Employee of the month: Piet van der Plas


Delivery employee Piet van der Plas

Our sophisticated shipping system enables us to deliver flowers and plants all over the world. We thereby work a lot with external logistics companies. But florists in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany are supplied by our own drivers. These delivery employees deliver the finest products to florists six days a week. They set off early in the morning with their truck fully loaded. We rode along with delivery employee Piet van der Plas. Piet has been working at Heemskerk Flowers as a delivery employee for about three years. He showed us what his working day looks like. Will you join us?

Early bird

If you’re a delivery employee, you can’t struggle with getting out of bed early, since your work starts at 3 a.m. When we arrive at this early hour, the carts are already waiting at the dock. The trucks (box vans) are also ready at the dock. These preparations have all been made by the evening/night shift. Piet shows us how he gets started. First he is given a route on paper with a number of addresses of florists where he will be delivering that day. He starts by checking that all the carts for these customers are present. After everything has been checked, he rolls the carts into the truck. This is done in a certain order, so that the carts for the first customer end up at the front.

On the road

At around 3:30 the truck is fully loaded and Piet sets off for the first customer. This first trip is a 1.5 hour drive. So plenty of time to ask Piet some questions. Piet says he is 67. He always worked in the fish business. He had his own fish shop together with his brother, and also sold fish at the market. When he retired, he realised that sitting around was not for him. He went to work at Heemskerk Flowers for two days a week. He works on Wednesdays and Fridays, and sometimes an extra shift on Saturdays. He has enjoyed doing that for three years now. When we ask him what he likes about his work, he says: ‘I love driving anyway. Actually I enjoy the whole package; the independence and the responsibility for the orders that I deliver neatly to the florist. I constantly find myself in new places. Sometimes in the Netherlands, other times in Germany or Belgium in small, hilly villages. I enjoy that.’ When we ask him what else he likes to do, he says he likes looking after his grandchildren.

Planning system

We have now arrived at the first customer. Because it’s still so early, this customer isn’t around yet. Pete has a key from the ‘early customers’, so he can just roll the carts inside and the customer does not have to get out of bed. The customers have placed empty crates and possibly also their plastic flower waste or cardboard ready for Piet to take back with him. (dit alleen in NL en DE tekst vermelden?). The next customers where Pete is making a delivery are nearby. The planning system ensures that delivery employees drive the shortest routes to save both kilometres and time. After a few drops, and hence later in the morning, we encounter the first customers in their shops. It’s nice to have contact with the customers as well.

Once all the orders have been correctly delivered, we drive back to the company premises in Rijnsburg. The truck is refuelled and the returned waste is sorted and deposited in the designated bins. We recently started working with Circular Bags. Our customers can collect their flower waste in these bags and we take it away for them. This plastic is recycled into new flower bags, which is a great sustainable initiative! And customers are happy about it, since they no longer have to get rid of their waste themselves. Returned crates are also counted for our records. It is now 11.30 a.m. and Pete’s working day is at an end. The day shift is already hard at work processing the orders that will be going out this afternoon.

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