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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.


How tenders can help you to cope with uncertain times

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This summer, Brexit and the trade war between the USA and China have dominated the business news headlines. At the same time, the economy seems to be stagnating and the labour market remains under pressure. All of these uncertainties have one thing in common: they will most likely cause transport costs to rise in the years ahead. This is a good reason to carefully review your current suppliers and existing contracts, and perhaps even to issue new tenders in the search for partners who can help to further strengthen your supply chain. Or are you holding out and hoping the storm will pass?  

 

It all starts with insight 

Nothing beats issuing a tender as a way of gaining insight into the market conditions. From price-quality ratios and volume discounts to surcharges and exceptions… the tender process gives you a unique opportunity to compare multiple suppliers on multiple levels. But to be truly effective you need to make a fair comparison based on clear objectives. That starts with having insight into your own ordering process, routes, delivery addresses, volumes, frequencies, variation and exceptions. At IDS we help our customers to extract this data from their IT systems and analyse it correctly, so that everyone has a realistic view of the situation.  

 

Ideas for improvements 

The insights that you gain by gathering and analysing the data often generate ideas for improvements before you even get as far as a tender. For example, you might decide to introduce line hauls to hubs, or to improve your customer segmentation to reduce the number of shipment days. Alternatively, should you start taking freight exchange platforms into account, and if so can they be integrated into your existing workflow? 

 

Quality matters too 

At IDS, we regularly help logistics managers to translate the resulting insights and ideas for improvements into a clear tender with concrete selection criteria and preconditions. Increasingly, the long-term effects of lower carbon emissions and horizontal supply chain integration are key factors in that process. But in the current market conditions, capacity management and risk management as well as high-quality and reliable customer service sometimes matter just as much as the price, if not more so. Thanks to our knowledge of the logistics sector, we can help you to emphasize the right aspects in your tender request to ensure you can cope with the volatility.  

 

Multiple roles 

As a 4PL supplier we are an independent supply chain partner. Hence we always go in search of the best transport solution for each customer, without being burdened by restrictive contracts or our own assets. In tender processes, we put our experience along with our data analysis to good use in various ways. For example, its up to you whether our tender experts take care of the entire process for you or limit themselves to just writing a sound project plan, including all the necessary documentation. Alternatively, you can task us with evaluating the tender bids, drawing up a list of potential suppliers or promoting the tender in the market. The result is an optimal mix of different suppliers with whom you can collaborate smoothly, even in uncertain times. 

 

 Reaping the benefits  

After signing up new suppliers, the use of the IDS order platform to exchange information between you as the shipper and your new service providers ensures a trouble-free transition and subsequent operations. Once you have the order instructions, performance reports and invoice control at your fingertips, nothing will stand in the way of you reaping the benefits from the tender. Besides that, you will be in a perfect position to provide your customers with guaranteed service, despite the current uncertainty.  

 

If we can help you with your tender process or you would like to know more about our extensive data analytics capabilities, please contact Arno Spoek: arno.spoek@idsnl.com 


5 Tips for a more carefree summer

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For the majority of us, the summer holiday is just around the corner. Whereas there would usually be a mass exodus to tropical destinations, concerns about sudden virus flare-ups means that many people are considering a ‘staycation’ instead. This will be a different kind of summer for businesses too. The logistics sector has not escaped the economic downturn. Although manufacturing activities are gradually recovering from the initial shock and factory shutdowns, production is nowhere near back at previous levels and supply chains are still not running as smoothly as before the crisis. Nevertheless, there are some small signs of optimism. It might not be an entirely carefree summer, but these five tips will help your supply chain to emerge stronger after the vacation period.

 Tip 1 – Don’t waste time on ‘wait and see’

Whereas the biggest headache for logistics managers used to be the labour shortage, the main cause of sleepless

nights has now become the drop in both demand and production. The whole supply chain is having to cope with different volumes and different routes. And things are unlikely to change for the foreseeable future because – according to the IMF – the global economy will shrink by 5% in 2020, and the recovery from 2021 onwards will be slow and gradual. So you can’t afford to ‘wait and see’. Make use of this summer to think seriously about the impact of the coronavirus crisis, and then take constructive measures. Based out of our offices in Utrecht, our team of supply chain specialists can work in close collaboration with everyone concerned (customers, carriers, logistics service providers and other partners) to optimize your transport activities, both now and after the summer break. They are always on hand to help you.

Tip 2 – Obtain good advice

Every year, highway associations caution motorists to make sure they are well prepared before setting out. That advice is as solid as a rock for the logistics sector too. Every European country has its own rules and limitations, and in Germany the approach to tackling the virus even varies per state. Some travel restrictions are still in place for Sweden and the UK, and parts of Italy are going back into lockdown. The fragmented easing of the restrictions is actually making the situation even more chaotic. At IDS, we monitor the changing situation on a daily basis. That way we can help our customers to make sense of all the rules – both now and in the future. This ensures that we can advise our customers on the optimal logistics solution for them at all times.

Tip 3 – Gain insight

The economic downturn is making headlines every day. A quick look at your manufacturing facilities is probably enough to confirm that things are quieter than normal – but how much quieter, exactly? This is the time for insight, not guesswork,. So that you know where the abnormalities are and where intervention is needed. A transport management system (TMS) puts more data at your fingertips. It enables you to download detailed management reports about freight flows as the basis for gaining insight into where things could be done better, faster and at lower cost.

Tip 4 – Look for extra cost savings

Cutting costs is always on every logistics manager’s to-do list, and it definitely can’t hurt to look for extra ways to make savings this summer. However, it’s important not to compromise on quality and customer satisfaction. Our supply chain specialists love nothing better than using the TMS to help our customers find the most efficient transport solution in each specific situation.

 Tip 5 – Plan for various scenarios

Despite many restrictions now being eased, the future remains uncertain. To gain a greater sense of control over the situation, it helps to plan for various scenarios. What if the volumes decline even more dramatically,/ What if they shift from one raw material to another? What if countries close their borders again, such as France or Belgium? Our TMS really proves its worth when shipment volumes, weights, frequencies and (international) destinations are constantly changing. We can work closely with you to analyse the various scenarios and identify the potential bottlenecks. We can also draw up a plan of action and help you to define KPIs. A reassuring thought!

As carefree as possible

So this summer will be about recharging your battery and preparing for more uncertainty in the future. But it’s always nice to know that you can fall back on a reliable transport management system, and on supply chain specialists who are doing everything they can to make your summer as carefree as possible.

Are you curious to find out how we could do that for your supply chain? Contact Arno Spoek for a meaningful discussion about the future of your logistics activities.