Koert le Pair: BODYWORK TECHNOLOGY SPECIALIST
“HELPING CUSTOMERS COME UP WITH A SOLUTION – ONE THAT WILL REALLY HELP THE VEHICLE BODY MANUFACTURER AND ENABLE HIM TO OPERATE A LOT MORE EFFICIENTLY, FOR EXAMPLE – IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ME.”
Koert le Pair is a bodywork technology specialist at Imbema Transport and Logistics. The combination of sales and technology, helping customers to come up with solutions and the pleasant contact with colleagues make his job an interesting one.
WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU DO AT IMBEMA?
“My job basically involves selling to vehicle body and trailer manufacturers. That is the ultimate aim. In doing so, it is important to gain the customer’s confidence. Show that you are there for them and assist them in the process of coming up with solutions that will really help them. For that, you not only need to have skills yourself, you also need the expertise of the back office team. Sometimes you are a salesman, then an advisor and another time you are just the link between the customer and the back office.”
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?
“Well… what motivates me is the contact with people and helping them come up with solutions. The diversity also makes my work fascinating. My job as a vehicle body salesman covers a wide range of transport vehicles across multiple sectors. The metal industry also buys some of the products from our range. So my job is varied in every respect. From valve caps to fully assembled box truck bodies. From sole traders to multinationals. Contact with the warehouse staff up to the director.
“I consider good contact with my colleagues extremely important too. You should be able to have fun at work. Well, just a little bit, within the rules, of course. The team I’m part of is really great and there is a good atmosphere at work. We range from young to well… me, you could say, and from ADHD to calm… That makes contact fun and dynamic. There’s something to laugh about every day. I also need them in order to do my job. I’m still learning so collaboration is crucial for me. Everyone has their own specialism or experience. As a relative newcomer with just ‘5 years’ in the trade, it’s useful for me to be able to go to people with questions whenever I need to. So thanks to my colleagues for that.”
WHAT KIND OF HELP DO YOU GIVE THE CUSTOMER?
“It’s great when you get involved in a project very early on. Then you can start with a blank page and really advise the customer. That is often not the case and then you have to guide the customer’s way of thinking. One example would be a customer who always uses a drive-on ramp with extra support at the hinge point while we can supply a ramp without extra support without the load capacity being affected. By using that solution, the customer will save on extra materials and extra effort. I believe that smart solutions like that are where our strength lies.”
“With our assembly services, we can also be a ‘flexible shell’ for the customer. When the customer is under pressure, he can count on us. We can’t do everything but we can take the worry off the customer’s hands by supplying doors, side panels or mudguards already assembled, for example. The more we do, the more confident the customer becomes in us.”
WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS WITHIN THE TRANSPORT AND LOGISTICS MARKET?
“At the moment, my customers are primarily focusing on how they are going to put the 1.5 metre social distancing into practice. We can help them do that. How can we make workplace processes smarter and more convenient? How can you fit a rear door on your own or how can one man install a heavy toolbox? There are all kinds of questions that will need to be answered. Not just with regard to the 1.5 metre distancing but also the costs involved for our customer.”
“Autonomous driving and the climate agreement are also important developments that are going to change the market in the future. Will electric vehicles mean that trailers have to be made lighter so that the battery will have a longer range? Or may trailers be made heavier in the future? Electric motors have high torque and power which means that electric vehicles can transport larger loads, with fewer vehicle movements.
Interesting discussions that I will enjoy being involved in as an advisor. A lot of stuff for me to immerse myself in so that I can develop.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IMBEMA?
“The interesting thing about Imbema as a family business is the flexibility. Looking at what the market wants and focusing on that. Change is the only constant in the world and at Imbema, we can go along with that. In my opinion, we have reasonably short lines within the organisation. We all talk to each other. Everyone’s doors are always open for a good chat over a cup of coffee or tea. That is definitely a value that we should hold onto. With answers to how, what and where, you can adapt quickly and step in where the market needs you to.”
WITH WHICH OF YOUR CUSTOMERS WOULD YOU SOMETIMES LIKE TO SWAP PLACES?
“Difficult question. I don’t want to name anyone in particular. However, flexibility and focus on growth in the future are what I look for. Some companies get stuck in a rut and haven’t changed over the past ten to twenty years. That’s not my thing, shall we say. Look to the future, that’s when things are going to happen. But stay alert to what’s happening around you, just like when you’re sailing. Sometimes you need the whole river to get anywhere.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE DOING IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
“Sport isn’t really my thing. I’m a sleeping member of the Basic Fitness club, haha…. But I do like walking. It doesn’t really matter to me where I walk. At the weekend at 6 o’clock in the morning on the beach in Haamstede, Zeeland. I walk for 2 or 3 hours. It’s so wonderfully peaceful.”
“Oh yes, and every now and then I’ll spend the weekend doing work on my house that dates back to 1932. A bit of carpentry, converting the utility room, building a covered veranda, etc. It’s a great way to relax.”
AND FINALLY, WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE?
“Those yellow Ms! There’s far too many of them and they’re all too close to the motorway, haha.”