INTERVIEW LOGISTIC BUSINESS
Dutch sortation specialist VanRiet recently joined forces with US giant MHS. Paul Hamblin finds out what will change for the company.
It’s been all change at VanRiet over the past 12 months – first, the announcement that the Dutch sortation expert was joining forces with US materials handling giant MHS, then the news that, feeling his work for the company now done, entrepreneurial and extrovert CEO Rik van den Boog was moving to pastures new.
Mr van den Boog’s departure is a shame for we journalists, for he is unashamedly one of the industry’s great talkers. The good news is that, while the search is in place for a new CEO, VanRiet’s Sales and Marketing Director Kai Ramadhin (photo) is an equally entertaining stand-in.
“Yes, we’re part of a bigger organization, but we will keep doing what we’re good at,” he confides. “Having a big mother and father behind you helps you reach your goals, right?”
That positive parental influence is of course MHS, the US-based megaintegrator based out of Kentucky, not far from 40-football-fields-big UPS Worldport at Louisville Airport.
“MHS are pure integrators, not makers of sorters like VanRiet,” he says. “MHS International was founded when MHS came to Europe in 2018 – VanRiet supplies sorters and conveyors for them,” he adds. Italian former VanRiet competitor OCM is also now a part of the team.
The opportunities for the once-tiny family business are huge, he argues. “We’ve moved from being a product-driven organization to a market-driven organization and now we’ve been through puberty, if I can put it like that. The fact is we’ve only had a marketing department for five years or so – and that tells you something. This company started out the same time as Vanderlande, 75 or so years ago, indeed the two owners knew each other. Mr Vanderlande took a different perspective, a market-driven one, that’s where we’ve been going more recently.”
It means VanRiet can bring extras to the party. “At this point VanRiet is now the most mature organization within MHS international. We have everything in place, we have ERP, mature HR, for instance and we can use our knowledge to help an international organization.”
Not that there has been any lack of focus as this expansion has happened, he points out. “For the past five or six years we’ve really focused on the things we’re good at. We noticed that there are not too many independent shoe sorter suppliers on this planet – so we took advantage of that. And when other integrators are using your stuff, they are an extension of your sales force, they are advocating for you. So we make sure we have good relations with big integrator companies like Siemens and Knapp.”
He thinks VanRiet can present its customers with a unique offering. “Our HC shoe sorter is one of the best in the world – I would say that, I’m biased – but seriously, I think it has to do with the fact that we are both a systems integrator and a component supplier. By being a systems integrator, you understand up close what sort of issues your customers might face when they integrate your products. The fact that we play both roles works for us.”
Two important improvements have been made to the HC Sorter for the US market – single-sided shoes and the electric divert switch. The sliding shoe sorter is optimized to US specifications based on extensive customer feedback. The sorter of course also remains also available in the existing configuration.
SOURCE: Logistics Business Magazine | May 2019 | Page 44 | www.logisticsbusiness.com