabilities in your supply chain and which measures you could implement to improve your delivery reliability towards customers. And needless to say, we can help you to keep your costs under control.

If you’re keen to find out how we do it, and which concrete benefits we could achieve for your supply chain, feel free to contact our Business Development Manager Arno Spoek: arno.spoek@idsnl.com.


Sustainability Strategy 4PL

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“Now is not the time to make significant investments” is what many business owners – and perhaps you yourself – have probably thought over the past year. These are sentiments that many of us share one way or another. Companies are being tested and feel the need to become more agile. This enhanced need for flexibility can actually present the ideal opportunity to take a couple of interesting steps forward on your sustainability strategy. Reducing CO2 emissions remains one of the biggest challenges this century, but the perfect moment has never arisen, until now. How can you make your transport activities smarter, cleaner and more efficient without excessive investments? As a 4PL provider, we’re working at the crossroads of sustainability and transport each and every day. Together with shippers and carriers, we collaborate on a diverse set of initiatives driving positive change. Below, we sum up just a few effective ways in which 4PL Control Towers can contribute to your sustainability strategy:

  1. Reduce transport kilometres through consolidation and horizontal planning.

The true potential for improving sustainability lies in strengthening the supply chain. As a 4PL provider we’re at the very heart of that chain. We have full visibility of all our customers’ transport movements including shipment data, volumes, destinations and special conditions. Through the smart consolidation of shipments, we create more efficient routes with fuller trucks, on both outward and return trips. That means fewer transport kilometres, which is not only beneficial for the environment but also for your bottom line.

  1. Cut down waste in multiple transport stages

Another key aspect of sustainability is waste reduction – and that includes paperwork. We work with digital consignment notes (e-CMR), for example. We also encourage our customers to pack their shipments as efficiently as possible, without unnecessary empty space and always in a standard size. And needless to say, we’re constantly seeking carriers who excel in maximizing the number of consignments that can be loaded into each truck.

  1. Alternative modalities for movement reduction

Thanks to our end-to-end chain visibility at IDS, we can also provide sound evidence for considering modalities such as rail or water. These can be sustainable alternatives for road transport, because they offer considerably more loading capacity than a truck, which reduces the number of transport movements. We ensure the goods are transferred to (electric) last-mile vehicles and make use of smart hubs as an extra way of achieving synergy.

  1. Rapid innovations to future-proof your business

Besides price and quality, the CO2 emission level has become one of the most important selection criteria for shippers. Innovation is everywhere and the pace of advancement continues to accelerate. From the use of biofuels to fully electric trucks and from tyre-pressure sensors to solar panels on trailers, such innovations have today become key variables in solving the logistics puzzle of getting goods to the right place at the right time as cost effectively and sustainably as possible.

Positive impact

We all care about the world we live in and we all feel good when creating positive change. The key challenge for businesses is to balance their contribution to a healthier planet with staying cost competitive and maintaining quality. As a 4PL Control Tower, IDS is helping organizations to reduce their CO2 footprint – every day and with every shipment. As shown above, even small changes – such as sharing transport-related data, smarter packaging methods, alternative transport modalities and focusing on innovation – can make a big difference. We do this in partnership with our network of shippers and carriers as well as through our donations and our community memberships.

Are you aiming to improve the sustainability of your business while saving costs? And are you interested in finding out how IDS can support your sustainability strategy? Contact Leon de Koning (leon.dekoning@idsnl.com /+ 31 (0) 6 82 34 56 16) to discuss the options in more detail!

 


Introducing: Tolga Kahraman and Eline Rekers

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To support the continued growth of IDS, new members are regularly joining the IDS team. In September, for example, Jamie van de Kam explained how he was keen to set to work at IDS as a Freight Management Specialist after completing his thesis. Today, we introduce Tolga Kahraman and Eline Rekers.

Making a difference

Tolga (30): “I’ve worked in various logistics roles in the past, including as a transport planner, personnel planner and fleet manager. I’ve recently joined IDS as a Freight Management Specialist for our customer DSM.” Eline (26), who has an account management background in big data and managed services, will also be working in the role of Freight Management Specialist. They both want to make a difference in their work. Eline: “IDS appealed to me because I find it important to do my bit for people and the planet. And the transport sector is a great place to do that. By taking a smart approach to consolidating shipments, I hope to avoid a lot of unnecessary freight movements. That’s a really good fit with IDS’s goals in terms of sustainability and reducing CO₂.”

