Success story in transportation and logistics
Tailormade Logistics offers transport tand logistics solutions as well as related value-added services for companies mainly active in three core businesses. “Around 30% of our business comes from the automotive industry. We work for all the OEMs in Europe and all their main suppliers. Our second biggest market is fashion and retail, where we have major brands among our clients. Thirdly, we are the number one in transport and logistics for rugs, carpets, tiles, laminate and other types of flooring,” Bert Vandecaveye, CEO of Tailormade Logistics, explains.
RE-INVENTING EVERY DAY
From the beginning, the company focused on tailor-made solutions, as illustrated by the name of the company and the mindset of the CEO. “Logistics is not a uniform service: it is highly dedicated to the individual customer. Every company has a different way of handling its logistics. You have to look for solutions that the customer needs, which is a very difficult process. To be able to do so, we have to develop constantly and are still trying to reinvent ourselves every day. We are a little bit more rebellious in the business community. We do not follow; we do what we think we have to do. We go our own way and we develop our own idea, trying to be inventive and creative,” declares Vandecaveye.
One of those ideas led to a more than 35% reduction in distribution costs for customers in the fashion industry by using several local cross-docks instead of one central cross-dock. “We look at how we can optimize the distribution process and then we change it. We do not look at what we have, we look at what we should have and then we change and adapt”. Vandecaveye stresses that his company is looking beyond transport and logistics and wants to deliver total solutions. “In fashion, everything has to go fast, but sometimes it is better to choose the slowest transport mode, which actually stores the goods during transport. For example, if I could transport summer clothes to Italy in containers by ship, but the weather is still cold and nobody needs summer clothes yet, then I have them in the pipeline. And if I can ship them to their destination slowly, as economically and ecologically as possible, then I am managing and am in control of the supply chain. Depending on requirements, we design special trailers to make trucks higher or longer, all within the law, and try to change packaging so that we can carry more cargo in the truck, combining shipments from different companies, etc.,” explains Vandecaveye.
When the demand for reverse logistics emerged in the automotive industry, Tailormade Logistics made it an important part of its business model. “Recycling is part of the sustainable business model of the future, and it is yet another problem that we can take care of for our customers. After delivery, we take back everything that is left, such as the packaging and the pallets, and then recycle and upcycle the materials for other clients,” Vandecaveye says.
IT IS IN OUR DNA TO SEEK ADVENTURES
According to the CEO, Belgium is particularly well-positioned for transport and logistics but is too modest about it. “Belgium has a unique position in the world, in Europe especially, because it is very close to the main gateways like Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Rotterdam and it is in the middle of four main cargo airports. The fact that we speak more than one language is an advantage. We have the logistic skills, history and experience. Our companies have the know-how to build excellent warehouses and develop logistics software. It is altogether the mix of specialists that make us unique in the world. Belgian companies should not be afraid to expand. I think our subsidiaries outside Belgium will soon become much bigger than our Belgian headquarters. It’s logical, the consumer markets are bigger. I think logistics is international by definition. It brings people together,” emphasizes Vandecaveye.
“It is in our nature to look for opportunities, it is in our DNA to seek new challenges and adventure,” Vandecaveye states proudly. “I went to the United States and Japan with FIT and to China as part of a Belgian Economic Mission. I think those missions are real eyeopeners, even if you don’t do business. Going on an organized mission to Japan made me understand much more about how Japanese customers do business,” he continues.
There are several international projects on the agenda for Tailormade Logistics. “We are planning to start up business in China. But we are growing so fast at the moment that we have to get the timing right. We already have a large number of Chinese customers and dedicated Chinese staff in Belgium to help them with their communication, labeling, testing and so on. We try to understand what they need and meet those needs. Secondly, we do not have our own branch in the UK, so that is at the planning stage as well. The UK is leaving the European Union, but it is still our neighbour and I cannot imagine we will stop trading with them. Every crisis is an opportunity for all companies and governments to reinvent themselves. And that is what we are doing now, we are reinventing ourselves and I see a lot of good things happening too,” shares Vandecaveye.
FURTHER DEVELOPING XXL E-COMMERCE
The long-term vision of Tailormade Logistics keeps the focus on innovation and growth. “Belgian know-how in logistics is extremely high, except in e-commerce because it is more consumer-driven and Belgium is not a big consumer market. However, it will be a challenge to deliver bigger products that cannot be handled by the postman. That will require completely different logistics. Everybody faces these difficulties, and we will try to tap into that. If you can solve logistics for e-commerce for outsized products, you can gain access to a big market,” concludes Bert Vandecaveye.
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