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HomeNewsEach trip is a mission: CFO Perry Houtepen joins Kamil Bochenek in 3-day-trip
Afbeelding voor Each trip is a mission: CFO Perry Houtepen joins Kamil Bochenek in 3-day-trip

Today, we have the pleasure of chatting with Perry Houtepen, recently appointed new CFO of the Emons Group. Perry is just back from accompanying Kamil Bochenek, one of Emons drivers, on a 3-day trip. Perry: “I’ve always considered it crucial to understand the reality of a company’s operations and the challenges faced daily by the different teams. This was a great trip, to strengthen connections with our colleagues and gain valuable insights into our customers’ needs. Moreover, at Emons, we like to say that each trip is a mission and it is paramount for us to truly get to know these missions.

Let’s start from the beginning, Tell us where this trip brought you.

We started from Emons premises in Milsbeek (NL) at 4.45 am. Our driver, Kamil Tomasz Bochenek was waiting for me in the 2WIN truck, already loaded. Our trip took us first to Neston, in the UK near Liverpool, then to pick up another load not too far from there. Finally, we went back to the Netherlands to unload our cargo in Ridderkerk and pick up one more in Roosendaal before heading to Milsbeek. There, Kamil dropped me off and continued his journey to join his family and enjoy a very well-deserved Easter break.

It looks like a carefully planned journey.

It was, but all our truck trips are. The goal is to minimize empty mileage as much as possible. On this occasion, our operational team found a road that gave us a good load to take back to the Netherlands.

Did you encounter any challenges while on the road?

We were stuck in a traffic jam around Antwerp. Of course, this is not unusual, but we run the risk of disrupting our schedule. Anyway, we managed to overcome the setback and even ended up being ahead of our planned schedule. For the rest, we did not face any real challenges, unless you want to count my being somewhat worried about the ferry trip planned for our way back to the Netherlands!

To venture a guess, we would say that you like trucks better than boats.

Yes, I definitely like trucks better. Anyway, it was not as bad as I thought! Quite a nice trip altogether.

How do you believe experiences like this contribute to Emons’ overall mission?

The road is where the real action happens. It’s where the connection between us and our customers through our drivers as ambassadors is forged. During this journey I had the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with our customers, gaining insights into their needs, frustrations and overall satisfaction with our service. An experience like this is important to our mission because it gives us a clear understanding of the dynamics of our business. At Emons, every trip is a mission. It’s not just about transporting goods, we are in the business of making connections.

Moreover, I was on a trip with a 2WIN trailer and the 2WIN concept is quite central to our operations. I think that making this concept understood and recognized is crucial. By being on the ground, I had the chance to better realize how we can refine and improve this aspect of our service.

It sounds like an enlightening experience.

I’m sure it has been. Accompanying a highly motivated driver, I witnessed firsthand the challenges and responsibilities they shoulder every day. From managing their workload to communicating with customers and Fleet Managers. Every aspect of our drivers’ job plays a vital role in our success. It was really interesting to see the loading and unloading operations and how professionally Kamil handled them.

It was impressive to see the difference in pallets that just one of our 2WINs can load compared with the loads prepared for other trailers. It gives you a clearer idea of what we can save in terms of CO2 by loading 60% more volume than standard trailers. I mean, I know we save up to 40% CO2 because we can ship 54 pallets in one go. Anyway, to see all those pallets waiting to be loaded in one 2WIN next to the 33 prepared for normal trailers forces you to realise how big a difference it can make.

Also, I had the chance to understand the different circumstances that our drivers experience with different customers. They are highly skilled. I knew this already, but when you see it in person it becomes even more clear. It’s essential to me that our drivers feel supported and valued in their roles. This is something we must always keep in mind.

In the grand scheme of things, our office-based work and the efforts of our drivers on the road are intrinsically linked. Without one, the other cannot thrive. This journey gave me invaluable insights into areas where we can enhance efficiency and satisfaction for everyone involved.

Three days is quite a trip. Apart from the business, how did you enjoy the hours on the road?

Kamil and I had plenty of chat. We talked about family, hobbies, and what brought us to work at Emons. Kamil started as a driver for Emons one and a half years ago. He is Polish but has been living with his family in the Netherlands for the last ten years. He insisted on having our conversation in Dutch because he wanted to improve his language skills. I’m not sure there is much left to improve, his Dutch is excellent.

And speaking of skills, I had the pleasure to witness his skills in manoeuvring a 2WIN trailer. Believe me, positioning a 2WIN trailer for driving into the train on the English Channel crossing is not an easy task.

At Ashford, we had a little break and we met more Emons drivers staying there. We had more chats and some fun as well.

It seems that you really enjoy your trip.

I did. Of course, it is essential to be professional when interacting with customers. But professionalism and enjoyment should always go hand in hand. There’s no good job without a bit of fun. I’m convinced of it.

Let’s end our chat with a message you want to convey to your team and stakeholders.

I would like to express my appreciation for the dedication and hard work demonstrated by our team members each day. This journey highlighted the resilience, adaptability, and professionalism that define Emons’ operations. And I want to especially thank Kamil and our operation team for organizing such an enjoyable and meaningful experience.

Also, I want to reaffirm my belief in the importance of hands-on leadership and the power of connections and collaboration. Each trip is a mission and, together, we can accomplish these missions delivering excellence with every mile travelled.