Looking for opportunities
SABIC, of Saudi Arabian origin, is one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world. One of their bigger European manufacturing plants is located in Bergen op Zoom. From there, synthetic granules, sheets and films are shipped all over the world. SABIC products are extensively used in consumer electronics, domestic appliances, the automotive industry and in construction.
Stijn Scheffers procures transport for all SABIC sites in Europe. “On a daily basis more than 1,000 mainly full truck loads are on their way throughout Europe”, Stijn says. “We use some 30 to 40 different forwarders. GVT joined as recent as 2014 and we work with them in a very special way.”
Connecting cargo flows
In that year a number of shippers took the initiative to connect the opposite flow of goods, in order to avoid empty kilometres. Samsung, which had been a customer of GVT and of SABIC for a number of years, has a flow of electronics products from their factories in Hungary and Slovakia to their distribution centre in Tilburg. Sabic delivers granules to the Samsung plant in Hungary, where these are used in the manufacturing process of television screens. “Together we reviewed the possibilities to tie up these transport flows”, Stijn recounts. “I have been in procurement for many years. In negotiations with forwarders you drive a hard bargain; it is always possible to cut a little bit more of the rates and the performance can always still be a little bit better. You face each other and you try to get the best deal for your company. In this case we had a common interest, focussing on an improvement of productivity in the supply chain. There was something to be gained by all parties, if we could get it together.”
The start was not always easy, in a real live situation things are often slightly different. But due to the full commitment of all parties and to the flexibility shown to each other a solid process is now established, robust enough for further growth. In addition, the containers are no longer trucked, but go to Eastern Europe by rail. “This modal shift is very important for SABIC, since sustainability is high on the agenda. GVT helps us achieving those targets”, according to Scheffers.
And that is appreciated……
Each year SABIC nominates three forwarders as the party with the best performance. “We do that on the basis of both quantitative and qualitative factors, such as delivery performance, capacity, number of complaints, speed of communication… we have a whole set of indicators”, says Stijn. “This year GVT was already in the top 3 and was awarded a certificate of appreciation. I really value the fact that GVT is always prepared to think with us and to invest in further improvements, also within our organisation. This way we have been able to improve the truck fill rate of our powders by some 50% over the past period. GVT is innovative, they are persistent and think outside the box, that is their big strength!”
“Sustainability is high on the agenda. GVT helps us to achieve those targets.”