Meet Transport COO Christopher Van Den Daele: ‘We’re headed for exciting times and I’m looking forward to being part of it.’
We welcomed a new Transport COO on 1 April. Although ‘new’ may not be the best word to describe it, as Christopher van den Daele is far from a new face at H.Essers. In fact, he’s worked for our company for fifteen years and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. Christopher is excited about what the future holds. Time to get to know him better!
How did you end up at H.Essers?
‘I was looking for a student internship, preferably with a company that shared my love of transport and logistics. That’s how I found H.Essers – and I never left! I’ve held various positions over the years. I started by supervising our cross-dock systems and processes before moving on to transport systems and processes. After eight years I was appointed operations manager at our Operations Department and then business unit manager at our FTL Synchromodal Department, where I helped develop our intermodal strategy. Last year I also started managing the Groupage Department. On 1 April of this year I became COO of Transport.’
Why is this position a perfect fit for you?
‘I love working on new projects and developments and I really enjoy the change process. It motivates me and keeps me sharp. In that respect, I think this new role suits me perfectly. Together with my team I translate our transport strategy into practice while maintaining a link with the operational side of things.’
‘This doesn’t mean the 2020-2025 strategy we developed a few years ago has to change dramatically. I strongly believe in the path we’re on now, which involves putting our customers first, expanding our synchromodal network and developing international hubs at strategic locations throughout Europe. We’ve achieved a lot and we’re now ready to expand our position internationally. I’m really looking forward to it. Things like rising energy prices, staffing shortages and the war in Ukraine are extremely challenging in the short term and have to be addressed without losing sight of our long-term vision.’
Which challenges do you foresee in the long term?
‘We can’t grow and develop without the right people. So we need to find them any way we can, even if it means expanding our search internationally. Our HR Department is attracting new talent by creating a strong employer brand, developing an inclusive vision and offering excellent growth opportunities for both current and prospective employees. I’m the perfect example! We’re also working on developing our systems and processes to match our growth. Standardisation helps us make informed decisions and streamlines collaboration. The new TMS we plan to roll out at all sites in the coming years is a great example of this. Not only will this benefit our internal operations, it will also add value for our customers, who will have real-time access thanks to the new systems. We can also take a more proactive approach and develop faster solutions.’
What are you looking forward to most in your new role?
‘I love being part of the H.Essers success story. We’ve made some great moves in recent years and it’s an honour to be part of that, especially on the international level. We’ve laid a rock-solid foundation for our continued growth in countries like Germany, Italy and Spain, which will help us in our strategic Chemicals and Pharma segments as well. I can’t wait to expand our reputation throughout Europe! We’re headed for exciting times and I’m looking forward to being part of it.’