Apart from reliable service, communication is one of the cornerstones of good customer service. This is why Transuniverse pays a lot of attention to continuously optimising its operations, with the aim of making communication with customers faster and more accurate and answering their questions faster. Operations Director Jo Vormezeele explains what measures Transuniverse recently took to further improve that operation.
Good communication with customers starts with good communication within the company. “That is why it is essential that the different departments do not work as islands. If you organise departments by country or region, you have the advantage of concentrating knowledge and experience. But the other side of the coin is that there is too little mutual communication. That is why a few years ago we transformed the organisation by bringing all countries together in two departments: Import and Export. Meanwhile, we noticed that customers’ expectations in terms of ‘customer service’ and communication were getting higher and higher. So we went a step further in optimising the organisation,” Jo explains.
This recently translated into a repositioning of Export/Import activities, the creation of a single administrative cell and the implementation of a new planning tool.
“We now work with three entities: two operational teams that handle both exports and imports per region and an administrative cell serving those two teams. Thanks to this repositioning, we can not only increase employee involvement but also achieve more uniformity in our operations. So that will benefit internal communication,” says Jo.
“Team 1, led by Alexander Bekaert, focuses on Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the UK. Team 2, led by Niels Vereecken, focuses on Turkey, Greece, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the Maghreb. In the administrative cell, led by Hilde De Graeve, we have combined all support activities. Not only the purely administrative tasks, but also customer service and services for the large accounts. This means that customers now have a single point of contact,” he explains.
“This new organisation makes it possible to respond much faster to specific customer queries. We have also appointed two ‘coaches’ within the administrative cell who support the employees in this: Jelle Delesie for the aspects related to customer service and Margarida Miguel for those related to operations,” says Jo.
New planning tool
An additional component in the optimisation of operations is the implementation of a new planning tool. This will go live in May and will, among other things, enable better coordination of round trips. “Although we have been using Navision for years, in specific cases the planners still sometimes have to organise the transports manually. The new tool makes it possible to further automate planning.
An additional advantage is that it refreshes all information every 30 seconds. So with this we not only achieve more efficiency but also time savings,” Jo emphasises.
“This allows us to be more responsive and to communicate with the customer much more quickly and accurately. This extra automation also enables better ‘track & trace’. In fact, the new customer portal also plays a major role in this faster and improved communication,” he adds.
Scanning of all goods
Incidentally, this optimisation was preceded last year by an efficiency drive in organisation and communication, in particular the introduction of scanning in the cross-dock warehouse. Manual loading and unloading lists were abolished and all incoming and outgoing goods have since been scanned. This has already resulted in much greater visibility of flows, as well as a smoother flow and an improvement in quality by more than 40 per cent.
“An additional advantage of scanning is that customers can track their goods not only during transport, but also internally in the cross-dock centre. He or she can therefore see in real time whether his boxes or pallets have already been received, whether they are ready for dispatch and whether they have already left,” says Warehouse Manager Christophe Malfait.
Recently, scanning has also been extended to the logistics operations in Wondelgem.” This allows customers who entrust us with the storage and picking of their goods to better monitor stocks and their status in real time as well,” he adds.