Nowadays, with its 300 employees and 5 production locations, freight and transport experts VPS in Rotterdam and engineering firm IPS Technology, Meilink is the market leader in the Benelux. Under our ‘Any challenge, any time’ promise, we offer demanding clients an excellent total solution in industrial packaging.
Curious? We are happy to explain!
Nowadays, with its 350 employees and 5 production locations, freight and transport experts VPS in Rotterdam and engineering firm IPS Technology, Meilink is the market leader in the Benelux. Under our ‘Any challenge, any time’ promise, we offer demanding clients an excellent total solution in industrial packaging. With our spearhead of course being the distinctive concept Meilink Chain Solutions. Our innovative motto? Securing Value. However, no matter how much we invest in high-quality innovations: our employees that are driven to the core are the ones that really bring them to life. Our advisers are problem solvers in heart and soul.
Claudine van der Sluys werkt als commercieel medewerker op de binnendienst van Meilink in Schijndel: “Ik ben via een uitzendbureau binnengekomen en werk inmiddels al geruime tijd in vaste dienst als commercieel medewerker. Mijn kerntaak? De afwikkeling van offertes en orders. Ook heb ik regelmatig contact met klanten. Dit werk doen we samen met drie mensen op Verkoop.”
Bijdragen aan Securing Value
“In ons werk zijn we ons heel goed bewust van het thema van Meilink: Securing Value. Ook ons werk draagt er aan bij die belofte aan de klant waar te maken. Wij borgen dat de klant de juiste verpakkingen op het juiste moment ontvangt. Verpakkingen die volledig aan de klanteisen voldoen. Daar gaat uiteraard een traject aan vooraf. We luisteren goed naar de klant om deze zo goed mogelijk te bedienen met de expertise die we in huis hebben.”
Inzet Meilink Chain Solutions
“Klanten geven doorgaans gedetailleerd aan wat ze willen en wij geven daar als team invulling aan via de Meilink Chain Solutions. Eenvoudige aanvragen voor verpakkingen verwerk ik zelf. Is het complexer? Dan gaat de aanvraag via de accountmanager van Meilink naar de mensen achter de Meilink Chain Solution Design. Zo maken we samen het motto ‘Securing Value’ waar.”
Intensieve band met klanten
“We hebben in Schijndel een heel goede sfeer met absoluut een leuk team. Ook bedienen we veel bijzondere klanten. Op den duur, door het intensieve contact, leer je alle klanten beter kennen en raak je ook wat persoonlijker bij elkaar betrokken.”
Albert Jan Visscher is sinds 2014 werkzaam bij Meilink Borculo op de verkoop binnendienst: “Ik ben hiervoor ook werkzaam geweest in de verpakkingen, maar op een andere manier dan Meilink doet. Eveneens heb ik een aantal jaren bij Bafema Verpakkingen gewerkt. Dit bedrijf is op een gegeven overgenomen door Meilink. Overigens was ik op dat moment niet meer bij Bafema in dienst. Via contacten met oud-collega’s bij Bafema werd ik getipt dat bij Meilink mijn huidige functie vrij kwam.”
Albert Jan: “De essentie van mijn werk is binnenkomende orders en offerteaanvragen in goede banen leiden en ervoor zorgen dat de klant tevreden zijn product ontvangt. Binnen Meilink heb ik bijvoorbeeld contact met diverse afdelingen, zoals de productieafdeling, magazijn, expeditie en de financiële afdeling. En uiteraard heb ik ook overleg met bijvoorbeeld de kistenfabriek en de inpakhal en natuurlijk onze toeleveranciers. Je bent in dit werk een spin in het web.”
Albert Jan: “Ik onderhoud ook telefonisch en via mail contact met onze klanten. Incidenteel bezoek ik een klant als daar om gevraagd wordt. Normaal gesproken is dat werk voor de accountmanager, maar er zijn een paar klanten die ik bezoek. Ik heb er altijd voldoening van als de klant tevreden is. Als ik iets heb kunnen regelen waardoor de klant weer verder kan. Daar ontleen ik plezier aan. Ik mag graag iemand helpen, als ik het zo mag zeggen.”
