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Are shorter chains the new normal?

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Corné van de Voort
Key Account Manager
More articles by Corné van de Voort

Shortening chains and smart organisation of logistics operations

The Netherlands is slowly starting up again. But in a new reality. For a long time, almost everything was standing still, except for the creativity of entrepreneurs. This is growing explosively! Entrepreneurs are inventing new ways to stay in business. The focus is often on shortening the chain and designing the logistics operation in a smarter way to save costs. Shortening the chain is not something you can do ‘on the side’. It demands a lot from the organisation, both in the short and long term.

What initiatives are there? And are these temporary projects or will short chains become the new reality? What does that mean for your logistics operation? Let’s take a look at a few examples of short chains that have emerged recently.

Local food producers deliver to your home

With the closure of restaurants, many local food producers and farmers see their sales channels for bread, vegetables, fruit, dairy and meat disappear in one blow. In order to get rid of these surpluses and boost their turnover, they are working together locally under the motto #supportyourlocals. The consumer can order a box with products from participating food producers in the area and gets it delivered to his or her home.

Flower growers deliver at home

Flower growers, too, are in heavy weather. Only ten percent of the flowers, the Netherlands’ third most important export product, are still being sold. Several growers are now selling their flowers to consumers at cost price. They are assisted in this by parcel services that deliver the flowers to their homes free of charge. And by online platforms that promote them free of charge so that the growers can reach consumers more easily.

Office coffee at home

And what about coffee companies that supply the catering industry and businesses? The closure of the hotel and catering industry and the obligation to work from home have suddenly closed their sales channel. One of these coffee companies, in consultation with its customers, now sends the coffee directly to its employees. The employee can simply order the desired coffee himself online on a specially designed website, at his employer’s expense.

Together for a shorter chain

All these initiatives have one common factor: creatively shortening the chain. And there is more to it than meets the eye. A grower or farmer is, of course, not at all used to sending small quantities to consumers; they normally send in bulk. And running a web shop on top of that is also quite a challenge for an organisation. Yet there is often more possible than you think. As long as you have a structured approach from the start. We saw this before the corona crisis in the development of industrial packaging. The prototype phase is being skipped more and more often. I previously wrote this blog about the impact and possibilities of such a shortened process.

What opportunities do you see in these times?

Are you also considering shortening the chain or cooperating more intensively with new chain partners? How do you approach that? And how do you package the products you send to the consumer yourself? If anything has become clear in these times, it is how dependent we all are on optimally functioning logistics systems. It is therefore important to keep a cool head and to organise your logistics process as optimally as possible.

We would be happy to tell you more and help you discover new opportunities. Ask us your question by filling in the form below or contact us directly.

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