De Vrij Logistics: “With Simply Deliver we are ready for e-commerce”

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Home » De Vrij Logistics: “With Simply Deliver we are ready for e-commerce”

Dutch Logistics service provider De Vrij is in a transition phase towards e-commerce. With more customers asking us to deliver direct to consumer, the number of (small) orders is increasing, demand is becoming more erratic and lead times must be shorter. “This created a huge pressure on the organization,” says CEO Dennis de Vrij. The manual entry of order data became a huge bottleneck in the process. Then the company came into contact with Simply Deliver. “They offered exactly the solution we needed at that time.”

Once started as a transport company, almost a century ago, De Vrij Logistics has evolved into an all-round logistics service provider. From its headquarters in Benthuizen, the Netherlands where it operates 20,000 square meters of warehouse space, it offers a wide range of logistics services such as forwarding, warehousing, distribution and customs activities. “We have our own truck fleet but for many transport activities we deploy charters,” says Dennis de Vrij who manages the company that was founded by his grandfather.

Impact e-commerce

De Vrij has many customers in the non-food wholesale industry for which it provides warehousing and distribution services. “This industry has changed considerably in recent years, due to e-commerce,” he observes. “Consumers no longer buy in physical stores but have their goods delivered to their homes. This is increasingly done by drop shipment directly from the wholesaler, which has a huge impact for us as a logistics company. We were used to deliver mainly in bulk to retail locations, but now we pick orders at item level and have them delivered to the consumer’s home address by parties such as PostNL or DHL.”

Proactive Order entry became bottleneck

The transition to e-commerce has radically changed the dynamics of the company and for Dennis as CEO it’s a real challenge to make his organization ready for that. “Consumers are very demanding as it comes to delivery time. We have to act much faster. At the same time the fragmentation in orders increases our workload exponentially. We have to enter a new delivery address for each individual order while demand is also getting more unpredictable. Where we have for instance an average of 50 orders a day for one customer, on a certain day this number can easily peak to 500 or even more, when there’s a promotional campaign or something else going on. The order picking process itself was not a problem, we have experience with that, but the bottleneck was in the administrative part of the process: entering order data.”

A typo is easily made

The logistics service provider receives most orders by e-mail in the form of a PDF file. All these data had to be entered into the warehouse management system (WMS) by hand. “This was a very vulnerable part in our process,” says Dennis de Vrij. “Of course, I could have hired more staff to handle the peaks, but then these people would have been idle for the most part of their time. A manual process just isn’t scalable. And it’s also prone to errors. Customers use their own article codes which often consist of a long string of characters. A typo is easily made, which as a result slows down the whole process and makes time consuming corrective actions necessary.”

The right solution

Then Dennis de Vrij came into contact with software company Simply Deliver. “I had heard about them but I always associated them with transportation management. Then I found out that they had an application that could solve our problem too: the Automatic Order Input. This is an order entry tool that allows you to automatically transfer unstructured order files to whatever system you want, in our case a WMS. I was pleasantly surprised, this was exactly the solution I needed! And because it is a true cloud solution, is has a pay per use model so I even didn’t have to make a big investment upfront.”

Peace of mind

Just two weeks after he signed on, Simply Deliver had the tool ready to use it for the first customer that De Vrij wanted to automate. “The tool is very easy to use and already after 15 minutes our people knew how to use it. It works great. You just drag an incoming order to the Automatic Order Input tool and in a split second it is processed in the WMS as a warehouse order. Without errors! We now use the cloud solution for the group of customers who do approximately 90% of all the ordering. This has brought tremendous peace of mind to our organization. Even at peak times, because for

Rescue during

In retrospect, he is also very happy with the timing of the project. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of the De Vrij employees had to stay at home, while e-commerce experienced a new peak in demand! Dennis de Vrij: “The Automatic Order Input runs from the cloud so our people could work with it from home. I dare to say now: if we had started with this six months later, we would not have been able to cope with the tremendous workload. I’m really thankful to the people at Simply Deliver that they were able to act so quickly and that we hardly needed any implementation time to get their software live.”

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