Invulling geven aan Securing Value
“Via onze zeven Meilink Chain Solutions geven we invulling aan het motto Securing Value. In klantgesprekken probeer ik te achterhalen bij welke Meilink Chain Solutions de klant gebaat is. Dat kan variëren van de inzet van één tot meerdere Meilink Chain Solutions. Neem de Chain Solution Warehousing. Die geeft de klanten de zekerheid dat zij kunnen putten uit hun voorraad op het moment waarop hen dat past. Daarmee is de continuïteit van hun productieproces gewaarborgd en uiteindelijk de levering aan hun klanten. Op deze manier helpen wij klanten hun toegevoegde waarde veilig te stellen, ofwel: Securing Value.”
John Janssen is the Director of Meilink Boxmeer and has worked for the organisation for 20 years: “All Meilink Chain Solutions are offered by Meilink Boxmeer as well. Specific requests from clients have shown us that there is an increased focus on the Meilink Chain Solutions Packaging and Packing. That goes for the Meilink Chain Solution Goods Dispatching as well. Of course, we efficiently use all Meilink Chain Solutions within the group for our clients. That is our unique strength. If a client increases in volume or requests, we can meet that increase thanks to our multiple locations and excellent digital information facilities.”
Integrally offering the Meilink Chain Solutions is a distinctive factor for Meilink. “The total package of Meilink Chain Solutions is the strength of our solution,” says John Janssen. At Meilink Boxmeer, 35 employees work under permanent employment with a flexible group of 10 agency workers on average. John: “We train them in the correct execution of and clear communication on the Meilink Chain Solutions. In doing so, we also internally secure the specific values the Meilink Chain Solutions stand for. In the end, your employees are the most important link in actually realising Meilink’s promises in the market.”
Surprised by innovative entrepreneurship every day
John Janssen is still surprised every day by the creative and inventive way in which Dutch companies come up with and create very special machines, appliances and solutions: “Every day, it’s so interesting to me that we with our logistics solutions can be a part of that creative entrepreneurship.”
“I love doing everything”
Marion Reuvers is an Administration and Finance employee at Varekamp Project Services B.V. (VPS) in Rotterdam, a subsidiary of Meilink. She has been working with us since 2000: “My work is pretty versatile, and mainly internal. With a focus on administrative and organisational tasks, like scheduling.” But Marion’s work also includes technical support like stock management and the like: “Plus managing the archives. I also process staff mutations, book and check purchase invoices and make advance payments to the shipping companies. I also draw up sales invoices, translate Letters of Credit and check accounts receivable. Last but not least, I do total file monitoring. We work in a small team of seven people. I therefore also assist the operational department. That includes drawing up documents needed to accompany transport.”
Small team with short lines of communication “What makes my job fun? The versatility and my drive to make sure everything is correct and complete. I also like being a kind of all-rounder within the company. The freedom and versatility are great, and so is the hustle and bustle. That gives me a lot of energy. Every day is different around here. What also inspires me is working in a small team with short lines of communication, so we also regularly fill in for one another, in the event of sick leave or holidays. Contact with colleagues at the Meilink main office in Borculo is also valuable to me. In the end, we do everything to unburden the client, from A to Z!” Marion has decided.
“At Meilink, I get a lot of freedom and that’s very inspiring”
Henk Ligtenbarg has worked at Meilink Borculo for 32 years: “I started as a carpenter, mainly for making containers for Volvo car parts. After that I was promoted to the carpentry corner, for finer carpentry. I am now foreman, with a team of ten people. I do the preparations and manage the team.” Henk himself no longer does any carpentry: “I haven’t for a year now; I don’t get around to it since I do the preparations all the time.” The containers Henk and his team make go to all kinds of clients. “I myself am proud of the containers we made for the Solar cars, for the students in Twente and in Delft.” There are two things Henk likes most about his job: “Managing the work and coming up with special containers. You get the product in the factory - any product - and we have to come up with and create the packaging for that product. Sometimes, the client comes along to give us instructions on the spot.” Good individual alignment on Meilink Chain Solutions From the Meilink Chain Solution Design, Henk and his team get all the packaging designs: “Then we consult a lot with the people at Design on the execution of the work itself. We always have good, in-depth discussions with the colleagues internally. We aim for an optimal alignment between the Meilink Chain Solution Design and the Meilink Chain Solution Packaging. At Meilink, I get a lot of freedom to do so and that’s very inspiring.”
As a commercial back office employee, I mainly focus on daily contact with clients. In practice, every request turns out to be different; every product has its own vulnerabilities. For me, the challenge lies in alertly reacting to that and coordinating the packaging and packaging method to the individual product. For example, for one of our clients we proposed a change to the production and storage process which can significantly reduce the storage and internal transport needs. See, that’s what we mean by optimization.
Errol Anthony is Expediteur bij Varekamp Project Services (VPS). Zijn vak is uiterst veelzijdig: “Van A tot Z regel ik alles voor de transporten voor onze nationale en internationale opdrachtgevers. Dat kan via zeevracht, luchtvracht en per truck en trein.” Aanvullend komt daar veel bij kijken, zoals het organiseren van de juiste verzekeringen voor de vaak kostbare lading: “Maar ook zorg ik dat alle vereiste projectdocumenten rondom douanezaken en de Kamer van Koophandel op orde zijn.” Bijna altijd vervoert VPS goederen die door het moederbedrijf Meilink vakkundig zijn verpakt. Errol: “Op die manier bieden wij voor onze klanten een totaaloplossing; van verpakken tot en met transport onder één dak en vanuit één centrale regie georganiseerd en uitgevoerd.”
VPS verkoopt nooit ‘nee’
Errol Anthony heeft VPS in de 11 jaar dat hij er werkt flink zien groeien: “Wat altijd blijft, is onze vakkundigheid en professionele inzet. We zijn een zeer betrokken en hecht team. We gaan door het vuur voor de klant. Eigenlijk verkopen we nooit ‘nee’. Waar andere expediteurs een bepaalde dienst niet aanbieden, zoeken wij binnen ons uitgebreide netwerk naar een passende oplossing om de klant alsnog te servicen. Er is feitelijk geen transportoplossing die wij niet kunnen aanbieden. De klant weet: als ik een probleem heb of een onmogelijke uitdaging, dan wordt het door VPS opgelost of advies op maat geleverd. Wat ons ook speciaal maakt, is dat wij altijd bereikbaar zijn. We werken ’s nachts als het project dat vraagt. Vaak opereren we wereldwijd, zoals met China en Amerika, en lossen we zo het verschil in tijdzones op.”
Stevig in je schoenen staan
“Wat ik zelf het leukste aan mijn functie vind? Het is dynamisch en ook wel chaotisch. Je moet het juiste type zijn om daar mee om te kunnen gaan. Eveneens beleef ik veel plezier aan het contact met klanten, rederijen en agenten, vooral de internationale contacten. Elke dag is letterlijk anders en elke uitdaging uniek. Voor dit werk moet je stevig in je schoenen staan.”
In zijn vrije tijd is Errol Anthony actief met zijn stichting Open Run. Deze richt zich voornamelijk op de ontwikkeling van vaardigheden en talenten van jongeren op het gebied van sportieve recreatie en interactie. Daarnaast is Errol ook Teammanager/Interim Bondscoach van het Nederlands basketball jeugdteam.”
Making the packaging is the origin of the Meilink business. We still produce wooden and cardboard packaging for the Dutch manufacturing industry. Time and time again, I am surprised by the power of innovation of our clients, who are often the market leader in their segment. Definitely from my role as chair of the international trade association INPRO, I see the progressive role we have in that. Securing value for our clients is of great value to me. If we can achieve that by coming up with handy solutions – like a different way of producing and delivering the containers, which allows us to bring a 4-day lead time down to a 1.5 day-lead time – that makes me incredibly proud.
“The frequent contact is an important part of my job”
Sylvia van der Vorst works at Meilink Raamdonksveer: “I do the administration, but also purchasing for the office and some of the materials for the factory. I also do preparations and concept invoices, which means I have a lot of contact with Meilink Borculo, Bert de Groot in particular.”
“In the mornings, I am also in charge of the telephone centre. I also keep track of stock at the office, send out invitations and take care of food and hotels. It’s a versatile job. ‘Office management’ best sums up my work.” Sylvia has worked at Meilink since 2001: “I started out as a receptionist and my tasks were expanded quite quickly after that. I currently work 20 hours a week and sometimes more. I have my own office and a lot of contact with colleagues at the company. That versatility is what makes my job fun. I have a very busy job, especially since we recently underwent a name change and with that also a change in our work methods. We needed a transition phase to learn to do our work differently. That takes energy and adjustments. But we have a great atmosphere here and everyone works very hard.”
