DL Logistics Group BV - Interview with Ron Valkenburg
1:03am on Friday 8th February 2019
DL Logistics Group BV is a total supplier of logistics services that can provide storage for all sorts of products and goods in specially designed warehouses.
In addition to warehousing, DL Logistics also offers the possibility to take care of the entire logistics process. With a specialized team, who take care of all transports by land, sea and air. As a freight forwarder and they also provide your goods with the correct transport documents. They pride themselves as one of the few logistics companies that also has a lot of experience in the logistics organization of special goods, such as medicines (pharma logistics), aircraft parts (AOG logistics) and clothing (fashion logistics).
We had the opportunity to interview the Commercial Director - Ron Valkenburg and he shared with us his passion about the company and business he executes. Continue on reading to learn more about his experiences.
How you were introduced in the logistics industry?
RV - I have been working in the industry since high school. I took up harbor and transport in college.
Started in operations and then moved on the sales because I love to meet new people. After a couple of years I became one of the owners of DL. Before this I was a shareholder in Prime Cargo - The Netherlands, which was part of a Danish group.
How’s your regular day at work?
RV - My days can be different every week. We have 7 branches and all of them have warehouses. In total we have over 75000sqm of warehouse space and over 100 people working for us. So you can imagine that there is always something going on somewhere…
What made you choose logistics as a career?
RV - Actually my mother made that choice for me (hahahahahaha). The only thing I wanted was to join the Special Forces team with the police, who hunt down the big criminals. But I found out that you have to join the street police first then that’s the time you can only be a part of such a special group after 10 years, so I decided this was too long. After that decision, my mother advised me that logistics would be a very good industry for me…….and you know what they say; mums are always right ;-)
What are the skills you have acquired while working in this industry?
RV - When you start into operations and move into sales you learn every day. I believe that people become successful in sales, because they are made for this field, not because they followed a very complicated sales study. You have it in you or you don’t have. So I learn every day and I like to learn. When you become an owner you have to be aware of all aspects in your company. So I try to know or get to know about all details within our group of companies. This can go from operations to sales to accounting to motivating and helping our people.
What is the most challenging shipment you have done?
RV - I cannot mention 1 shipment. What challenges me is a difficult shipment and things which other competitors cannot do. We are good at this and I am proud of this. A nice profit also challenges me ;-)
What specific sector do you specialize in Cold Chain?
RV - We are handling a lot of foodstuff (fruits/meats/vegetables) in our coldstores. We do not only store them, but we try to handle these account from A-Z. We are able to handle the ocean freight of course; but as soon as shipment arrives we can arrange trucking, clearance, physical inspections, warehouse, pick/packing etc. and all done by DL offices themselves. We do not need to outsource anything.
Beside the foodstuff; we handle regular business in pharmaceuticals and other temperature controlled shipment by airfreight in our AMS office and by sea freight in our Rotterdam office. Next to this we also have a temperature controlled warehouse at the airport which is also a unique selling point. As the only big international forwarders we provide this service in Amsterdam, our customers are looking for a personal touch which they will never find with these big global forwarders. Meaning: we have a big variety of specialism in the cold chain.
Let’s talk about innovations, what technology do you think should be discovered or created that can be helpful for the cold chain sector?
RV - I don’t know. What we needed is 1 operational system which would be able to cover our complete operation. This system was very hard to find but we have finally found an operational system which will cover airfreight, oceanfreight, warehousing, cold storages, pick/packing, labelling by kilo, trucking and accounting in 1 system. This is a major progress for us but also for our customers.
What's the cold chain shipment you've ever handled that you’re most proud of?
RV - I am proud of my whole company so it is hard to mention 1 certain case out of all these good jobs we have handled. Lately we have handled a special project for National School breakfast. With this project the government wants to make sure all kids are well aware of the importance of a healthy breakfast. From Friday evening till Sunday morning we had to make sure that over 20.000 packages where packed and delivered to all schools all over the Netherlands on Monday morning. This was a very time critical project with fresh items to be picked, but we managed to make this a great success.
For more information, take a look:
What are the knowledge required to be a cold chain specialist?
RV - Pffffff this is impossible to explain in a few lines. Next to all the certificates we need to have to do business in the cold chain, I think you will need experienced people as well. It’s the people that do the job and understand the urgency or the care which you will have to add on each and every shipment.
Can you please provide us how DL Logistics started?
RV - My partners started somewhere in 1990 by sharing their specialism. I joined in 2010 when we opened the Amsterdam office.
What are the current difficulties or challenges you are facing in Netherlands when it comes to logistics?
RV - Employees!! It is very hard to find the right people on all levels. The business is going well and customers are knocking on our door to do business but we can only handle this with the right educated people. So we do not say YES to everyone, we try to grow in business but definitely also in people. We will have to do this to keep up our service level.
Is there any future plans for the company? Would you mind sharing it to us so we know what to look forward?
RV - We are building a new cold store as we speak and will have even more space when this is finished.
Next to that we will do everything we can to maintain our service level towards our customers and partners. We believe this is the way to keep the bizz healthy and growing.