Day trip at Steinhoff International Logistics

Till recently my idea of what ‘logistics’ involved had always been rather theoretical and obscure. That was before our MGM Brussels class visited Steinhoff International Logistics in early November 2015. Steinhoff is a multi brand company selling low cost furniture and clothing brands internationally. The group started in South Africa. Today it owns 42 global brands, namely Conforama, Poco and Harveys and is the second largest furniture retailer in Europe.

First stop of our trip: Ghenk to meet the warehouse manager of Ewals where Steinhoff rents out warehouse space. We got explanations on how the activities were organised while we were walking trough the depot. It was interesting to notice the strategic location of the warehouse in between the Ghenk haven and directly connected to the local railway.

We jumped back on the bus to get to Maastricht where Steinhoff’s international headquarters for logistics are located. After a nice lunch we were back on our feet for a company visit followed by four presentations by Steinhoff senior staff members about the vision and strategy of the company.

Vlerick MGM Brussels visiting Ewals warehouse facilities in Ghenk

The Steinhoff group grows both organically and by acquiring brands fitting the company vision. This has a considerable impact on the logistics since the group integrates the transportation channels of all the different brands. To remain agile Steinhoff created an internal ‘group of excellence’ acting as an in house consultant to reinvent transportation routes about a year ago. Ralph Fijen, the head of department, exposed the outcome of their latest project for the UK. The talks allowed us to put our classes of operations management and corporate finance into perspective. The values of truth, family and entrepreneurship defended by Steinhoff were all genuinely felt along the afternoon.

The day finished with a nice Italian dinner in the nearby old town centre of Maastricht at ‘Osteria Insieme’. We had amazing wine and tasty nibbles. Managers and Hr staff of Steinhoff joined us for the evening too. We took the bus back to Brussels feeling uplifted, especially because this day might result in In Company Projects abroad with Steinhoff and eventually in a long term position within the company for some of us.

I especially want to thank Jill and Rudi Roex again for organising this inspiring day trip and sharing their adventures at Steinhoff with such a passion.

Sharing food and wine in Maastricht with Steinhoff International executives

Words: Amélie Timmermans, MGM Brussels 2016

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