3 Februar 2021

Company reportage  Transport & Logistic

Text: Ruud van Roosmalen


Remco Vos manages to get De Klok Logistics back on track

"We want to be able to fully control our chain"


Due to the credit crisis in combination with a fire, De Klok Logistics from Nijmegen went bankrupt in 2010. The company was taken over by Remco Vos, who managed to make it a success again. He talks about the "resurrection" of the company, the underlying philosophy and his own motives.


The date November 22, 2010 will be director Remco Vos of De Klok Logistics not soon forgotten. It was the day on which he became the owner of the Nijmegen transport company after intensive negotiations. “Many people no longer believed in the company's chances of survival, but I really wanted it,” he says enthusiastically. “Because De Klok has traditionally been a renowned company with a good image. My grandfather Harry used their services at times and always called it a super company. I had not forgotten that. But in the years before the bankruptcy, things had gone wrong, both in organizational and financial terms.


"Consider the acquisitions as a kind of hobby, because I am ambitious and would like to build a large company"


Then a devastating fire and the credit crisis caused the final blow. I was happy to be able to buy it and that was one of the moments of fame in my career. ” After the takeover, Vos was completely on his own in terms of management. Nevertheless, he quickly put the company back on track: “The old De Klok employed 260 people, I continued with 120 people. It was very painful to have to say goodbye to so many employees who often worked there for a long time. But there was no other way. Those who remained were very happy to keep their jobs and put their shoulders to the wheel to turn it into something beautiful again. I have rarely seen such a motivated team. Partly because of this, we were able to recover quickly. ”


Own course

Remco Vos belongs to the well-known family from Oss who, among other things, formed the basis of Vos Logistics. He says that his grandfather Harry started the predecessor of this company in 1944 and that his father Karel continued to expand this company in the eighties and nineties and sold it in 1994. Vos was therefore born with logistics and knew from an early age that he would also like to have a transport company himself later on. “After secondary school, I studied Business Administration in Groningen. I did not complete that training. It was quite theoretical while I am very practical. That is why I switched to the higher vocational education in logistics and economics in Utrecht. That went very well. I then went to work at TNT Logistics and followed the MBA course in Rotterdam in the evening. But I really wanted to have my own company. Then you are independent, you can determine your own course and pace and you will be judged on results that you have achieved yourself. In 2001 I was able to take over Vos Apeldoorn from a cousin of my father. That was a great opportunity. I got in, put it on the map and resold it in 2008. Then I took it easy until I took over De Klok Logistics in 2010. ”


National network

When Vos became the owner of De Klok, the company mainly transported home textiles. But it was a crisis, construction was virtually halted and not much was moved. So that did not go well. That is why Vos took a different approach. From now on, De Klok had to deal with the national distribution of a wide variety of goods for many different customers, so that the company would not be dependent on a few large clients. It was a good choice: “Nowadays we transport all kinds of things, with the exception of products that need to be cooled or frozen. This concerns, for example, pallet and general cargo, roll containers, products for DIY stores, shop distribution and also dedicated transports. ” De Klok itself maintains a national distribution network for this purpose and consciously does not participate in partnerships in which goods are exchanged with other carriers at strategically located transfer stations. Vos: “We want to be able to check our chain completely ourselves. This ensures high delivery reliability and sets us apart in the market. What further characterizes us is our corporate culture. This can be described with the core concepts of flat organization, short lines of communication, no-nonsense and everyone rolls up their sleeves. " Good customer base In recent years, De Klok Logistics has grown considerably through the acquisition of other companies. Since Vos took office, seven transport companies have been added, including Vortex from Venray, Timmer from Ommeren, a business unit of Nabuurs from Haps, Van Vliet from Vianen and van Opzeeland in Hedel. As a result, De Klok's total workforce has now increased to approximately 650 people. “Consider these acquisitions as a kind of hobby”, says Vos with a smile, “because I am ambitious and would like to build a large company. Incidentally, the companies we purchase must fit into our strategy. This means that they have to complement our national distribution network, fit in with our activities and have a good customer base. Incidentally, these companies continue under their own name and with their own culture. Because at Van Vliet from Vianen, for example, they really won't talk to Nijmegen because they have been taken over by De Klok. ” And where does Vos want to be with his company in about five years? “I hope that by then we will have grown further, that the company is healthy and that everyone enjoys working there. I would really like that. ”