It takes some figuring out, but once you get the hang of it, you see how well put together the model is. We talked to Louw van der West, one of the owners of DTC, Koning & Drenth and Henk Smid Transport about the work, moving floors and options.
Group synergy offers customer benefits
In the North of the Netherlands, the K&DTC Group is a well-known company. But in the rest of the Netherlands too, there is a lot of influence from Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. After all, with the companies that fall under the group, their geographical location and the transport flows they process together, they can hardly be ignored.
The group's management is formed by four men. Sober and incisive, characteristics that also run like a thread through the management of the company. Louw van der West is one of the four. In the canteen of Kraker Trailers he tells his story, while his colleague Sybren Rotteveel checks out the new trailers they are collecting today.
Loose goods, waste and dedicated transport with a mixed fleet
"The K&DTC group is coordinating here," Louw begins his explanation, "with DTC in Drachten, they do international transport. Specialised in waste and secondary fuels, but we also transport all kinds of other products, with a mixed fleet of moving floors, tautliners and container trucks. Henk Smid is based in Coevorden and handles loose goods with moving-floor trailers, mainly for their partner and co-owner N+P Group from Nieuw Bergen. They mainly transport secondary fuels within the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Finally, there is Koning & Drenth in Beerta, specialising in loose goods as well as waste in many shapes and sizes. This fleet also includes many moving-floor trailers, as well as tippers, container trucks and tautliners. K&D carries out dedicated transport for a number of customers, whereby a combination is fully adapted to the transport requirement.
We bring the maintenance of almost all our companies' vehicles to Koning & Drenth Truck & Trailerservice, which is also a depot of STS. K&D Truck & Trailerservice does about 90% maintenance on the K&DTC group's own vehicles, the remaining 10% we do for others," says Louw.
This set-up offers many advantages. The companies join forces where necessary to offer the customer a complete package and deploy each other's network. The result is a group that can carry out a large package of (bulk) transport in (Northern) Netherlands.
Open and direct approach works best
Louw is direct and open in how he speaks and acts. This directness characterises him. "There are four of us running the companies. No extra layers in the management, just the four of us, all with our own responsibilities. Suppose my colleague who manages the work with the tautliners says we need to buy x number of them. Then we do that. Who am I to say "are you sure?" and go and calculate the whole thing. I trust him to assess the situation correctly and act accordingly. We are alert in our management, but we don't keep tabs on each other," he says.
A standard vehicle that is fundamentally good
They treat their people in the same way within K&DTC. "Everything is negotiable. We also have little turnover. Once in a while there isn’t a good fit, which happens with a different way of thinking. We express that too. Sometimes you can't work it out and then we say goodbye to each other. But always with the agreement of "would you like to try again in a while? If 'the head is in the right place', you are always welcome." This is also how Louw and his companions deal with suppliers. "We have been driving with Kraker since 2008. In the period that followed, we bought moving-floor trailers from several manufacturers. In 2017, we got in touch with John Hesselink (Kraker salesman, ed.) and since then we have been buying almost solely from Kraker. We buy our moving floor trailers through him and the sale of our used vehicles also goes through John."
Louw is delighted with Kraker's quality. "We prefer to buy as standard as possible. A vehicle that is already so well put together as a standard model that it suffices. Of course, we have options on our vehicles, but we try to keep them to the bare minimum." And that requirement, a standard vehicle that is just right in the basics, Louw found in Kraker's K-Force.
The options on the DTC trailers form a package that has been put together especially for them and is tailored to waste transport in all its variations. "In addition, we do of course have the visual options, which make the picture more appealing. Our drivers like to be on the road in a nice truck. So we choose Alcoas and other lighting, among other things. For several years now, the moving-floor trailers have been supplied with a reversing camera. Because safety is our top priority!".
On the day of the interview, Louw and Sybren pick up 2 vehicles in Axel. These are part of a series of 7 and intended for Henk Smid Transport. All trailers delivered now are standard K-Forces with the "DTC" configuration. Nothing but praise about the bolted concept from Louw. But he did not expect otherwise. As he said before: "Kraker always delivers quality and it will be no different now.”