The customer is key for the Voortman Steel Group. This fact is the cornerstone of every project, large or small. Transport and the scheduling that goes with it is an important part of the service to our customers. Both VSC and VSM having been working jointly with Pultrum Transport towards this end for many years. We spoke to Robert Kwintenberg, Monique van Brussel and Michel Averesch about their view of transport as a customer service.
Transport is also a broad concept in the Voortman Steel Group. Robert (a Work Planner Production at VSC) has a work territory that covers the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, Monique and Michel on the other hand work all over the world as Transport Coordinators at VSM. “In addition to road transport within Europe, to Russia for instance, we deal with overseas shipping as well. In addition to scheduling transport, our work also involves dealing with important forms to enable containers to clear customs smoothly”, explains Monique. Michel joined the department last July. “I started during my final year and stayed on after that. This work is hugely varied and dynamic.” Robert mainly looks after transport for the steel structures to the coater. “I also arrange preservation (spraying, powder coating and galvanising) for example. In actual fact, the scope of my job covers everything relating to the production process plus transport.” Robert ensures that all materials arrive at the coater just in time, after which his colleague Ard Dannenberg takes over transport to the construction site.
Scheduling is an important component for both departments. Take a container that has been on its way for weeks by sea freight, for which assemblers need to be flown in immediately after arrival. Or an example of Robert’s: When we are required to assemble a 200-tonne steel structure, this entails around eight fully-loaded trucks being sent at various phases. Then you need to arrange for the material to be at the coater on time, schedule transport and coordinate everything properly with the assembly department.” Transport therefore mainly involves a great deal of checking, occasional switching and conferring constantly. Monique: “Communication is the key to everything, both among ourselves and with the customer.”
A reliable partner to deliver transport is obviously important. “Pultrum Transport in Rijssen looks after the lion’s share of our transport within Europe. It is a fine partnership, Pultrum is flexible and is good at empathising with us”, says Michel. Robert adds: “They can respond rapidly as well as stepping in at the last minute.” Monique: “In addition, they make life easier for us with special permits, oversize loads or exemptions. We work with an external agent for container transport, but in this area Pultrum also looks after haulage to and from the port.” What comes to the fore time and again during the conversation is that Pultrum works fast, is always ready and even comes up with answers.
How does Pultrum see itself? We asked Ate Pultrum, the director of the family business. “Pultrum has been in existence for over 50 years, out of which I believe we have been working in partnership with Voortman for 40 of them.” Day to day contact between Pultrum and Voortman is handled by the schedulers, major projects and the broad outlines of a process are always discussed directly with Ate Pultrum. Ate: “We are an extension of our customer, Voortman Steel Construction in this case. We think collaboratively and our motto in this regard is always ‘strong together’. Whether it is a single pallet or a complete contract: we aim to take the load off our customer.”
A fine example of this partnership is the reefer racks project for APM Terminals at Maasvlakte 2. “We discussed the entire process together from the start or in fact before that. It was a fine logistics project for both Voortman Steel Construction and ourselves. Our boys and the Voortman boys took on the responsibility together and you can see that it simply works well. At the end of the day we both have a satisfied customer, which is what we are both in business for.”