In the dynamic world of food logistics, achieving success relies on the ability to promptly meet customer demands while maintaining impeccable product quality. This challenge is well-familiar to Agral, a Belgium-based company specializing in packaging butter. To tackle this challenge head-on, they forged a partnership with DACHSER Belgium Food Logistics in early 2022. Laurent Sillien, the Finance and Logistics Director and Secretary-General of Agral, provides us with an exclusive insight into this collaboration.
At the beginning of 2022, Agral entered into a partnership with DACHSER Belgium Food Logistics.
Founded in 1971, Agral, a Belgian food company specializing in packaging butter, has built a stellar reputation through unwavering commitment to craftsmanship, quality, and product integrity. They supply both retail giants under their private labels and their own brands, including Les Coteaux, Lucien Massaux, and Jean-Marie Cabay. Furthermore, they serve the Belgian (40% of their volume), European (40%), and international (20%) markets.
A winning choice
Agral's unyielding dedication to quality is at the core of their business philosophy, reflected in stringent standards imposed on their partners. In pursuit of enhanced operational efficiency, the company favors a single logistics provider per destination. However, during the peak period from October to mid-December 2021, persistent quality issues in Germany and Austria prompted a reevaluation of the logistics strategy for these crucial markets.
Consequently, the selection of a new partner capable of ensuring both product quality and on-time delivery became paramount. The criteria were clear: an excellent service level and a strong, extensive network covering both countries. After extensive online research and an initial meeting, DACHSER Belgium Food Logistics emerged as the ideal match. They can offer comprehensive solutions for temperature-controlled transportation throughout Europe via the European Food Network, with fast standardized transit times and continuous track & trace capabilities. The collaboration commenced in the spring of 2022, shortly after the launch of DACHSER Food Logistics in Belgium. Although Agral was entirely unfamiliar with the logistics provider at the time, the passage of time has indisputably proven this to be a wise and successful choice.
A new organization for greater optimization
Responsiveness has always been a central challenge in Agral's logistics operations, as it is for all players in the food sector. The time interval between receiving a customer order and completing the delivery is exceedingly brief, providing only a week and a half of leeway. This tight timeframe places significant constraints on the company's ability to efficiently plan production, maintain stringent quality controls, and coordinate transportation. In the demanding world of retail, where service quality is paramount to meet customer expectations, any delay is considered unacceptable.
Agral is a Belgian food company specialising in butter packaging.
To address this challenge, DACHSER Belgium Food Logistics implemented a customized strategy to optimize Agral's supply chain by introducing fixed delivery times for Germany and Austria. This allowed the company to plan production more efficiently, minimize surpluses, and eliminate the need for additional personnel.
Over time, the implementation of these refined processes has yielded tangible results. Agral's service level, which stood at approximately 70% by the end of 2021, has now surged to nearly 95%. This significant improvement has played a pivotal role in strengthening the company's reputation among new customers and restoring the trust of those who had experienced service disappointments at the end of 2021. Both companies, steadfastly committed to continuous improvement and top-tier quality, remain dedicated to sustaining this positive trajectory.
A unique partnership
The trust forged among the teams at DACHSER Belgium Food Logistics and Agral has led to enhanced problem-solving capabilities and the ability to accommodate last-minute orders. This successful collaboration is grounded in a special relationship between both partners, characterized by mutual attentiveness and joint problem-solving. "On several occasions, we faced orders requiring urgent delivery. Initially, we were unsure if we could meet them promptly, but DACHSER Belgium Food Logistics consistently provided rapid solutions, thanks to its extensive network and wide range of products", explains Laurent Sillien. Gohar Matinyan, Sales Executive at DACHSER Belgium Food Logistics, adds: "Our thriving partnership with Agral relies on two essential pillars. Firstly, digitization, utilizing tools like ActiveReport and eLogistics, enables us to provide high-quality services by promoting proactive communication and offering our customers real-time visibility into their shipments. Additionally, our success is built on the strong bonds we've cultivated. Mutual attention to our needs strengthens our collaboration. Agral serves as the perfect example of an ideal customer by delivering well-prepared pallets, streamlining loading, and minimizing risks. This synergy between digitization and human relationships forms the solid foundation of our joint success."
This successful cooperation is based on the close collaboration of both partners.
Laurent Sillien envisions a promising future for the collaboration between Agral and DACHSER Belgium Food Logistics. With the support of their logistics provider, the company aims to continue increasing market share, boosting sales volumes to existing customers, and maintaining high standards of quality and service.
In conclusion, this collaboration powerfully illustrates the profound impact that selecting the right logistics partner can have on a company's performance and reputation, particularly within such a demanding sector. It underscores the pivotal roles played by collaboration, trust, and an unwavering dedication to quality in the ongoing pursuit of supply chain optimization.