Think globally, act locally – this is the motto under which the PTV Group has been expanding its international presence over the past 40 years. Today there are branch offices on all continents. In the course of our anniversary year, we would like to provide you with fascinating insights into our six sales regions. Our first interview partner is Dyon van Gaans, Regional Director for Northern Europe – an experienced sales expert who has been with PTV for quite some time.
Compass: Dyon, please tell us what motivated you to join PTV.
Dyon van Gaans: After completing my studies in Business Administration with a major in logistics, I first worked for a transport company for two years before joining Districon – where I also met Vincent Kobesen. There I realised that my heart beats rather for sales than for consulting. I had heard about PTV’s innovative software solutions and went to Karlsruhe to meet Hans Hubschneider. That was back in 1989. I simply suggested that he sell his software in the Netherlands. So Vincent and I founded Ordis in 1990. As an independent partner company, we sold PTV products for nine years, before Ordis became PTV Benelux.
Compass: What products did you sell back then?
Dyon van Gaans: Our focus has always been on logistics. It was only a few years ago though that we entered the traffic market in our region. The first two products that we started with were: Mega, now called PTV Map&Guide, and Intertour, now PTV Route Optimiser. I still remember my first customer, Van Mierlo in Veghel (NL) – a company that still counts among our most loyal clients.
Compass: What are currently your best-selling products?
Dyon van Gaans: Even today, PTV Map & Guide, PTV Route Optimiser and the PTV xServers are our bestsellers. We are very creative in this field. So in addition to logistics companies, we now also sell our products to health care services or bailiffs, who also have to plan their routes as efficiently as possible.
Compass: You have been very successful in the Netherlands from the outset – what is your recipe for success?
Dyon van Gaans: We have always focused on what we do best, i.e. distributing logistics products. We don’t develop the software ourselves, it all comes from Karlsruhe. We sell the standard solutions and we always give our customers exactly what they really need. For example, I don’t think Google could replace us in the Netherlands, because our customers need toll data and truck attributes. In addition, from the outset we have relied on the principle of a broad customer base instead of becoming dependent on a few major customers. In my opinion, another important success factor is our proximity to our customers. We are always available and maintain close contact with existing customers. So we visit each customer at least once a year. And conversations over a cup of coffee or tea often lead to new orders.
Compass: Which success story of the past years are you particularly proud of?
Dyon van Gaans: The biggest milestone was certainly our cooperation with the Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics, TLN, established in 1996. Based on Map&Guide, we have created the TLNPlaner, which is still today’s industry standard and is used by virtually all members of the association.
Compass: How has the region developed since the start in the Netherlands?
Dyon van Gaans: Since then we’ve expanded our sales efforts to include Belgium. I made the first appointments there myself. In 1999, we opened offices in Ypres and Mechelen together with Ludo Hendrix. This year, we are actually celebrating our 20-year anniversary there. We also put out feelers to England and Scandinavia, but using relatively little manpower. Our Business Development Manager for Scandinavia had to fly back and forth because we didn’t have an office in the area at the time. The whole thing really took off with the takeover of the British company Distribution Planning Software Limited (DPS) in 2016.
Compass: Then not only Halesowen near Birmingham was added as a new location, but Gothenburg as well …
Dyon van Gaans: Exactly. We’ve moved much closer to our local customers, which has allowed us to position ourselves better in the market. In Gothenburg we now have seven employees who take care of the whole of Scandinavia. As Denmark is a rapidly growing market, we are planning a new office in Copenhagen. In England, we are expanding our traffic business under the leadership of Devrim Kara and our logistics business under James de Roo. To ensure efficient cooperation, we continuously exchange ideas with each other.
Compass: Are logistics products still as important for your region today?
Dyon van Gaans: Oh, yes – definitely. We are experts in the logistics products business here and I continue to see excellent growth opportunities. Last year alone, we completed 46 new projects in the Benelux countries. Just recently, for example, we had a joint meeting with the Dutch TLN and the British RHA Road Haulage Association to see whether it was also possible to set up an association solution as an industry standard over there.
Our goal, however, is also to further expand the Traffic and New Mobility business areas in northern Europe. The Netherlands and Scandinavia are truly among the pioneers when it comes to new mobility. Every year, more electric vehicles are registered there than anywhere else in the world. I see a lot of potential for our traffic planning and optimisation software and, of course, for our MaaS products. In England, for example, we just recently won a contract for a project to set up a network of charging stations for e-cars.
Compass: How do you think PTV will develop over the next few years?
Dyon van Gaans: We do provide excellent products with PTV xServer, PTV Route Optimiser and the Maas portfolio. I’m positive that this will give us the potential to continue growing strongly internationally. I believe that by continuously investing in innovative products, we are ideally equipped for the future.
This post is also available in: German