Operations is about continuously enhancing the customer experience in terms of speed and reliability, while simultaneously reducing the cost to serve. From that point of view, 2023 was an outstanding year. We achieved historically high product availability and on-time deliveries against lower costs and inventory levels. Besides making efficiency and service-level gains, we improved our sustainability, reinforced employee safety and reduced waste. Martijn Bonte, Chief Operations Officer, and Eline Kemmeren, Manager Product Quality & Compliance, provide some examples.

2023 was a dynamic year in which we continued our journey to create a win-win-win situation in terms of customers, cost structures and inventory levels. This included the introduction of various measures to improve operational efficiency, according to Martijn.

“For example, we invested in new packing streets to reduce our costs, but also grow our capacity. Additionally, we implemented an inbound control tower giving 100% visibility into the deliveries into our warehouses. This has significantly improved our inbound productivity. In early 2023, we ramped up our extended warehouse in France to offer better service to our customers, optimise productivity and expand our capacity for future growth. Moreover, as part of our continuous improvement approach, we actively shared best practices between our warehouses to maximise the benefits of successful process improvements,” he says.

Smaller carbon footprint

Sustainability was another important consideration when making operational improvements. “We’re continuing to reduce our carbon footprint,” adds Martijn. “In recent years, we’ve worked closely with all the carriers in our distribution network on various initiatives to reduce transport miles, improve truck fill rates and use renewable fuels. And internally, after reviewing our energy policies, we’ve invested in solar panels and implemented energy-saving measures such as installing LED lighting and adjusting the warehouse heating.”

“While sustainability was the key driver behind some measures, they have also helped us to save money”

Martijn Bonte

Reducing packaging waste

Packaging-related improvements have had a similar effect. “In some of our warehouses, we reduced our packaging waste by implementing machines that convert used cardboard boxes into filling material,” explains Eline. ”We also invested in packaging machines to cut boxes to the right size so we ship less air. This means that more parcels can fit into each truck, so ultimately fewer trucks are needed – which is good for the environment and also for our cost structure.”

Although compliance is a complex task due to the scope of activities across so many different sectors and geographies, Kramp complies with all the relevant rules and regulations. “In fact, due to our safety-first culture and our commitment to making life easier for customers and suppliers, we often set the bar higher for ourselves than is legally required,” says Eline.

“Our focus on safety and optimalisation often means that we go beyond what is required by law”

Eline Kemmeren

Focus on safety and optimalisation

“For instance, we recently worked with a supplier to improve the safety of a sharp item that posed a risk to our warehouse operatives during order picking,” she states. As another example, Eline mentions the safety datasheets that since 2023 have been uploaded on relevant product pages in the webshop. “This contributes to our safety mindset by giving our warehouse employees easier access to information about the risks associated with handling, storing and shipping the products. In addition, our customers now have product safety-related information at their fingertips whenever they need it. Plus we’re constantly improving our interfaces to make it easier for suppliers to send us updated safety datasheets for their products whenever the regulations change, for example,” she explains.

Proactive approach

“We intend to further build on our strong progress in the coming year. For example, we are setting up a collaborative project with our private-label suppliers to reduce air and plastics in our own sales packaging. We also plan to use FSC-certified cardboard for our transport boxes. Thanks to our continued proactive approach, our customers can depend on us for not only compliant, but also safe products,” concludes Martijn.

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