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Temperature-controlled transport

The logistics network of DSM has grown in size and complexity and the company decided to review its European road transportation activities. IDS Supply Chain Executors was chosen to rationalize DSM’s distribution activities and to implement a transport management system (TMS).

Interview with Han Koolen, DSM Sourcing Department

Industrial giant DSM has evolved from being a supplier of commodity chemicals into a global science-based company. The geographical spread has widened and clients are ordering smaller quantities. The number of shipments as well as the carrier network has increased tremendously. Category Manager of Regional Distribution Han Koolen: “We handle all contracts for transport, primarily to DSM’s customers, within mainland Europe and the UK. That covers most modalities but especially road and intermodal.” The company increasingly has to work with smaller and more specialized carriers. “Our local production facilities and warehouses noticed that their carrier network was becoming more complex. They were having to work with new and different carriers to new destinations”, Han continues. “They were losing grip on the transport operation, plus it was becoming very time-consuming for them. In terms of scheduling pick-ups and loading and in terms of checking invoices, handling any complaints and so on.”

It is an advantage that IDS doesn’t have any transport assets of its own
One of the benefits of IDS is neutrality. “Some of the other providers of Control Tower solutions also offer their own transport services. We require increasingly smaller and more specialized carriers to handle our goods flows. Some of those carriers can be reluctant to work with other transport companies since there is a greater risk of a conflict of interests.”

DSM signed 150 contracts with logistics and supply chain partners. “From there IDS takes care of the management of all operational transport activities – starting with inputting the contract details into the IDS TMS for us. We book all customer orders into SAP. Details are sent to the IDS TMS electronically and then it’s over to IDS to schedule, arrange and manage the transport.” As well as reducing the workload for DSM in terms of transport planning, IDS handles the invoices too. “The carriers send their invoices directly to IDS where they are checked. This relieves us of a lot of work as checking invoices can be very complex and time-consuming. It’s easy to make pricing mistakes, plus all kinds of surcharges are applicable such as for waiting times and rush jobs. IDS even pays the carriers on our behalf. I receive a single invoice at the end of each month.”

Focus on efficiency potential
In addition to easing the operational pressure on DSM, IDS offers strategic benefits. Han: “The TMS application improves supply chain visibility by giving us better insight into all our transport movements. IDS analyses the data in the system, helping us to spot anything unusual and point out efficiency potential.”