These are some of the advices that Eddy Van Put suggests our Coop members before he is retiring from Boschmans Steinacher – a Coop member in Antwerp, Belgium. He has been working for this company for 45 years and he would like to extend his gratitude to both Boschmans Steinacher’s team and the Coop members for their long years of association.
Improved work process efficiency, a stronger network of reliable partners, and the synergy achieved by the merger of two winning teams are just some of the factors responsible for the success of Boschmans Steinacher. In this interview, he tells us about his long years of experience with Boschmans Steinacher, the challenges they faced together, and the lessons learnt from so many years in this sector.
Q. What would you miss the most about the freight forwarding industry?
A. Logistics require a wide knowledge which needs to be updated very frequently because of the exigencies of time and the ever-changing rules and regulations. Being in this industry had been a rewarding experience the most attractive part of which was the chance to learn and expand my knowledge and capabilities. The main things I will be missing about my career are the network meetings and the personal contacts with all the stakeholders such as the customers, agents, and suppliers from all over the world. I like to travel and meet people. I prefer personal contact far more than all the sophisticated web conferences.
Q. What has been your most difficult challenge?
A. I remember the numerous challenges we had to cope with especially the ones about the last-minute orders. For example, I remember moving 60 MT of chocolate by air to Australia on very short notice for Christmas and organizing the return of a damaged high-value heavy lift OOG first shipment of a new customer. However, the most challenging project had been the timely delivery of antiques meant for a fine arts exhibition. We had to convince the customs and authorities to release the shipments and we got the cargo inspected right at the exhibition stand or else the visitors would have definitely missed the show.
Q. How working as a freight forwarder has contributed to your life both personally and professionally speaking?
A. It has substantially enriched my worldview. The numerous worldwide contacts and the destination and origin of shipments have taught me that the world is much more than the street I am living on. Because of this industry I came to understand the long and complex journey of every product we use.
Q. Which is the most important thing you’ve learned from the industry?
A. One of the things I’ve learned and understood is the complexity of the supply chain. There are so many issues involved while moving a cargo which is why I fully understand why at times the shipment doesn’t get delivered as scheduled.
“After completing my 45th year in this
company, I’m very confident about its
future. The merger is
sure to add to the core values of our company which are flexibility, personalization,
Q. How do you think Coop’s Annual Meetings can contribute to forging relationships?
A. As I said before, nothing can replace the personal contacts we establish by meeting people face to face. Apart from the one-to-one meetings, sharing lunch and dinner provides an informal way to know your partner better and getting aware of his/her core values which undoubtedly gets reflected in their companies. After all, one is looking for long-term relationships which can only be founded on values like respect, confidence, transparency, and reliability.
Q. Tell us a funny anecdote you remember about your work as a freight forwarder.
A. One of the anecdotes I remember is a random inspection ordered by customs of an ISO tank containing a very dangerous liquid. Things were not computerized at that time and once we explained to them that they could check it at their own risk, the container was immediately released without any inspection whatsoever.
Q. What advice would you share with Coop members?
A. If you are looking for long-term relationships then make sure to invest in more than just 1 year of membership. It takes a while to build confidence as we are all aware of. Also, attend the Annual Meetings which is the best place to forge relationships. Be open and transparent with your partners because together you’re strong. Use each other’s strength and provide the remuneration for the performed job instead of squeezing the lemon. It is after all the customer who will pay for the services rendered by both of you.
Q. How do you see the future for the company BoschmansSteinacher ever since it merged in January 2018?
A. After my 45th year at this company, I’m very confident about its future. The merger is sure to add to the core values of our company which are flexibility, personalization, respect, and client-centric services. My company which is steered by professional management with a human touch is fully prepared for the future. If you have any shipments from/to Antwerp, do not hesitate to contact the BoschmansSteinacher’s team: