Growth in Europe and in warehousing
Florent Claassen (54), managing director of family business Claassen Logistics, always thinks in growth opportunities, Benelux distribution is core business, the focus is on Europe and warehousing. The close-knit family culture is characteristic of this transport company: finances should not be number 1 all the time.
The shining old-timer truck in the entrance hall of Claassen shows the pride in the family business, which has existed for 167 years. Three and a half years ago these new headquarters of the transport company were built, in a time of crisis. ‘That moment was a risk’, Florent admits. ‘We anticipated anticyclically and constructed this building with crossdock and warehousing spaces. For an SME company we want to focus on three segments: Benelux, Europe and warehousing. Our core business is Benelux distribution, but we had to be ready the moment we started to grow. It is pleasant that it has worked out this way and the investments have not been in vain’, he says. Claassen Logistics is a healthy and solid business with a long-term vision. ‘It is important that you keep investing in your company’, Florent suggests.
European logistics network
For Claassen, the growth market lies in European distribution and warehousing. ‘The client’s demand has changed due to internationalisation and globalisation of the SME segment’, Florent explains. ‘We are on the same level as the SME. There is a click, we have the same flexibility and the same adaptability. The SME client knows us well and knows our Benelux distribution is reliable, with state-of-the-art facilities. For us this is an excellent opportunity to offer warehousing and international logistics.’ In Europe, Claassen works together with country partners. The transport company participates in well-organised networks with fitting processing times. Sea and air freight are the special transports offered by Claassen to complete the logistics network for the client. Sister company Tlogistics is the fulfilment specialist and takes care of the intricate parcel service for web shops.
Heart for Tilburg
Claassen is Purveyor and with its 167 years it is the second oldest company in Tilburg. ‘We earn our bread in Tilburg, many of our employees live in Tilburg, and therefore I find it important to do something for the city in return. We sponsor all kinds of clubs and facilitate many activities.’ Florent is a member of various boards that are concerned with the city’s general welfare. ‘This city has a strong economic and social cohesion. Entrepreneurs, authorities and education work closely together to create a business environment for the logistics sector. The city of Tilburg offers logistics companies room to grow, both in a literal and figurative sense.’
Family Claassen Logistics
Florent is a businessman to the bone, but still his family plays the most important role in his life. He is proud that his wife Hanneke and son Huib (23) currently work for the company. Huib represents the sixth generation. He studied logistics and economics and started in the company last year. Son Bram is studying commercial economics and may follow, daughter Bregje has chosen a different direction. At Claassen’s all decisions are made with ‘common sense’. Florent: ‘The feeling must be right. Finances should not always be number 1. If by the end of the year I have an enjoyable group of people who are satisfied, that is much more fun…’. He thinks for a while, ‘that means even more to me than a sound financial result. Though the latter should be there too, of course’, Florent concludes smiling.