Digital transformation in transport

Tolga: “The digital transformation is well underway in the transport sector and the information flows are increasingly rapidly. What drew me to IDS is the company’s drive and ambition to turn the value from those information flows into value for customers.”

Eline agrees: “IDS is an ambitious company which focuses on growth and continuous development. The transport sector is extremely dynamic and that’s unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. I’m pleased to be working at a company that provides insight into the ever-growing data flows for the benefit of our partners in the supply chain.”

Are you interested in joining IDS as a Freight Management Specialist too? We’re still seeking new colleagues. Click here to see the vacancy!


IDS appoints Leon de Koning as Chief Commercial Officer

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IDS, The Independent Control Tower Specialist, is delighted to announce the appointment of Leon de Koning as Chief Commercial Officer. Prior to joining IDS, Leon has gained 25 years’ experience in international leadership roles in the areas of (big) data, analytics, SaaS solutions and managed services. Leon’s appointment further strengthens the IDS leadership team alongside logistics expert Paul van der Burg in the role of Chief Operating Officer. We welcome Leon’s experience, his client-first mentality and growth mindset. They fit perfectly with IDS’s passion and commitment to offer the very best and futureproof Control Tower solutions and Managed Transportation Services (MTS) to our clients as their supply chains continue to develop and change at an ever-increasing pace. 

A look into the future

Paul van der Burg: “IDS has experienced significant growth over the last few years. Customers are reaping the benefits of outsourcing some or all of their logistics operations to independent Control Towers like us. We are honoured to be working for some of the most terrific brands out there. To manage our growth in the right direction, I will be focusing even more on optimizing our operations and delighting our clients in existing and new ways.”

Leon de Koning: “I’ve been really inspired by the energy and dynamics I’ve encountered in 4PL logistics so far. And IDS’s technology, people, processes and network are truly unprecedented in this context. I’m very much looking forward to working with Paul, the team of experts at IDS and our clients, and to contributing to being the best Control Tower solution and partner out there.” 


How to beat the curfews with dock scheduling

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This is not the first time that we’ve written about the benefits of IDS Dock Scheduling for optimizing the inbound and outbound goods flows. By involving all the links in the chain when planning the loading and unloading activities, you prevent carriers, suppliers and distribution centres from pointing the finger of blame at one another if shipments are not collected or delivered on time. Appointments are scheduled automatically, taking the location, number of orders and any restrictions into account. Needless to say, that comes in particularly useful nowadays, when lockdowns and even curfews are creating challenges that were unimaginable to most of us less than a year ago. Read on to find out how, as a 4PL provider, we can help to minimize the impact of this crisis on your inbound and outbound goods flows.

Unpredictability 

Over the past 12 months, we’ve witnessed a sudden change from predictable logistics flows to panic-buying and from ‘just in time’ to ‘just in case’ – and the unpredictability looks set to continue. Countless retail stores have been forced to close, at least temporarily. The pressure of being unable to sell existing stock is mounting, and in some cases more inventory is already on its way from the Far East. Yet supermarket distribution centres are experiencing unprecedented peaks, and online shopping continues to grow even though the festive period is now behind us. In some industries, such as construction, there have been no noticeable effects as a result of COVID-19 and it seems to be business as usual. At the other extreme, some sectors have come to a complete standstill. 

Alternative routes and service windows

The curfew rules vary from one country to another. Which makes it essential to think carefully about the optimal transport routes and delivery windows per shipment and per destination. The borders are still open for freight, but that could change at any moment. Moreover, many routes and delivery windows have altered due to shifts in the demand for transport caused by the peaks and troughs across the various sectors. The situation not only differs from the ‘normal’ scenario of around a year ago, but possibly also from last month or even last week. And whereas night-time collections and deliveries didn’t use to be a problem, it might now be necessary to arrange permits and employer’s declarations. 

