Interview with TNW100 Member Jettie van Mourik

Are entrepreneurs the key to sustainability?
20th June 2016
Community & Events Manager (Internship) @ TheNextWomen
22nd June 2016

Jettie van Mourik (1979) is the founder and director of Jet Verzendt, the logistics IT company whose daily business is working on her mission of making shipments easy. Since its foundation in 2013, Jet Verzendt has experienced a growth of 400% with a turnover of over four million. In 2015, the company received the FD Gazelle Award from the Financieel Dagblad newspaper for outstanding entrepreneurship. Besides her role at Jet Verzendt, Jettie is a chairman of the board of a medium-sized family firm and mother of five young children.

You don’t have a logistics background. Where did you get the inspiration for Jet Verzendt?
‘The booming e-commerce market produces many opportunities. I got to know the market thanks to my husband’s logistics company. I’ve always been a “builder”. I love the challenge of making something great from nothing. That’s why I do what I do. It could easily have been in another sector. My father is my greatest source of inspiration. He taught me how to convert creative ideas into successful product development. So I learned to think out of the box at a very young age. I’m fascinated by people with above-average knowledge or passion. I always try to learn as much as possible and be open for new insights.’

What do you like about the logistics sector?
‘When I tell people at meetings that my work involves parcel shipments, half of them aren’t interested. And yet it’s totally of today and dynamic! I’d even say that it’s one of the most interesting sectors at the moment. The Netherlands has more webshops than physical shops and online shopping is expected to have doubled by 2020. It’s becoming increasingly complicated and you can see that logistics companies are winning ground on the one hand, but are also feeling the heat. Prices are under pressure, the transport model doesn’t meet consumer needs and sustainability is justifiably an issue for the sector. Alternative transport options are a question of time. Smart connections are the key.’

How do you manage to distinguish yourself in the market?
‘The market wants new, innovative and flexible players who can respond to changes. We arrange the contracts with the transport companies, the IT, and we manage the logistics process. Links between the booking platform, the transport companies and the webshop allows orders to be automatically accepted, shipment labels created and track and trace messages to be sent. We are constantly developing new products and services like the Snelweg, the platform which makes it easy for companies to book their shipments, and the consumer helpdesk which supports associated webshops because Jet Verzendt handles all the consumer’s logistic questions. Our personal customer service is another important pillar. When you call us, you don’t get an endless choice of options; you immediately get one of our permanent customer service staff on the phone.’

Jet Verzendt has been in business for nearly three years. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned so far?
‘There have been so many! Can I really only choose three?
1. There are more than enough investors for good plans! It helps enormously if you start on a very small scale and don’t wait for an investor. If your plan is really good, the investors will appear by themselves.
2. Never lose sight of the risks. Don’t let yourself be led by good growth figures.
3. Make choices. Not investing is often riskier than a year without profit. Make your decision and keep to it.’

You and your husband both have your own business and five young children. What’s your daily life like?
‘Sometimes crazy, most of the time great! Running my family and my business requires good planning as well as lots of flexibility. I feel it’s important to have fun in both my work and with my family. Because I have the freedom to plan everything myself, I can enjoy every day. It doesn’t work for me if I’m under pressure for too long. Then I get the feeling of wanting to “break out”. I get up early and when the children have gone to school, I work. I’m constantly weighing up what I want to spend my time on. After a busy meeting, I might leave the office to go the hairdresser. I may get loads of e-mails in the meantime, but I think it’s important to factor in relaxation. Over the years, I’ve become a specialist at delegating, both at home and at work. Not when it comes to the children, of course. Being a mother is much too much fun!’

How do you see your future? What else can we expect from you?
‘I’d really like to strengthen and broaden our concept. Offer more effective services which provide immediate support. We can only achieve that by substantially expanding our IT team and making investments. I’m currently drawing up a plan for this. Meanwhile, I feel it’s important for all employees to develop. I’m increasingly convinced that it’s not good to be primarily focused on results, but more on the people behind the company. If they grow, the business grows too. You will certainly be seeing more of Jet Verzendt.’

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