Continuing focus on quality

Continuing focus on quality

CEO Foreword
Dear <<First Name>>,
We unsuspectingly titled our previous newsletter “Nice start to the spring season”. A short while later the coronavirus epidemic broke out. The Dutch government designated Oldenburger|Fritom as being a company belonging to a vital sector. This meant that we were (and are) allowed to fully continue our services, albeit with the necessary safety adjustments. And of course, with a continuing focus on quality.

Our QHSE manager Olaf Roos, for example, obtained the diploma for Safety & Security Expert last July. This training of educational institute Kader focuses on recognizing risks in the workplace and how to deal with them in the right way. You can among others read about Olaf’s thesis topic: the man-up truck in our new distribution center.

Partly due to the coronavirus crisis the demand for high-quality logistics services regarding medical devices has increased. Because Oldenburger|Fritom has various customer relationships operating in this area, we are now focusing on obtaining the ISO 13485 certificate. You can read in this newsletter what this standard entails.

This time our recurring feature “The world around us” is about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the transport sector. The Dutch bank ABN AMRO states that volumes will be reduced by 5.5 percent in 2020. There are particular concerns about international sea freight, air freight and rail transport.


Finally, two student teams of NHL Stenden University are currently carrying out a Lean Six Sigma assignment at Oldenburger|Fritom. One team consists of second-year students that follow the International Business course. The other team consists of fourth-year students with a minor in SCIC (Supply Chain Innovation & Change). You can find out more about their assignment in this newsletter.

I wish you much reading pleasure.

René Dale


Ensuring safety in the workplace
Oldenburger|Fritom is continuously improving, optimizing and innovating its logistic solutions. Ensuring safety in the workplace is essential in this regard. Our QHSE manager Olaf Roos is focused on this every day. Last July, he obtained the diploma for Safety & Security Expert of Kader, an educational institute for quality assurance, organizational advice and training.


The Safety & Security Expert training
The training has an average duration of 7 months with 14 course days. Attention is paid to recognizing possible hazards and estimating risks in the workplace. The training also focuses on implementing appropriate measures. The topics covered during this training include:

  • Electrical safety
  • Fire safety
  • Machine safety
  • Hazardous substances
  • Accident analysis
  • Physical strain
  • Temporary workplaces
  • Health & Safety plan

In addition, skills such as giving a presentation and making recommendations are also part of the training. The same applies to reporting results of analysis and measures that must be taken to ensure a safe working environment.


Man-up truck BREEAM Outstanding DC
After having completed the training, the safety expert is fully aware of the related laws and regulations. He or she also knows how to draw up a Risk Inventory and Evaluation (RI&E) as well as a Task Risk Analysis (TRA). A thesis must be written and the training is completed by an exam and a defense of the thesis. Olaf chose the new man-up truck in our BREEAM Outstanding distribution center as thesis topic. To this end, he made a Task Risk Analyses (TRA) and mapped out possible dangerous situations. He then wrote a recommendation for the adoption of appropriate measures. 

With the officially recognized diploma for Safety & Security Expert of Kader, more substance is given to safety in the workplace. Moreover, the employee of a company or organization dealing with safety, like our colleague Olaf, feels more empowered to do so.

ISO 13485 for medical devices
Partly due to the coronavirus crisis, the demand for medical devices is increasing. Therefore, the same applies to the need for logistics partners providing high-quality services in this area. Oldenburger|Fritom has various customer relationships that operate in this industry. That is why we are now focusing on obtaining the ISO 13485 certificate.

Safety and quality in the supply chain
The ISO 13485 certificate shows that a company or organization meets the highest demands related to medical devices. The safety and quality are guaranteed in accordance with international requirements. This applies to each certified party that is part of the supply chain. In addition to manufacturers and suppliers this also includes installers, maintenance companies and logistics service providers such as ourselves. Certification according to ISO 13485 is not mandatory, whereas this is the case for having a quality management system.


Harmonized standards
The full name of ISO 13485 is NEN-EN-ISO-13485. EN stands for European Standard. NEN is the abbreviation of the Dutch non-profit organization that ensures that standards are translated and become available for the Dutch market. ISO 13485 was first published in 2003 and was initially the medical variant of ISO 9001.

The standard was thoroughly revised in 2016. Partly because of the introduction of the High Level Structure (HLS) and ISO 9001:2015. It is often thought that the efforts to obtain this certificate are similar to the ones of ISO 9001. That is not the case. ISO 13485 requires more detailed documentation of both instructions and procedures. It also requires that use is made of European harmonized standards.

Audit and final certification
The final certificate is issued by an independent and expert certification body. As with our certifications in previous years, we also called on the expertise of Bureau Veritas this time. At the beginning of September, one of their auditors conducted an assessment of our documents.

The purpose of this inspection was to assess whether we meet all the requirements to actually be audited. Various points of attention have turned up in this regard. If we implement these points for attention correctly, the audit is expected to take place in October. We will keep you informed.

fca40cb5-e501-4b72-8a41-68f04a3d743f.pngThe world around us
Impact of coronavirus on transport sector

Now that most lockdowns in China and Europe have been lifted, the transport sector is also recovering. The number of companies that achieved at least 20 percent less turnover in the period March to August is probably limited. Sector economist Albert Jan Swart of the Dutch bank ABN AMRO states that volumes will be reduced by 5.5 percent this year.

International sea freight (-9 percent), air freight (-10 percent) and rail transport (-10 percent) are particularly worrying. Relatively speaking, inland waterway transport and road transportation have suffered less from the coronavirus crisis. The road transportation volumes largely returned to pre-COVID levels. This is because this segment is related to, among others, the agricultural and construction sector.

However, a lower load factor is suspected in many segments. For road transportation related to export, for example, it seems that the volumes are much lower than before. According to Swart this is partly caused by low industrial production. The transport sector is expected to experience a 2.5 percent increase in 2021.

Lean Six Sigma assignment by two student teams
At the beginning of September, two student teams of NHL Stenden University started a Lean Six Sigma assignment at Oldenburger|Fritom. One team consists of 18 second-year International Business students and this team is divided into 3 subgroups. The other team consists of fourth-year students following various study programs with a minor in SCIC (Supply Chain Innovation & Change). Approximately half of each team consists of Dutch students and the other half of international students.
About the assignment
The students of both teams have been given the same Lean Six Sigma assignment. During a period of 4 months, the process of one of our customer relationships is the central objective. This process takes place in our new distribution center in Veendam and starts with inbound handling. The process ends when all the outbound activities have been carried out. In other words, when the trucks leave our premises.

The Lean Six Sigma assignment is carried out according to the 5 phases of DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. First of all, in addition to the above-mentioned start and end of the process, all intermediate steps of the process are also mapped out. This is followed by data collection and data analysis. Based on this, the students must ultimately put forward proposals for improvement. Due to the strict safety measures that we have taken regarding COVID-19, the students will largely carry out the assignment digitally.
Guidance by our Master Black Belt
The Lean Six Sigma method is the common theme throughout our operations. That is why several employees have obtained a Lean Six Sigma belt certificate. The highest attainable level herein is Master Black Belt. Frans Andeweg fulfills this role at Oldenburger|Fritom and is our Lean in-house expert. He guides both student teams during the execution of the assignment. The student team having SCIC as a minor can use this assignment to obtain the Green Belt certificate. The theory component is offered by NHL Stenden University.

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