IDS Dock Scheduling

All of these developments are having a substantial impact on your logistics planning and the activities at your loading docks. Making supply chain visibility, delivery reliability and effective scheduling more important than ever. Helping customers to navigate curfew-related challenges is all in a day’s work for our logistics experts. They can analyse your inbound and outbound goods flows and optimize your service windows so that your supply chain continues to run smoothly. Despite all the unpredictability. To do so, they make use of the IDS Dock Scheduling solution. Which ensures that all supply chain partners are involved in the process and have clear insight into the requested, scheduled and amended dock appointments. 

If you feel you could use some support in adapting your service windows to the ‘new normal’ or if you would like to make optimal use of your loading docks, our Business Development Manager Arno Spoek is on hand to help you. Feel free to email him at mailto:arno.spoek@idsnl.com or call him on +31 6 31 90 20 88.


The importance of freeze-free transport to protect coatings, varnishes and adhesives

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Many chemicals are sensitive to extreme temperatures, and excess heat isn’t the only problem. The increased risk of sub-zero temperatures in the winter can mean that shipments containing coatings, varnishes, adhesives and other chemicals require special handling. At IDS, many of our customers are keen to avoid or at least minimize the possible effects of freezing temperatures on their chemicals during transport. We keep supply chains running smoothly, irrespective of the temperature, season or destination. 

Choose the ideal above-zero transportation temperature: 7, 15 or 23°C  

When transporting chemicals, it is important to understand how the product characteristics can be affected by exposure to temperature fluctuations. That’s why we have close relationships with carriers who are specialized in temperature-controlled shipments and who operate routes to locations throughout the whole of Europe several times a week. Even if our customers have an urgent shipment that is less than a full truckload, there is no need to panic. Because we can also take care of groupage and partial shipments, with or without ADR. And because different coatings and other chemicals have different characteristics. We offer a choice of temperatures to meet specific freight needs. Do you require 7, 15 or 23°C? We’re happy to find the right freight solution for you, both this winter and beyond.

Are you keen to know more about freeze-free transport? Or would you just like to talk to our specialists about suitable freight solutions for your products? If so, contact Arno Spoek: arno.spoek@idsnl.com


Moving ever closer to a ‘hard’ Brexit

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With the end of the transition period rapidly approaching, time is running out for the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) to strike a trade deal. The transition period officially ends on 1 January 2021. If no trade deal has been reached by then, the World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs will apply. In other words, it will be a hard Brexit – just what everyone had hoped to avoid. The negotiations are still ongoing, but it is time for companies that do business with the UK to really start preparing for the worst. However, after four and a half years of uncertainty, many are finding it difficult to finally take action. Here’s another reminder of what you can do.

Worst-case scenario 

In the worst-case scenario, both the EU and the UK will apply import tariffs to products. Besides that, there is likely to be some disruption such as delays to shipments into and out of the UK. A ‘no deal’ Brexit will lead to more complex customs procedures such as the need for extra documentation and checks, in stark contrast to today’s free movement of goods between the two regions. Freight companies are already increasing their margins, both in terms of time and money. As a result, companies and customers can expect their deliveries to take longer and probably cost more too. Although a trade agreement currently seems unlikely, it would remove many (but not all) of these obstacles – albeit probably not all at once. 

Supporting a smooth transition together

Over recent months, IDS has helped various customers to prepare for the transition by working with them to analyse their import and export process. The actual transport across the Channel often isn’t the major issue. Instead, the question is what kind of paperwork has to accompany goods arriving in the UK. 

Besides a Dutch shipper having to complete a declaration of export in the Netherlands, the recipient also has to declare the goods for import into the UK. And therein lies the uncertainty. Is everything properly prepared and arranged? Do your customers need any help with completing the declarations? What if the longer delivery times lead to higher costs? Will that perhaps mean that carriers won’t set out on their journey until the import declaration is ready in the UK? And how will all this affect rates? 

We’re happy to help you figure everything out. Together, we can double-check what has been taken care of already and what still needs to be done to keep your supply chain operational. No matter how the Brexit negotiations pan out.

Are you keen to get a clearer picture of how Brexit will affect your supply chain, and would you like to discuss it with one of our experts? Feel free to contact Arno Spoek: arno.spoek@idsnl.com.