Mohamed Ben Allouch has worked for Meilink for 26 years. He started as an agency worker, got a permanent contract and learned to do all kinds of work within Meilink. He worked for Meilink internationally for a while as well, in countries like England and China. For the last three years, Mohamed has worked as a coordinator in the packing hall: “In my job, I manage 20 colleagues. When the manager of the container factory is away, I take over his supervisory tasks as well.”
“In the packing hall, we package the products for our clients. We do that in crates, boxes, containers and other varieties we keep for specific clients or containers we specially design and produce for the client via our Meilink Chain Solution Design and Packaging. On our part, we offer Design and Packaging our packing experience so that we always provide the best solution for our client. We focus not only on the client, but also on our employees. By that, I mean we offer them as much help as possible to physically do their packing work in the best way possible (e.g. involving cranes, forklifts, and more). With those tools, they do not have to injure their arms or back. In the process, we pay close attention to our employees having ergonomic and responsible working conditions when it comes to health and safety. Every Monday, I have a toolbox meeting and I underline safety and ergonomics. What I like about my job? I learned management at a young age in my parents’ company. There is also a lot of variety in my work. For example, we once packaged a 43-metre windmill mould. Another challenge for me is packaging high-quality design furniture for luxury ships as carefully as possible. Meilink is a great company with a great atmosphere.”
As a packager, I come across new things every day - lots of variety. Both at our own packaging department and with the client, we work in teams of two to safely and securely package the client’s products and get them ready for shipment as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Since we have everything at our disposal, we can act fast and play into ad hoc situations that our clients are sometimes faced with. That talent for improvisation is one of the specialties of our people. Our combined knowledge, people and resources are what make our operations effective.
Like many of my colleagues at Meilink, I see every day as a new challenge. Because in addition to standard solutions, we receive more and more requests for custom solutions. But we do them in such a way that we can justify our actions. Always with a clear starting point: actually helping the client solve their logistics issue. For me, goods dispatching means: well-prepared, clever assembly of the goods of both my clients and their suppliers and making sure they are delivered to the end customer in the right composition at the right time. That motivates me day after day.
Edwin Blok works as a packager at Meilink Edam: “I package the goods from Meilink’s clients in crates and containers. We often do that on site at the client’s location, but sometimes we also do packaging at the warehouse in Edam.” His work falls under the Meilink Chain Solution Packing. Edwin: “We have a great atmosphere in the team.”
Edwin has worked at Meilink since 1989: “That long time goes to show that I feel right at home, both with this work and at Meilink. It’s varied, since every packing assignment is different, and we package a varied range of different products.” Edwin usually works on packing assignments with a second packager: “We have several colleagues with experience in this work, and we form two-person teams with different people each time. That also keeps it fun and varied.” Edwin says you need three skills to do packing work: caution and insight to pack and secure crates and containers as safely, efficiently and neatly as possible. And sometimes that includes heavy objects. That requires physical strength. “But for that, Meilink provides us with good materials. We never have to carry or lift things we cannot handle.” As a prime example of his work, Edwin mentions packing very fragile, precious works of art: “That’s the most unique object I’ve ever had to pack at Meilink.”
“We basically package everything, you name it - we package it” Rob Stolp is 55 and works at Meilink Edam: “I’ve been working here since 1979. I came here straight from school. My father came here for Werkspoor and I got into it through a vacation job. What I do now? Everything actually! Make, saw and pack containers. I don’t work in the office, but otherwise I do anything that comes up.” Rob is very pleased with the variety his job offers: “One day, I’m making containers at the workshop, the other I’m packing on site at clients’ locations. I’m faced with fun surprises every time; that’s what keeps it interesting.” In total, Rob works in a team of nine people in Edam and usually goes to see clients with one or two colleagues: “The atmosphere among us is great - otherwise we wouldn’t last long! Most of my colleagues here have worked together for a long time, round about 25 years.” The most unique assignment Rob ever had? “Nowadays, we do a lot of packaging work for machines, but once I had to package very valuable Egyptian statues at the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden. We package basically everything, from very fragile glassware to large machines. You name it - we package it. We get the right tools to do the heavy work properly and safely.” Rob underwent VCA training, forklift training, has a crane license and is an Emergency Response Officer at Meilink Edam, along with two other colleagues.
