'People are the key to success'

When we arrive on Vanderlandelaan street in Veghel, it takes some searching: where do we park? The Vanderlande “campus” is enormous and it takes us several laps before we discover that we should have been on another street altogether (which we would have known if we had looked at the website more closely). Once we have parked, though somewhat overheated, it’s nice to sit and have a coffee while we talk to René van Sandijk, who has been the company’s CIO for the last ten years, about collaboration with Centric. What exactly do we do for Vanderlande, and why has the company been our client for the past ten years?

There’s a good chance you have already heard of Vanderlande. This company, with around 50 branches worldwide, is the global market leader in the construction of baggage handling systems. Their systems, which move nearly 4.2 billion pieces of luggage per year, operate in 600 airports around the globe, including 13 of the world’s top 20. Aside from this, Vanderlande makes material handling systems (MHS) for warehousing, e-commerce, and the postal and parcel delivery sector. René: “One of the several things that makes Vanderlande special is its combination of logistics and IT and the innovation we bring to this. After all, IT is becoming ever more important to us.”

The right mix

Vanderlande keeps a portion of its IT in-house and outsources another part. “We always keep some of it in-house to ensure that we retain certain knowledge in the company. Beyond this, we work with a flexible layer of preferred suppliers for specific areas of knowledge. In the case of escalations, major projects, or staff replacement in the event of illness, for example, we automatically rely on Centric. If there is something wrong with our ERP system, we turn to our ERP partner. The advantage of this approach is that it enables us to benefit from our partners’ expertise. Because, for a party like Centric, IT is core business; you know better than anyone which innovations are relevant and which are not. So, I strongly believe in the mix.”

High-quality professionals

Some ten Centric professionals are working at Vanderlande (at the time of writing). René: “They help us with internal IT, so workspace and system management around the globe. In total we are talking about 7000 workspaces. The number of Centric people that we procure also fluctuates. If we receive a lot of demand via client projects, for example, we will scale up. So, we also call on external Centric people.” When asked why the company always turns to Centric, René answers: “When working with external professionals, it is of course especially important that the quality of the people is high. That’s the starting point. And this is certainly true with Centric. Not only are they well equipped technically, they also have good social skills. And that’s important given that they have to work closely with our people and clients. If I compare you with other parties in the knowledge area, I think that Centric is able to deliver just a bit more in terms of size and diversity, both for our internal IT and for our client projects.”

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Standard components

Vanderlande is currently looking at how they can make the transition from engineer-to-order to configure-to-order. For this, the company wants to make smarter use of the standard components of the software for baggage handling systems as a way of reducing customisation. “Centric helps us define standard IT products we can deploy across our various customers and platforms. The plan is that we will soon have components for network, database, and software deployment, for example.

Container project

Towards the end of our conversation, René mentions the microservices platform that Vanderlande is developing together with Centric. “This platform comprises complex software with a lot of logic. The platform was built in concert with Centric Nederland and Lithuania.” Under the hood of this platform you find various new cloud technologies based on (among others) Docker and Kubernetes. “Bringing the cloud components together smartly and making them work together was key. The architects at Centric have provided us with excellent assistance. In the future we want to, increasingly, run on cloud platforms, for example directly on Azure or AWS. There is a good chance that we will approach Centric for this as well.”

The professionals have the right mindset

“The professionals have the right mindset.”

“The technology behind the container platform is relatively new, meaning there are no standard consultants for this technology. That’s why it’s important to work with professionals who have the right mindset and the skills to master the technology.”

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Wilko van de Langenberg Innovation Project Manager at Vanderlande

'Here, you get the opportunity to be truly creative.'

“At Vanderlande I work on innovative global projects. For example, I travelled to Los Angeles International Airport and twice to the airport in Hong Kong. The IT infrastructure sometimes accounts for only two percent of the total project, but without us, the baggage claim carousel comes to a standstill.”

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Dennis Lookman Project Manager at Centric

'Vanderlande is a leading technology company.'

“Working in an international, multidisciplinary team, we developed, together with the client, a microservices platform based on containers. I provided Vanderlande with support in defining the reference architecture. It was inspiring to be able to help such a leading technology company innovate."

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Dick van Straaten Consultant at Centric

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