Previously we wrote about Brexit:


Managed Transportation Services: a reminder of the benefits

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The supply chain is becoming increasingly complex. In addition to the ‘normal’ complexity of daily operations, international flows of goods have been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdowns, the trade war between China and the US, and Brexit. As a result, ever-more shippers are choosing to outsource their transport activities – but some people still have their doubts. Here, for anyone who may be a little hesitant, we provide a reminder of the benefits of Managed Transportation Services.

3PL or 4PL?

Let’s start at the beginning. Before shippers can even think about outsourcing their supply chain, they first need to choose whether to work with a 3PL or 4PL supplier. So what’s the difference? Third-party logistics (3PL) suppliers provide Managed Transportation Services by using their own transport assets, whereas fourth-party logistics (4PL) suppliers – such as IDS – do not operate their own vehicles. This independence allows them to select the right carrier for each shipment, while also taking account of factors such as CO2 emissions, pricing and the financial and administrative aspects.

An overview of all the benefits

Managed Transportation Services offer three main advantages – better insights, more control and a smooth-running supply chain – which together enable you to quickly achieve significant cost savings.

Even so, some shippers can be reluctant to make the switch. But there really is nothing to fear, as this list of concrete benefits shows:

  • Guaranteed transport capacity and delivery reliability
  • Real-time end-to-end supply chain visibility
  • Lower freight costs
  • Easier data exchange with chain partners
  • Risk spreading
  • Improved ROI
  • Focus on core processes
  • Operational control
  • Reports and analysis
  • Invoice control
  • Freight auditing & payment services
  • A futureproof business

Fewer logistics headaches

But perhaps the most important advantage of Managed Transportation Services is that it offers peace of mind. You can relax in the knowledge that logistics experts are focusing on optimizing your supply chain on a daily basis, monitoring the entire process – both operationally and tactically – and continuously implementing improvements. At IDS, we don’t only do this for full truckloads of freight; our experts are also happy to help you with smaller consignments, goods with special requirements, logistics challenges or unpredictable flows.

Would you like to know exactly what we can do for your supply chain? Contact Arno Spoek, Business Development Manager at IDS, to find out.


Why not add some more sustainability to your supply chain?

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The sustainability aspect is becoming increasingly important when selecting a carrier. Reducing CO2 emissions is one of the biggest challenges this century and the logistics sector is well aware that it too has a role to play. In fact, the industry is making extremely rapid progress in this area, despite the coronavirus crisis. But for many manufacturing companies, now is not the time to be making significant investments. So how can you make your transport activities smarter, cleaner and more efficient? As a 4PL provider, we’re positioned at the crossroads of sustainability and transport. We have unrivalled insights into how manufacturing companies can move closer towards achieving their sustainability goals without investing heavily. We’re happy to tell you more.

The strength of the supply chain

The true potential for improving sustainability lies in the strength of the supply chain. As a 4PL provider we’re at the very heart of that chain. We have visibility of all our customers’ transport movements including shipment data, volumes, destinations and special conditions. By consolidating shipments, we create more efficient routes with fuller trucks, both there and back. So that means fewer transport kilometres. That is not only good for the environment but also good for your bottom line. But consolidation isn’t easy. It requires insight and open access to data, not to mention intensive end-to-end supply chain collaboration.

Less waste

Another aspect of sustainability is reducing waste – and that includes paperwork. We work with digital consignment notes, for example. And we’re stimulating the switch to reusable packaging components such as pool pallets and collapsible crates and containers. We encourage our customers to pack their shipments as efficiently as possible, without unnecessary empty space and always in a standard size. And needless to say, we’re constantly seeking carriers who excel in maximizing the number of consignments that can be loaded into each truck.

By rail and water

Thanks to our end-to-end chain visibility at IDS, we can also provide sound evidence to consider modalities such as rail or water. These can be sustainable alternatives for road transport, because they offer considerably more loading capacity than a truck, which reduces the number of transport movements. We ensure the goods are transferred to (electric) last-mile vehicles and make use of smart hubs as an extra way of achieving synergy.

