Mr. Arnoud Dekkers
First of all tell us a bit about your background?
I have over 15 years of experience in sales and business development in the oil and gas, consultancy modular solutions, and logistics sectors, including roles at De Boer, Petroleum Pipe, Petrostem, and the deugro group, where I have been responsible for designing, implementing and rolling out globally an IT solution over 70 branches in 45 countries.
After 95 years in the project freight forwarding business, why did the deugro group feel the need to now develop a new enterprise with consultancy skills as an added value service to its clients? Can you tell us more?
4D Supply Chain Consulting is an independent supply chain consultancy with a proven track record in delivering the highest standard in both theoretical and operational solutions. It combines an extensive portfolio of services – supply chain support, manpower provision, competence development, training, supply chain 4PL models, and benchmarking with unique intellectual property and relationships with industry experts – to provide a holistic, end-to-end solution that addresses business-specific needs.
During the last few years, deugro group received a growing number of requests for value added services, which fell under the consultancy remit. We had delivered 4PL solutions, provided manpower provisions covering more than 60+ supply chain and logistics competences, and supported on various projects completing end-to-end surveys, early logistics and infrastructure studies, procurement support, logistics assessments and assurance prior to start up and for transition to operations readiness, logistics strategy planning, as well as logistics contract support.
This prompted us to establish 4D Supply Chain Consulting as an enterprise of deugro group to consolidate these service offerings and expertise under one roof in order to have a focused approach that addressed clients’ demands and needs.
Say for example that I am a small freight forwarder, but my customer of many years would like some solutions and consultancy work done for which I don’t have the capability. Would 4D, in this case, offer such services also to other forwarders? In order words, is it a standalone activity or will it be only offered to integral deugro customers?
We can form strategic partnerships with clients from various industries, depending on the opportunity. Of course, it could be also a client from the freight forwarding industry.
Worldwide, our experienced consulting team serves various clients in key industries, including oil and gas, power, wind, and mining where major CAPEX and OPEX initiatives heavily rely on secure, transparent, and adaptive supply chains. An additional market for us is the insurance sector.
We can help clients at all levels of the value chain, whether strategic, tactical or operational, delivering tangible results with our hands-on, pragmatic approach.
There have been many developments in recent years where we have seen major shippers making long-term deals with one global forwarder, effectively outsourcing their whole logistics supply chain. However, we have also seen that after a while, business has returned in-house again. How do you ensure that your consultancy services remain long-term with the customer? Would you not be afraid of customers learning from you and then doing it themselves in future ?
Major shippers have made long-term deals with global forwarders, but the freight forwarder’s role has been quite limited, and only limited to cargo movement.
Increasingly working with asset owners directly, the appetite has grown for more value-added services. These services can range from intelligent out-sourcing of logistics (given the lack of in-house, end2end logistics capabilities) to logistics consultancy requirements to support CAPEX ramp up with more complexity, increased HSSE and cost exposure. We provide innovative logistics approaches to Turn-Arounds, as we see fewer, more complex, and dense logistics interactions. There is an increasing trend in the demand of 4PL / LMS / MLP / LCC supply chain models, as well as training and competence development efforts needed to mitigate the growing logistics competence gaps. Lastly, there is a growing interest to increase visibility of the logistics performance via benchmarking, both operational and commercial.
We aim to effectively create a tangible ROI as soon as the process is over. With that being said, the landscape of supply chain management is always evolving, as pressure increases from the ever-dynamic change of client demands and expectations. Companies are having to respond to newly developed technologies, startup companies, and global corporations. In addition, they are constantly having to reassess the challenges that are presented due to the changing landscape of supply chain management. Clients want a seamless experience when buying products. Therefore, companies have focused their supply chains on flexibility, speed, and cost optimization.
Logistics and supply chain processes are critical success/failure factors across all industries. Our services are focused on ensuring that our clients receive expert advice, providing capability building and supporting client improvement initiatives to make their organizations more competitive, safe, and sustainable. 4D will support the client to define the right balance for their supply chain based on three main key levers: cost, service & safety. Companies constantly require support to increase their cost effectiveness and efficiency of their supply chain, to better manage the risks of their supply chain and to upskill the competence of their supply chain staff.
Lastly, the transfer of solutions/lessons learned from one industry can be customized to be made available in another industry where it does not exist.
We have the in-house familiarity with all elements of end2end logistics and the deep technical logistic knowledge to address the challenges and apply them to a different industry.
How has the current virus pandemic affected your business ?
COVID-19 has taught us an important lesson: it is crucial for all key stakeholders to have supply chain visibility. The key challenge for many companies is how to keep their goods and services moving during a time of global lockdown. Countries are facing trade constraints. People movement is restricted. Port controls are being implemented. Ocean carriers are being forced to idle their fleet due to lack of cargo/equipment. Airfreight capacity is severely limited. As a result, businesses and their supply chains have to adapt to stay operational. It is more important than ever to implement effective supply chain management.
As organizations prepare for the new “normal” post-pandemic, the focus is on cost savings, vendor management review, a revamp of internal process, and furloughing or the reduction of manpower in non-core functions.
4D has been monitoring the situation since it started at the end of 2019. Some of the solutions we are currently implementing, in response to the market conditions, include:
• Demand management process
• Supplier collaboration
• Supply chain resilience
• Contract management
• Focus on logistics
• Preparation for the new “normal”
The virus pandemic has taught us to be agile, to adapt quickly to what is happening around us.
There was limited preparation to understand the full effect of how this pandemic would globally affect us.
The solutions that we have are applicable in any situation, and in fact, the pandemic has made it more obvious that we (4D) are more relevant to address/support those challenges, regardless if we are in a pandemic or not.
It is more important than ever to implement effective supply chain management.
How would it be best for people to get in touch with you ?