KEEPING THE SUPPLY CHAIN ALIVE
Chemical distribution is a highly complex and multi-faceted business comprising purchase and storage as well as logistics solutions. While Brenntag develops its business through a dedicated sales and marketing organization, it is also essential to implement smooth logistics processes.
Brenntag operates a global network of over 550 locations serving around 185,000 customers. One of our largest sites is the one in Rotterdam. Located right at the port, it plays a strategic role within Brenntag’s EMEA region.
The Brenntag operations in Rotterdam perform a variety of functions. Firstly, the site serves as a hub within the Brenntag network. On the one hand, it supplies solvents such as xylene, toluene, acetone and ethyl acetate to local customers in the Netherlands; on the other, it provides products to other warehouses within the Brenntag network in Europe and globally. The site focuses on the bulk breaking, mixing and blending and filling of a wide range of solvents – over 180,000 tonnes a year in total. The highly automated filling lines enable the solvents to be placed into different container sizes, from five millilitres for hospitals or laboratories up to 25 tonnes of a chemical. Aafke Dijksma, Operations Manager Netherlands, is responsible for all operations at the Rotterdam site as well as for our locations in Zwijndrecht, Moerdijk and Amsterdam. She leads a diverse team of plant managers, transport managers, quality, health, safety and environment managers, supervisors and truck drivers.
The different parts of the business at a Brenntag site are as varied as the customers’ requirements and include production planning, transport coordination and logistics, quality control, documentation and customs clearance. However, safety always takes priority over all other business activities.
“Keeping the supply chain alive” is one of the core tasks of Aafke Dijksma and her team. They focus consistently on optimizing the production process by adding value to the supply chains of both customers and suppliers. The goal is to provide a full service package.
“Our goal is to add value to the supply chain of our customers and suppliers by providing a reliable distribution network. Added value can come from diverse service offerings, safety and increased efficiency. For some major suppliers, we simplify the supply chain by taking over the complete handling of their products. We store the bulk products in our storage tanks, fill them into drums or other packaging units and independently process the customer orders for the supplier. This also includes just-in-time delivery globally,” says Aafke Dijksma.
Brenntag combines a dense global network with outstanding local execution. We strive to increase speed and flexibility for Brenntag and its customers. To increase efficiency, the Rotterdam site is focused on just-in-time deliveries and providing different products at the same time. If a customer places an order before 10.00 a.m. in the morning, the team is able to deliver the products the next day, a level of service quite unusual in chemical distribution. Also, Brenntag operates trucks with different compartments, meaning that up to eight products can be delivered to the customer on one trip. In addition, Brenntag uses a delivery telemetry system in the Netherlands. “For some customers, we have implemented a delivery telemetry system in their tanks. Our sales representatives, who in any case are in close contact with their customers, are able to monitor the filling level of the tanks and send a sales order to our ERP systems should the customer run out of product,” explains Aafke Dijksma. Close interaction and cooperation among the different Brenntag departments is essential to ensuring that these processes run smoothly.
The Brenntag site is
strategically located right
at the port of Rotterdam.
While the Rotterdam site is an important node in the Brenntag logistics network, Aafke Dijksma is also aware of the importance of people management. She is always in close contact with the whole team and mindful of the responsibility that her position as Operations Manager entails.
“Chemical distribution is a ‘people business’ and relationships of trust are key to success. We can only serve our partners’ requirements if we have satisfied people in a highly motivated team.”