Innovation is everywhere

Besides price and quality, the CO2 emission level has become one of the most important selection criteria for our clients. Truck and trailer suppliers have now got that message loud and clear too. Innovation is everywhere and the pace of advancement continues to accelerate. From the use of biofuels to fully electric trucks. From tyre-pressure sensors to solar panels on trailers, nowadays such innovations have become key variables in solving the logistics puzzle of getting goods to the right place at the right time as cheaply and efficiently as possible.

Sustainability and reality go hand in hand

In other words, even small changes – sharing transport-related and other data, smarter packaging methods and transport modalities, and focusing on innovation – can make a big difference. But we need to stay realistic. 100% sustainability is not financially feasible right now, but a 100% focus on the lowest price is not the right answer either. At IDS, we’re continuously striving to find the right balance for our customers… and perhaps we can do the same for you, too?

Contact Arno Spoek to discuss how to add some more sustainability to your supply chain!  


6 tips to strengthen your supply chain during the coronavirus crisis

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Thanks to globalization, it’s possible for manufacturing companies to source components and raw materials from all over the world and keep their own stock levels low. However, the coronavirus pandemic has mercilessly exposed the vulnerabilities of that system. The current crisis has shifted the focus onto spreading risk, being creative and working with dependable supply chain partners. But how can you put that in practice, and how can you tell whether you’re on the right track? We’ve put together these 6 tips to strengthen your supply chain.

Tip 1 – Maintain a tight grip on debtor management

The pressure on the economy is placing a strain on business finances. Declining revenues, sometime by as much as 30%, are causing liquidity to dry up. And that goes for more than the worst-affected supply chains. Customers are altering their payment terms and paying invoices later. Investments are being put on hold. Government support has limited the number of bankruptcies so far. But that’s no reason to loosen your grip on your own debtor management activities. Avoid quibbles over what you’re owed by sending out correct, complete and timely invoices.

Tip 2 – Choose the right carrier for you

Consumers weren’t the only ones to go into panic-buying mode as soon as the various lockdowns were announced… Many companies did the same, resulting in depleted stocks and a rush to scale up production capacities. Carriers initially struggled to cope with all the extra work, but the demand dropped off again just as quickly in the subsequent months. Such severe fluctuations may be exceptional, but they do make you stop and think. Whereas price used to be the determining factor, scalability, delivery reliability and risk spreading now play a much bigger role. They should therefore be taken into consideration when choosing which carriers to work with. Evaluate your own selection criteria and reset your priorities if necessary. We’re happy to help you.

Tip 3 – Optimize your shipments

If your volumes, frequencies and destinations vary then it can be worth optimizing your shipments, especially in the case of international transport activities – and more so today than ever before. When a neutral 4PL party like IDS consolidates your freight flows, the risks are spread equally between multiple customers and everyone receives a fair share of the cost benefits.

Tip 4 – Share your data

Even though the coronavirus pandemic has revealed that the interdependencies in the supply chain are bigger than expected, most companies are still reluctant to share their data with others. This reticence means that problems in freight flows can often go unnoticed. By sharing data about the types and quantities of goods, their origins/destinations and the desired arrival times, manufacturers enable all the links in the supply chain to organize their own processes more effectively. And, equally importantly communicate much more accurately about delays, border controls, waiting times or inspections.

Tip 5 – Do more with the same number of people

Although unemployment levels are rising, there is no sign of the labour shortage easing in the logistics sector. In fact, booming online sales are driving a further increase in demand for logistics employees. Retraining will no doubt offer some solace in the longer term, but the easiest solution in the short term is to do more with the same number of people. Outsourcing time-consuming non-critical tasks such as claims and bill control will allow your employees to focus on activities where they can really make a difference.

Tip 6 – Small steps, big impact

At the macro level, it’s easy to say that the key to reviving the economy is for businesses to keep investing and for consumers to keep spending. In reality, companies usually prefer to take a more cautious approach. However, even if you’ve decided to hold off on your investment in IoT technology for now, you can still take a few small steps in the right direction.

We’re happy to help you put these tips into practice to achieve a visible impact immediately. Contact Arno Spoek for more information on 4PL services and Managed Transportation.