Supply Chain & Logistics

‘Pipple makes everyone passionate about data’

Harm Bodewes

Executive Director Data & Analytics at Vanderlande

Everyday 11,5 million suitcases arrive at their destination with the help of the technologies developed at Vanderlande. On top of that, the robots produced by the Veghel-based company, move 45 million packages a day through the warehouses of giants like Amazon, UPS and DHL. Data in abundance. Pipple helps Vanderlande to see the forest for the trees.

No advanced mathematics

Data science is no advanced mathematics to Bodewes. He graduated in data modelling and he now is Executive Director Data & Analytics at Vanderlande. He finds it much harder to convince his colleagues of the value of data, which is often up for grabs. “Originally, Vanderlande is a family company; many colleagues enjoy pulling wrenches in the factory themselves. That is a great tribute to their dedication, but at the same time, still too often we make decisions based on intuition and gut feeling.”

Pleasantly small

“Large companies are unable to do the things Pipple does.”

– Harm Bodewes – Executive Director Data & Analytics at Vanderlande

However, no hard business case was needed to get an external team to pull Vanderlande into the modern data era. “You cannot calculate the results of such a change beforehand. I have more faith in a good idea than a meticulously calculated business case.” Bodewes chose Pipple, a relatively small and modern company. “Large companies are unable to do the things Pipple does. When working with a large company, I have to deal with an account manager, who needs approval for every small detail. With Pipple it is much easier: I can simply call them, they respond quickly and they think proactively.”

Recognize patterns

Earlier this year Vanderlande has merged two teams, Master Data Management and Business Intelligence, into one department: Data & Analytics. “We used to send huge Excel files to hundreds of managers in tens of countries, with no control over their interpretation. Also, reports were concerned with cross purposes and no connections were made. That has improved significantly. We now recognize patterns in numbers before the board of directors does.”


Vanderlande made a big hit which saves them hundreds of thousands of euros in the long term, thanks to the correlation Pipple found between registered calls and the ERP system. Bodewes: “Now we recognize in a very early stage whether a significant amount of spare parts is ordered for a specific component. We inform the manufacturer of the component that something is wrong in its manufacturing process. The manufacturer can then act quickly, so that we experience less fuss with broken parts.”

Competence development

Pipple is also commissioned to root the data science DNA into the genes of Vanderlande. Bodewes: “I drag Bart van de Laar, our guy from Pipple, to any board meeting and steering group.” Bodewes wants his people to achieve the same level of competence as Bart’s. Or higher. “Recently, Bart made us compete against each other in teams: the team, which made the algorithm to best predict the beer preference of a – fictional – manager, won a packet of beer. We had so much fun. That is the power of Pipple as well: they make everyone passionate about data.”