The story of Mart
Mart has been an employee at Schotpoort for six years. Throughout these years, he has worked in various positions in the company.
To know exactly how he has grown from truck driver to transport planner, we sat down with him to discuss his career path.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Mart Steinmeijer, and I am twenty-nine. I have been working at Schotpoort Logistics since 2016. In the past six years, I have fulfilled several functions within the company and have grown into my current position in the transport planning department.
What does your function involve exactly?
I am currently part of the transport planning department. Here, I supervise a select group of drivers daily and make the planning for the next day together with my colleagues. If you are first in line, you start at 7 a.m. and collect the delivery notes from the drivers. You are the first to go through them all, checking that everyone has left on time and that the drivers are on their way. We rotate this role every week.
Secondly, you start at 8 a.m. together with your other colleague and you start checking and monitoring the planning. Any deviations are passed to the customer service department, which then informs the customer. Because there are three of us in the planning department, everyone accompanies one-third of the drivers during their journey. This guidance can be anything, but often concerns traffic situations or directions.
For us, 2 o’clock is the fixed time that all orders must be entered, customer service is therefore constantly calling the customer to ensure that this is the case. After that, it is all about making the planning. I plan the Dutch routes, which is quite a puzzle in itself. We certainly have some standard routes that are planned every day, but the majority have to be shifted back and forth to create an ideal route in terms of time and tariffs.
How did you find this job and Schotpoort?
I started my training in professional goods transport in a work-experience course at one of Schotpoort’s warehouses. After completing my training, I started to work as a clamp truck driver in the LCE (Logistic Centre Eerbeek), but my ambition was to grow, and the organisation recognised my ambition.
That is why I became a lorry driver for Schotpoort and did project-related work. After that, I went back to the LCE for a while, but I wanted more of a challenge, which is why I was allowed to join in and later work on transport planning.
What makes your function at Schotpoort challenging, fun and/or interesting?
I must say that I have liked all the jobs I have had at Schotpoort, although there is a substantial difference per job. The work at the LCE is quite nice, but to my taste, it is often the same, here you have to rely on the sociability of the team.
For the project-based work, I was always responsible, together with a small group, for emptying bungalows at holiday parks, after which we had to install modern furniture. This kind of project usually lasted three to four days and during the project, we slept in a bungalow in the holiday park, and we were free to use the facilities of the park. These projects are physically very intensive, as a lot of furniture has to be dragged and dropped, the fact that you could take a dip in the swimming pool at the end of such a hard day’s work made it a lot more bearable and fun.
Planning is not so much physically intensive as mentally intensive; a planning can change due to a large number of several factors and as a planner, you have to constantly take this into account. This is not always easy and sometimes you have to give priority to something. This is what makes constructing a good planning so much fun, every day the planning is different, and something can always change in between so that we have to shift again as a team.
In addition, you build up a personal relationship with the group of drivers you supervise and schedule; with some drivers, I hardly have to say anything and only have to give the route number and the rest is done automatically. The cooperation within the team also runs smoothly, despite another colleague and I starting there recently.
What are the disadvantages or less pleasant parts of your work?
As I mentioned before, making a schedule can be quite a challenge, which is of course what makes it so enjoyable, but the fact that it can be influenced by so many factors can sometimes be annoying. During the day I maintain contact with my group of drivers, one of them may have a flat tyre or cannot find the way which results in them being late. These kinds of scenarios are never fun, of course, because these things affect the rest of the planning, plus customer service has to inform the customer that their goods will not arrive at the specified time. Sometimes, as a planner, you have to prioritise a large customer, which can mean that the beautiful route you have put together is suddenly turned upside down.
As a planner, you want to give your drivers nice trips, but this is not always possible, which means that you sometimes have to let someone commute in Eerbeek, and not everyone is happy with that. Especially in remarkably busy seasons, you notice that everything has to be planned more efficiently to realise as much as possible with the limited capacity that you have.
Occasionally, you play the role of villain, and you have to say that there is simply no capacity to conduct a certain order, which can sometimes lead to disagreements. When planning, we strive to plan everything as efficiently and tightly as possible, and now and then I walk out of the office with the feeling that the planning could have been tighter. However, I know that we always do our best to create a schedule that fits seamlessly together.
Before you start at the transport planning department, you should understand that you have to be “on” all the time. I have certainly been called out of bed on occasion because I had to check something for a driver, which is never pleasant of course, but you are prepared for that.
In your opinion what is the difference between Schotpoort and other logistics service providers?
I always enjoy the atmosphere in the company; occasionally the departments clash, but that is often a matter of opinion which is always swiftly resolved. Especially when you are part of the planning department, you do not have time for that. The friendly atmosphere is not exclusive to the office but present throughout the company. When one of my drivers reports to the counter, I always stand up to chat and exchange information.
Since the beginning of my career at Schotpoort, I have felt supported and guided. The organisation has given me the chance to develop myself and grow to where I am now. I seized this opportunity because I had the idea that I could do more and naturally wanted more. In September 2021, I started at the transport planning department, where fortunately I was given the time and guidance, I needed to master the profession quickly. Because I was able to experience the company from multiple angles and functions, I can apply this to my daily work in the planning department.
I think that I would not receive this treatment at other logistic service providers, or to a lesser extent. The personality and care for the employees is Schotpoort’s strongest point.