English

Imagine writing a university thesis paper, completing a study program, and working at Farm Trans at the same time: Chiel Heuvelmans (24) did. Chiel recently completed his final project in our Business Control division. And with success: Chiel now holds a master’s in Supply Chain Management.

Prior to starting his master’s program, Chiel had already earned his bachelor’s in Logistics Engineering. Chiel: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at university. After graduating, I didn’t want to start working right away. Actually, I immediately thought, ‘I’m still looking for a challenge.’ First, I did a pre-master’s and then I ended up in a Supply Chain Management master’s program.”

Chiel emphasises that the logistics sector is highly diverse: “Farm Trans is a logistics provider, but you can also find yourself working at a hospital or an event management company. During my studies, I learned about as many logistics sectors as possible. This ranged from doing an internship at a production company to my current focus on transport.”

Chiel’s thesis addressed the topic of loading factors in temperature-controlled trailers, and was entitled “Increasing the capacity utilization of the conditioned trailers”. Chiel explains more: “It’s about safely and efficiently transporting pallets with products at the right temperature. The capacity utilization for that can be calculated in five different ways, e.g. based on the surface area and weight of each pallet. In doing so, you have to consider the factors that impact capacity utilization, such as return cargo, weight restrictions, and regulations based on food safety and certifications.”

Chiel emphasised the relevance of his research: “The percentage of empty trailers on the road must be reduced. Roughly 20% of all trailers on the road in Europe are empty, and this figure is even higher in the Netherlands.” The research process consisted of several phases: “I started with a review of the literature, focusing on theories about capacity utilization. Next, I spent a day shadowing to learn more about company operations. After that, I interviewed relevant stakeholders in various departments and carried out data analysis. I compared all the data collected, arriving at a conclusion and a recommendation.”

In addition to doing his thesis there, Chiel also worked at Farm Trans. Chiel: “In principle, I worked 40 hours a week for Farm Trans. Four days were spent working on my thesis and one was spent working for Farm Trans. For my internship, I was already working one day a week at Farm Trans, in the Business Control division. What’s great about Business Control is that it connects you to all the other divisions and, theoretically, you work with each of them.”

Put simply, it was a unique time in which Chiel compiled a wide range of weekly reports and conducted research into capacity utilization. How did Chiel experience this period? “The work at Business Control is analytical, and the people are great. I’m really proud of my thesis. Unexpected challenges aside, it’s mainly the product of hard work and persistence! I’ll still be working at Farm Trans for the next few months, and, after that, I’m going to travel to Asia.”