Of a certain age, but completely modern: Jan Arts Transport Services, in Holland’s southerly region of De Peel, celebrates its 90th birthday in 2019. At its core, it still is a truly family business. And it has happily worked with Container Centralen for some thirty years: “It all runs smoothly, so we are only in touch a few times per year, at the most. But that’s always very pleasant.”
Family businesses, where one generation takes over from the previous one: they’re still around. Jan Arts Transport Services is a fine example. In 1929, Jan senior started ferrying around all kinds of products across the east of Brabant and the north of Limburg, in Holland. Soon things began to kick off and Jan’s three sons joined the company. The men proved to be very versatile. Vegetables, pigs, household rubbish and even gritting during the winter months – Jan and co knew how to deal with it all.
Son Jan junior took over the company in 1974. From 1985, together with
his daughter Anne, he specialized in transporting flowers, plants and nursery products. In 2001, he handed over the reins to Anne and her partner Ger. Currently, these two lead a team of thirty people.
One of them is Lilian van de Weijer. She contributes to the daily planning and is responsible for the Container Centralen administration. “We have been a CC customer for a long time now”, she says. “At the moment, as a member of the CC Pool, we have just over 1,000 trolleys and just over 5,000 shelves. There is a good balance between the two.
When a customer of ours wants an adjustment, we put that through immediately. That’s all going very well. I am only in touch with Container Centralen a few times per year. We really appreciated that our regular contact at CC, Andrea Wright, recently paid us a visit.”
Drivers on the road
In the office, Lilian is joined by Anne, Helmy and Manon. “The latter is Anne’s and Ger’s daughter, so there is that family connection again! Even more so… her boyfriend Michiel is one of our drivers.” For the four women, there is never a dull moment at work. Day in day out they have got their hands full, explains Lilian. “For the daily transport of flowers and plants, our growers can call us between noon and 2. Between 2 and 4 we make our planning, and then our drivers can take to the road around 4. They drive to FloraHolland’s branches and to the Rhein-Maas auction site in Germany, just across the border. Our second speciality, nursery products, comes with more regular hours. We pick them up in the morning, bring them to places such as Boskoop and Zundert, and these lorries return in the afternoon.”
Informal and cosy
Lilian (46, married, mother of twins) joined Jan Arts in 2000. “No, haha, no family connection for me! I ended up here via a temps agency. In at the deep end
and I am still here. By now, I have really become a part of the family – which, in a small team like ours, is essential. We keep it informal and cosy. And with our customers, we also pay a lot of attention to keeping it personal. Quick links, nothing complicated, just a quick call instead of a formal procedure. I think that that contributes to our customers being loyal. They are used to it and they appreciate it.”
Lilian emphasizes that her employer strives to “stick to the basics”. “Apart from our IT systems, we are not really early adopters of innovation or sustainability. Obviously, our lorries are modern, with a lower emission rate. And our drivers follow a course in ‘economical driving’. But above all, we focus on our regular services and work hard to keep doing them as well as we can. After all, that formula has worked for ninety years, so should we change anything?!”