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DSV experiments with modified working hours

Working five days in logistics and still being able to drop off and pick up your children from school. Since the end of January, logistics service provider DSV in 's-Heerenberg has been experimenting with modified working hours, which makes this possible. For Anne Berends from Silvolde (photo) it is "the ideal solution".

Anne Berends DSV

The pilot runs among a group of five employees who work between 09:00 and 14:00 hrs every day. Anne Berends (32) is one of them. Anne's partner is an international truck driver, which means she is on her own during the week, looking after their two children aged 6 and 7. "I would prefer to look after them myself, of course. For me, that cannot be combined with full-time work at the moment. That's why this is the ideal solution for us, so that we don't have to rely on after-school care."

Traditional sector

Gaby Stooter, HR Manager at DSV, is very pleased with how things are going, but points out that the organisation was not without its struggles. Together with Randstad, responsible for personnel planning at the warehouse, she took up the challenge. "It was a bit of a shock when we wanted to start this. Internally, I was told: "You can't do that at all". It is also unique that in our sector we have managed to deviate from the standard working hours of 8 to 5." 

As an employer services advisor at the UWV, Frank van Es recognises this traditional image of the sector. "In logistics, it is customary to work full days and be flexible. Especially in busy periods when you work through until all orders are out the door. HR departments see that more is needed to get all the work done, but they have to get the rest of the company on board. Logistics is a conservative sector in that respect. DSV has definitely achieved a good result here. 

Adjustments in logistics process

Stooter found that the biggest bottleneck was the adaptation of regular work processes. "A team leader has to take this into account. It took some getting used to in the first weeks. For example, when the work was distributed among the employees in the morning. This has to be done again when the 09.00 hrs group comes in. And when the work is still in full swing, this group leaves again. In terms of scheduling, this is quite a puzzle and requires additional coordination with the team leader. That's why we consciously chose a department where this is easier to achieve. 

Starting small

Berends therefore works in the so-called 'VAS' department (Value Added Services) where an additional operation is carried out in the logistics process. "What I mainly do in the department is preparing pallets of baby products for shipment, which for example first need to be given a different label." Originally, the Silvold employee is also a truck driver, just like her boyfriend. "In the future, I would also like to drive transport again. Work in logistics has always suited me well, which is why I became interested when I heard about this opportunity." 

Wilma Elbertsen is regional manager at VNO-NCW in the Achterhoek. The employers' association is involved in many regional labour market projects. She applauds the initiative and hopes it will inspire other employers in the Achterhoek, both in logistics and in other branches.

DSV shows that a lot is possible by making optimal use of the labour potential. If you start small, as happened here in one department, it automatically becomes easier to find support within your company.

Stooter already notices this on the shop floor "because team leaders see with their own eyes that it is possible to deviate from the regular work process."   

Win-win situation for broad target group

Elbertsen considers the project a 'win-win situation' that DSV and Randstad have created. "This is a perfect example of focusing on the needs of the job-seeker, in consultation with the employer. In this way, as an employer, you create a situation that you can bind employees to you for a longer period of time." Stooter adds: "We initially focused on the single parent, but it soon turned out to be a solution for somewhat older job seekers as well."

Regional partnership

The idea to introduce adapted working hours at DSV came from a brainstorming session in the 'Doing Agenda', says Van Es. Within this regional cooperation between municipalities, UWV, social services and VNO-NCW, the advisor sets up initiatives together with other working group members. Doing Agenda's goal is to get as many job-seekers as possible into the Achterhoek labour market, especially those who experience a distance from the labour market. 

Any questions?

Contact Erwin Peeters, our press contact.

Erwin Peeters