May 24, 2013

Dutch shippers vie for fastest truck turnaround at DCs

Shippers in the Netherlands start a "speed derby" to see who can move a truck fastest at distribution center docks.

By James A. Cooke

Forget speed skating—the Dutch have come up with a new contest to determine who can move the fastest. To be precise, a group of companies in the Netherlands have started a "speed derby" to find out which shipper is the best at turning a truck around at a distribution center.

According to Walther Ploos van Amstel, associate professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the contest got under way in 2011 between HJ Heinz and Mars Nederland B.V. and has since expanded. In 2012, 15 companies in the Netherlands took part in the speed derby. Van Amstel, who spoke at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals' Europe 2013 conference in Amsterdam, said more companies, including some from Belgium, are expected to participate in the contest this year.

Contestants are measured when their trucks pass through the facility gate, dock at the warehouse, and then depart the DC. Onboard computers, smartphones, and GPS systems capture the times. The ultimate goal of the contest is to demonstrate how truck utilization, transport reliability, and service to consumers could be improved with the same or less manpower, according to a paper written by Van Amstel and logistics managers from three of the participating companies.

The Dutch retailer Jumbo's Veghel distribution center won the Dutch Speed Docking Championship last year. Van Amstel, who supervised the contest, said Jumbo had an average turnaround time of 50 minutes, a significant improvement over the 1 hour and 14 minutes clocked by the previous year's winner, Plus Retail from Haaksbergen.

About the Author

James A. Cooke
James Cooke is a principal analyst with Nucleus Research in Boston, covering supply chain planning software. He was previously the editor of CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly and a staff writer for DC Velocity.

More articles by James A. Cooke

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