In 2019 Yellowstar existed for 10 years. That was a reason to look back briefly with first-time customer Vonk & Co and to focus on current logistics trends and IT developments. Responsible for IT and member of the board Stephan Vonk: “Together with Yellowstar, we continue to improve our processes and therefore our services.”

Vonk & Co specializes in the logistics of white goods. The transporter takes care of the distribution of more than one million devices throughout the Netherlands every year, both to retailers, retail trade and directly to consumers. Vonk & Co has developed step by step a successful logistics concept focused on the multichannel and omnichannel world. With Yellowstar as a software partner since 2009. Stephan Vonk remembers: “Immediately after Frank Erftemeijer started with Yellowstar, he was on our doorstep. Utilizing Yellowstar's expertise, we have continued to grow in our logistics and IT from that time on. It is a certain bond of trust that is created. You start with a customer portal, then an order portal is added, thereafter a charter portal, etc. We continue to build from our existing warehouse management system. Together with Yellowstar, we continue to improve our processes and therefore our services.”

One push on the button

For Vonk & Co, IT is primarily supportive and ultimately ensures that employees are getting time for other and new things. A good example is the automatic registration of all orders to customers every morning for the past five years with one press on the button. Before that time, half was sent by e-mail and half by fax. Vonk: “This has given our people the time to check the new orders that arrive all day on accuracy. In this way we prevent our clients from having too many costs and our drivers from getting grumpy because they can’t deliver. The end customer is in addition happy that his order is always exactly on time. Therefore, we go through everything well during order entry and order processing. You really earn that back.”

Real front runner

Vonk remains modest, but the organization of multichannel and omnichannel logistics makes the company a real front runner. Large white goods manufacturers regularly send carriers from other European regions to introduce them to the approach of the Tiel carrier. “The Netherlands is trend-setting in 24-hour and same-day deliveries anyway. Our clients believe that our communication from customer to end-user and the visibility that we create serve as an example for other countries. But we mainly look at ourselves. I think we are doing well. Even during the recession, we have kept the quality high and never had to fire people. That resulted eventually in great new assignments.” Thereby Vonk & Co cherishes the family spirit of a family business. “It is a USP for us when we are hiring staff. But also to our customers: the retail, the retail trade and the consumer. Every time a reliable person is on their doorstep. Not an unknown hired employee, but a really trusted person.”

Digital signature

Vonk sees two important developments with a major impact in the near future: “Sustainability is high on our agenda. We want to get rid of the paper waybill. The digital signature is important. We can then also share more information real time. Also, for example, by taking a photo immediately in the event of a damage or refusal. The settlement is faster then. We also want to become even more transparent. We all meet that together with Yellowstar. There are ideas, but how is still a matter of consultation and costs.”

CO2 discount?

When asked about current logistics trends, being able to deliver quickly is the most important for Vonk. “For a while, stock reduction was also a trend. But now stocks are rising again, precisely because people want to be able to deliver faster in these economically favourable times. The 24-hour economy is becoming increasingly palpable. I just don't see a link between fast delivery with a lot of time options for the consumer, while on the other hand we are supposed to save CO2. The last one is certainly also a trend. So why does the customer have to pay extra now for faster delivery? On the other hand, should we not give the customer a kind of CO2 discount to be able to deliver later?”

The most important trends according to Stephan Vonk

- Being able to deliver multichannel and omnichannel quickly

- CO2 targets create a need for chain cooperation

- Attention for securing IT systems

- Increasingly greater chain transparency

More chain cooperation

CO2 reduction is also an important trigger for further chain cooperation, he thinks. “Although everyone in logistics fears sharing his data, the current CO2 objectives are really sending us towards more cooperation with our fellow competitors. No matter how exciting this is, that will be the future. It makes quite a difference whether you have one truck drive into the town or twenty vans. Because even though those vans are electric, the electricity grid cannot handle that and that also applies to the road network.”

Efficient links

In terms of IT, collaboration means realizing links. Vonk & Co is constantly expanding its overall portal for this. Everyone can connect and request information (via web and EDI) in the form and at the time that suits them best. Vonk: “That is a challenge. In the retail sector, for example, each of our clients has its own portal. We must always connect to this separately; that does not necessarily make it easier. Internally within Vonk & Co, we are far to really being able to share all information from producer to delivery. We strive for complete chain registration. In addition, we are also partly dependent on others and we still have to implement the digital waybill.”

Security of an important IT trend

For Vonk, the most important IT trend is the focus on system security at the moment. “That is by far the top for me. Last summer we had a ransomware attack at Vonk & Co. Thanks to our good security and back-up, we were able to tackle that very quickly. Within five hours we were operational again and almost nothing was lost. That must be; if we were out for two weeks, like Maersk, I could say goodbye to my customers.”

Plan yourself a smile

“As long as everything works, I can laugh about it,” Stephan finally translates the Yellowstar motto "Plan yourself a smile" into his own situation. “IT is very important. Five years ago, we were able to submit all orders to our customers for the first time with one touch on the button. When that button worked for the first time, we had a big smile on our face. Then you get used to it quickly and you want that more becomes possible. We are constantly looking for the following improvements.”