Every day, 11.5 million suitcases reach their destination thanks to Vanderlande’s technology. The robots of the Veghelse automation company also chase 45 million parcels a day through the distribution centers of Amazon, UPS and DHL, among others. So there is no shortage of data. Pipple helps Vanderlande see the forest for the trees.
No higher mathematics
Fred Verstraaten does not consider data science to be higher mathematics. He graduated in Computer Science (Radboud University) and is now Digital Transformation Officer at Vanderlande. He finds it much more difficult to convince his colleagues of the value of the data, which is often up for grabs. “We are originally a family business; Many colleagues like to tinker in the factory themselves. That’s to their credit, but at the same time we still make decisions too often based on intuition and gut feeling.” High time for ‘fact-based decision making’, he thinks.
Data Science is not yet in the genes of our company and we are happy to be guided by an external party for whom it is core business. The choice fell on Pipple, a relatively small and modern agency. Verstraaten: “Pipple always reacts very quickly and thinks proactively. That is exactly what I expect from a supplier”.
Data flows through the organization, is consumed and produced by people and systems to support our processes to serve our customers. Being able to see connections is of strategic importance. Verstraaten: “We sent huge Excel files to hundreds of managers in dozens of countries, without any control over their use or interpretation. Moreover, reports ran alongside each other. Connections were hardly made. We’re doing a much better job of that now. We recognize patterns in our figures before the management sees them.”
Vanderlande made a hit that saves tons in the long run thanks to the connection that Pipple made between the call registration and the ERP system. Verstraaten: “Since then, we have noticed very early on when a remarkable number of spare parts are ordered for a particular component. We give the manufacturer of the component a signal that something may be wrong in his production. As a result, they can intervene quickly, so that we have much less trouble with defective parts.”
Pipple is also tasked with getting data science into the company’s genes. Verstraaten: “We drag our Pippelaars to all kinds of management and steering committee meetings.” He wants to get his people up to the level of the Pippelaars. Or higher. “The other day Pipple had us compete in teams: the group that managed to create the algorithm that best predicted the beer preference of a -fictitious- manager won a beer package. We had the greatest fun. That is also a strength of Pipple: they get everyone enthusiastic about data.”