On land, over sea and through the air: no matter how your load has to be transported, Meilink will get it done. Thanks to our optimal alignment between our different locations and our knowledge of the various forms of transport, we make sure the – often highly valuable – goods reach the customer safe and sound. For Meilink, transport is a complete service: services like tracking and tracing, but we also often deliver to special locations. And if you ask me what the most special transport assignment was for me, I have to answer with a cliché: at Meilink, every transport assignment is special.
Myra Smit is a Logistics Employee at Meilink Borculo: “I work in the packing materials warehouse. We unload goods from the incoming lorries, make sure they are put in the right spot in the warehouse and book the stock we receive.”
“We process that on the computer. My job mainly involves the packing materials we use to buffer, protect and secure our clients’ products in our specially designed containers. Like aluminium foil to protect products in the containers during transport over sea against cold temperatures and sea water, but also padding material or tape, for example. We make sure everything is made ready for further processing by our Meilink Chain Solution Transport in the best way possible. On top of internal use of these materials, we also have clients that purchase those packing materials from us in addition to packaging for their product. In addition to order picking, I am also in charge of keeping all packing material stocks op to date. I do that by declaring orders. The Sales department makes sure that the items about to run out are re-ordered on time. My work falls mainly under the Meilink Chain Solution Packing. First, I did my job alone, but the growth of our company has resulted in a higher workload and now I have a colleague to help me out. I’ve worked here for eight years now and I enjoy it to the fullest. I like the freedom, the variety and the contact with all other Meilink departments. I also have a lot of responsibility and freedom to carry that out. It’s interesting to see all the different things we pack, from gliders to boat rudders.”
In the 42 years I’ve worked at Meilink, I’ve dealt with all the aspects of our company: calculations, work preparations and production management. Thanks to that broad expertise, I am now in charge of packaging design. We develop packaging designs in Autocad3D, SolidWorks and Inventor. We want to be involved in the client’s engineering process as early on as possible. With the result: smart packaging designs that solve a packaging and transport problem. One-time solutions as well as multiple-use solutions.
Peter van der Meijden has worked at Meilink since 1997 and Packing Coordinator on location: “At the client’s location, we concretely apply the Meilink Chain Solution Packing. Our team has a flexible pool and varies from 17 to 25 people.”
“Our home base is Meilink Schijndel and from there, we go to the client to pack the client’s product on location. Of course, packing is one of the Meilink Chain Solutions. If the assignment is complex and requires special packing, the Meilink Chain Solution Design colleagues join us. What they design as packaging serves as the basis for our packing work. In that sense, it’s perfect for the client that we offer all Meilink Chain Solutions under one roof. Sometimes the work is physically straining, but the products we handle in mainly the hi-tech industry on the other hand are very fragile and require the most intricate treatment. With these hi-tech machines, it’s usually the first models that have to be
packed. These represent an insured value of 1 million to millions of euros. After we pack and load the product into a container or lorry, we hand over the subsequent logistics process to the client. But of course, we can take that process off the client’s hands and be of service by offering the Meilink Chain Solution Transport. The most unique packing assignment I ever had? Three complete factories from here to the Philippines, Malaysia and China. To do this job right, you need a combination of technical knowledge and stress tolerance. What I like the most about it? The variety; every day is different. And of course, the client’s appreciation.”
“No day is predictable around here” Geert Jansen (53) works at Meilink Boxmeer, currently in the position of Manager of the Container Factory and Packing Hall: “32 years ago, I started working at Meilink via the Start temping agency and I worked my way up throughout the years. Our department has about 30 employees. We make the containers, pack the client’s products, store them for the client and then distribute them.” Meilink Boxmeer of course also offers clients all 7 Meilink Chain Solutions. Geert: “In my work specifically, I am involved in 5 of the 7 Meilink Chain Solutions: Optimisation, Packaging, Packing, Warehousing and Goods Dispatching. The sales department gives us all our work assignments and instructions. We once created a packaging that was 22 metres long, 4.5 metres wide and 4 metres high. We packed an industrial dryer in that for a client. I’ve always remembered that size. The great thing about my job? Every day is different. You never get into a rut. That’s what makes it special, as well as the contact with clients and colleagues. We can shift very quickly to adjust course if we need to. Meilink is a fine employer for me, there’s always a good atmosphere and there is room for all kinds of training. Two years ago, we had a great packaging training programme here. They pay a lot of attention to that.”