Starting out as a one-man business in 1990, Van Moer Logistics evolved from a carrier into a large logistics service provider and in the past few years has experienced spectacular growth. Jo van Moer, the founder – owner of the company and chairman of its management committee, says: “Our immense growth was causing some growing pains. It was one of the reasons why we asked Accezz to optimise our processes.”
Building up from scratch – twice
Jo van Moer, the son of a farmer, started his own transport company almost 30 years ago in Melsele with a 15-year-old rickety truck. He says, “My then girlfriend, Anne Verstraeten, now my wife, first worked at the driver’s desk at Riga Natie. She then moved to Melsele and brought in the customers.” By working together, the couple built up everything from scratch.
“We’ve had our fair share of difficulties,” explains Jo. “Our first warehouse and home burned down completely in 1997. We lived in a caravan for 18 months and started all over again. In 2008, we moved to Zwijndrecht. During the crisis, we had to pull out all the stops. But these kind of setbacks make you stronger. We almost hit rock bottom, so we are really proud of where we are now.”
Three years ago, the firm had a team of 550. Today, there are 1,200 employees. Jo says, “Because we have grown so fast, the organisation sometimes squeaks and creaks. Faced with various organisational challenges, I decided to take a good look at our operations with Accezz.”
Accezz focused on identifying the various processes and setting up a new management system for our cleaning and repair division and the Brasil warehouse. Productivity improvements were implemented and staffing levels are now better aligned with the work volume.
Passion for people
As a result of the project with Accezz, the focus within the company shifted. Jo describes what happened: “In our warehouse, we had to get a better operational and administrative handle on the specific quality requirements of our customers. We now run our operations tightly on the basis of quality KPIs.”
Accezz also set up a 5S system to enhance order and tidiness. During the second phase, Accezz focused entirely on the shop floor. Jo states, “This is the best approach to implement change – 100% on the work floor, together with the people!”
Jo has a great deal of passion for both his company and his employees. He still tries to spend time on the shop floor to keep in touch with his staff, the firm’s foundations, and says, “It has become more difficult due to the hustle and bustle of business, but I still regularly do my rounds within the company.”
As a company experiences growth, it is only natural that additional workers are required. According to Jo, however, the current labour market is problematic: “Everyone is fishing in the same pond, hoping to attract the best employees. We see many personnel changes. On top of that, due to mobility issues it is difficult to get to Antwerp. Securing results is trickier when new people are coming in all the time.”
Although Jo is delighted with the improvements Accezz has implemented, he realises they need to be embedded. With this in mind, Accezz recently carried out an audit and made a number of recommendations. Jo adds, “We will continue to follow things up with Accezz and the audit will be repeated in a few months.”
After a period of strong growth, Jo is fully aware that, to ensure continued prosperity, there is a need to slow down, create stability within the company and enjoy what has been achieved. He finishes by saying, “During my New Year speech, this is exactly what I told the staff: we have to consolidate our position. But now, halfway through the year, we are moving full speed ahead again towards further growth.”