A growing organisation with only limited knowledge of logistics needs a logistics provider to embrace it and nurture it. So DSV’s service, transparency and flexibility gave the value that Portioli Coffee was looking for.
Restaurateur Elias Grigoriou set up Portioli Caffè Nederland in 2011. It is the Dutch distributor for the Italian coffee brand of the same name as well as the Silkenty brand of tea from Sri Lanka. Portiolo Caffè Nederland also distributes coffee machines under the brand name of GIME.
The primary target market is restaurants, hotels and cafes. The individual products can be bought separately or as part of a total tea and coffee solution.
Comparing apples with apples
All the coffee products are imported by road from Italy. Tea is imported by sea and air freight from Sri Lanka.
“As we’re a small business focusing on fresh products, we have a number of logistical challenges. It’s important for our warehouse stock levels to be kept low – that keeps the products fresh and the capital outlay low too”, says Elias Grigoriou.
“The low stock levels are a challenge when a large order comes in unexpectedly. We import our coffee from Italy and it used to be our buyer who arranged shipment to the Netherlands for us. That meant we had no influence on the transport, and things often went wrong,” explains Avinandha Ramsoedh, office manager at Portiolo Caffè Nederland. Avinandha is also responsible for transport within the Dutch company.
Importing tea from Sri Lanka has its challenges too. “The tea only gets produced to order. As we don’t want to store in bulk because tea needs to be fresh, there can sometimes go up to three months between order and delivery”, adds Ramsoedh.
“I’m not a transport expert myself, but I am responsible for the transport within the company here”, says Ramsoedh. Transport quotes are a complex area and vary from one logistics provider to another. That makes is very difficult to compare apples with apples.”
In 2014, Portioli Caffè Nederland decided to re-assess its whole logistics setup. “We wanted to manage the transport from Italy ourselves and so we looked for a logistics supplier who could help us. Our previous supplier’s service wasn’t good. You always got different people on the phone and you got the feeling that they didn’t take small companies seriously. I searched for a new supplier on the internet and found DSV”, says Ramsoedh.
We’ve been using DSV for a while now and service has taken quite a leap forward. Of course it depends who answers the phone, but fortunately we only deal with one customer service team so the number of people you speak to is limited.
Operations have also seen a quantum leap since the switched to DSV. “Our warehouse is in the centre of Utrecht, where there are lots of narrow streets, so it was difficult to get a large truck in for deliveries and collections. DSV solved this with no fuss by using a smaller truck.”
“Portioli Caffè Nederland is a great example of how we as a multinational can help smaller businesses”, says Patrick van Ulft, Commercial Manager at DSV Road in the Netherlands. “And thanks to the open, direct contact with the customer, we can also learn how to improve our service even more”, he adds.