De Boer Group has swiftly developed from a local transport company into a global logistics service provider. Large international trading companies, retailers and e-commerce companies are profiting from an innovative approach to managing their freight flows from Asia to the front door of the consumer. Real-time overview via Star Flow Supply Chain from Yellowstar forms the basis for the smartest way of organising, combining and delivering goods 24/7. "We offer clients a one-stop shop for the coordination of their entire supply chain."
- 24/7 real-time insight into the supply chain
- Optimal service provision to clients
- Efficient organisation of transport flows
- Flawless handling of e-fulfilment
- Ability to adapt at any time
- Substantial cost savings
The De Boer Group is a family business that was founded in the late 1930s by the grandfather of the three brothers who are currently at the helm. For decades, the company was purely focused on transport from A to B. Marcel de Boer: " However, as the last link you are especially vulnerable. Clients do not really see you as a partner. Besides, our ambitions went beyond just transport." This is why the road to expanding our service provision was set in motion around 2010. These days, the Boer Group takes care of the entire goods flow for a large number of reputable clients, from the factory to the final delivery to the end user. "Step by step, we have evolved from a transporter to an all-round logistics service provider, active in several countries on various continents."
As activities such as forwarding, warehousing and fulfilment/e-commerce grew, so did the need for supply chain management and 4PL services. De Boer: "The expansion of activities brought new responsibilities along with it. We do not drive containers around, we transport goods. Our role is to facilitate clients in having their unique articles (SKUs) available at the right time and in the right place. The client sees us as an extension of their business, not as an exporter. We are constantly working with them to come up with ideas and offer advice. Our product is no longer a matter of transport alone, but full-service throughout the whole supply chain. Worldwide, from the transport of several containers to the fulfilment of that single ordered item to the consumer's front door. In this respect, when you are active in so many different countries, it pays to work with local specialists. They don’t necessarily have to be a blue truck or a De Boer warehouse.
Insight into the entire supply chain
"In order to manage the often complex individual supply chains of our client as effectively as possible, we sought contact with Yellowstar," De Boer continues. "The basis of the Star Flow Supply Chain product fits in very neatly with our requirements and our ambitions. The client wants us to manage the supply chain for them in a transparent way down to the article level. To achieve this, we set out on a two-year path of innovation together with Yellowstar. It was a huge project, involving a great deal of work on the drawing board to design a new structure for our organisation. Extra automation requires a totally different way of working. We took our employees with us step by step in the professionalisation effort that was required. But we have also, for instance, implemented a new Warehouse Management System (WMS)."
With the roll-out of the Star Flow Supply Chain and the translation of this into its own Insight4PL product, the Boer Group is taking the next step towards maturity as a chain manager. "The type of clientele we work for wants to have their logistics completely taken care of. From individual articles to full containers, they want to have total insight into the supply chain. Thanks to Star Flow Supply Chain, we can keep an eye on everything via Insight4PL. The digitalisation that has been implemented gives us complete control."
Linked to existing systems
Star Flow Supply Chain is linked by De Boer Group to its own Forwarder Management System (FMS), Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Transport Management System (TMS). What's more, the company can now link to the management system of any local specialist it works with. Each step in the supply chain makes the Yellowstar application visible in a central place. The client and their suppliers are also connected to Star Flow Supply Chain for this reason. Each process starts with the client entering a purchase order into the system. Their suppliers subsequently input the status of ongoing orders into the system. In combination with maritime and overland transport organised by the De Boer Group itself, all this data gives real-time insight into the entire supply chain. Adjustments can be made at any time. The Boer Group can even see far in advance when it is going to be busy.
Management based on stock
The Boer Group does more with Star Flow Supply Chain. Ultimately, it is all about the end customer of the client never having to miss out. This is primarily why the WMS is linked to the system. This way, the company has a complete overview in the Star Flow Supply Chain, starting with the situation at the (Asian) supplier and the goods that are on their way from there up to and including the actual stocks in the European warehouses as well as the lead times. Management is based on KPI agreements with the client about minimum stock levels, own knowledge about the latest transit times in the logistics chain, etc. This enables the company to manage the cargo flows proactively for the client.
Sparring partner for clients
The De Boer Group is now a real sparring partner for its clients. De Boer: "We always discuss the parameters available in detail with our clients. These provide us with a good grip on the situation. We base how we fine-tune supply chains even further on these parameters. What, for example, is the right level of stock? After all, stock is capital. If something happens upstream in the supply chain, it has an immediate knock-on effect on the stock. And where should stock be kept? How fast does an article sell in a particular region? Do we need to switch things up in North Holland or in Limburg? What consequences does it have for the supply chain if sales (Amazon - retail - e-commerce) in France go twice as fast as those in Germany? How quickly can we respond? We always do a sanity check first. For example, if a location can only handle a maximum of twenty containers per day or store 50,000 pallets, it makes no sense to send more in that direction. If more is needed after all, it is advisable to find this out as soon as possible. In consultation with the client, we can then re-route it in good time if needed. Star Flow Supply Chain offers us the insight to adjust the controls for any change anywhere in the supply chain. But also to advise the client about what the right moment is to reorder. Insight4PL shows exactly how much of each article there is and where it is in the total supply chain."
Also for e-fulfilment
From a growing number of its own e-fulfilment centres in currently three countries, the De Boer Group provides complete handling of online orders for both large and small e-commerce companies all over Europe. The same also applies to this e-fulfilment service: insight from Star Flow Suply Supply Chain is the basis for keeping stock levels well-managed 24/7 via Insight4PL and being able to restock them on time from other locations. De Boer: "E-fulfilment is really top-class sport and it completes our range of services even further. Based on our data, articles are always ready for delivery in the right quantity."
De Boer is also enthusiastic about what the collaboration with Yellowstar means for his company. "We wanted a system that goes above & beyond. Star Flow Supply Chain gives us a firm grip on the supply chain. Based on the available parameters, we are able to make optimal plans, adapt them where necessary and set up processes for the client in a smarter and more efficient way."