AG Logistics: Automation as the driving force behind strong growth


AG Logistics has been an important player in the Dutch transport and logistics sector for many years. Its new sustainable distribution center in Ede, the Netherlands, is fully equipped with automated solutions and has enabled the company to enter a new phase of growth. Digital innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit define AG Logistics, while its cooperation with a financial partner, such as DLL, helps the company to remain a market leader.

It is not by chance that AG Logistics is increasing innovation and sustainability. The company has grown since it was started in 2006 by owner Arie Thomassen. As a result, AG Logistics boasts some impressive figures in 2021: 110,000 m2 of warehouse space, 250 employees, approximately 20 million Euros in turnover, 5 locations, and 110 trucks. A high degree of automation is therefore essential to its operations.

Expansion in recent years

AG Logistics became a designated partner to handle overflow from Kraft Heinz around five years ago.

Thomassen says ‘The amount of overflow quickly proved to be unpredictable, and the number of pallets was higher than expected. This meant that we had to expand almost immediately and the speed with which we did this was impressive. However, within a short time, the initial 20,000m2 expansion had already become insufficient. This prompted me to negotiate a direct contract with Kraft Heinz and switch our operations to demand-driven processes, which eventually led to the completion of the new building in Ede in May 2021.’

After intensive testing, the building has proven to be able to meet market demand from various companies, including Kraft Heinz.

Leasing turned out to be a perfect financial solution for our journey towards automation"

Innovation in logistics processes

The collaboration between the two parties has intensified in recent years. To increase efficiency, it was decided to acquire a Körber automatic layer picker solution that can process several orders at the same time and is able to pick up several layers of products simultaneously. ‘Due to these automated capabilities, we are able to increase capacity, while maintaining service quality because automation and manual controls are working hand in hand. If errors do occur, we assess where things are going wrong and make the necessary adjustments," explains Thomassen.

‘The automated layer picking system is fully integrated with the warehouse management system (WMS). Overall, a considerable investment has been required to achieve volume, which is necessary to meet the demands of a manufacturer like Kraft Heinz. The system makes it possible to repackage pallets quicker and handle different sized pallets. This way, we can meet the delivery requirements of supermarkets more easily.’

Thomassen indicates that a need for diverse application is important for AG Logistics. This is exactly where automation can be of great help. The automated system can meet the specific requirements of various customers and partners, large and small. The capacity of the system is not yet fully utilized and can also be further expanded. Customization and flexibility are maintained, despite the increased capacity. Therefore, the system helps the company to achieve its desired market diversity.

Facilitating growth with DLL

From its inception to the present day, growth has been central to AG Logistics. Focusing initially on the Transport sector, the company has now also proven itself as a key player on the logistics market.

‘Our investments have been significant, so to maintain the financial flexibility we need to run the business, we started working with DLL. Leasing turned out to be a perfect financial solution for our journey towards automation,’ says Thomassen. ‘It was a relief to be able to work with DLL in this area, because they know the market and new supply chain solutions.’

Account Manager Guido Guiking (DLL) says ‘A substantial investment like this requires a customized solution. That is why, at DLL, sector specialization is so important. By combining knowledge of the market with a detailed understanding of the customer, we can offer tailored financial solutions and finance the entire project. In this case, we pre-financed a large portion of the investment to reduce costs during the production and installation process. Next to that, we also financed both the software and the installation costs.’

supply chain
By combining knowledge of the market with a detailed understanding of the customer, we can offer tailored financial solutions and finance the entire project."

DLL: Financing the future

AG Logistics is currently making considerable investments and continuing to drive increasing volumes as the demand for logistics solutions grows. The company is expanding in the Netherlands in the village of Oosterhout and in the city of Venlo. Thomassen is proud of this, but above all he values the company’s culture and atmosphere.

‘The human factor should never be lost. Despite its growth, AG Logistics has retained the atmosphere of a family business and our staff turnover is very low. We mainly work with permanent staff and treat our temporary staff as permanent staff. I know each employee personally and acknowledge their personal circumstances. That is why I still often do the planning myself,’ he says. ‘Success does not only depend on entrepreneurship and the ability to seize opportunities, but also on the people in the company. I hope that in the coming years we will retain the personal dimension as a connecting factor.’

Thomassen often says that he would like to hand over the company in a few years’ time, but also talks about projects that would keep him busy for decades. If the right successor were to be found soon – whether an outsider or one of his children – a lease and rental arrangement would simplify the transfer of the business. It is virtually impossible to take over a capital-intensive distribution company in any other way. That is why it is so important to have a dedicated financial partner such as DLL who provides ideas at every stage of a company’s development.

If you would like to know more about how DLL can help your company and support its growth, contact us and we will refer you to a specialist in your industry. We are happy to discuss the possibilities with you.

Guido Guiking

Account Manager

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