Katoen Natie: continued growth stimulates further professionalization in ICT

Written by Kurt Knops (CIO IT Katoen Natie) & Sophie Van Kerckhove (CEO IT Katoen Natie)

The expansion of Katoen Natie, the well-known international logistics service provider currently operating in 28 countries, knows no boundaries. The company gets almost daily mentions in the media with stories about its expansion, acquisitions, as well its impressive art collection and cultural projects. This growth led to an ongoing professionalization of its telecom and IT environment. To manage this process, a cooperation was set up between Sophie Van Kerckhove, CEO IT Katoen Natie, and Kurt Knops, CIO IT Katoen Natie.

“By collaborating with Tam Tam Consulting, our company has been able to stay focused on our business and the ongoing expansion and support of our various business units. Tam Tam Consulting provides us with the expertise to make the right choices with regards to technology, financial considerations and our future strategy.” (Sophie van Kerckhove)

Katoen Natie

As of 2004 Katoen Natie has permanent control over its wide range of telecom costs by using the Telecom Expense Management services offered by Tam Tam Consulting. Invoice checks, trend analysis, adjustments to fixed and mobile telephony and data as well as monitoring to ensure the correct application of contracts, are just a few of the things that enable Katoen Natie to achieve an annual average savings of 15% on its entire telecom environment.

“It was an informed choice to collaborate with Tam Tam Consulting on this SD-WAN project. After all, it’s not easy to negotiate a contract containing the proper financial, technical and contractual provisions when this is not a part of your daily activities. Furthermore, as a cherry on the cake, it has turned out to be more cost-effective compared to managing the network ourselves.” (Kurt Knops)

Focus on core business and outsource specific central services Katoen Natie has already outsourced a part of its specific central services to specialized companies. In a first step they built a stable network environment in Belgium. After careful consideration, the decision was made to take out a contract with Arcadiz to interconnect the data centers in Kallo and Ghent, to facilitate internet connectivity in these data centers and to provide the Antwerp Port region, including 19 Katoen Natie sites, with a fibre optic network. Katoen Natie uses Tam Tam Consulting’s expertise to ensure ironclad contracts with the proper future-oriented clauses. Vital parts of this project include checking the technical aspects of the offer, doing a thorough screening of the contracts’ documents, checking with the supplier’s existing clients and organizing negotiations with Arcadiz. 2017 signaled the start of a procurement process for a worldwide network.

Whereas in the past Katoen Natie handled the management and procurement of its entire international WAN-environment on its own, the company has, due to its substantial growth in recent years, since opted to work with a managed service provider. Tam Tam Consulting has taken over the entire process, from strategy, RFI’s, needs assessments and drawing up RFP’s to analyses, advice, contract review and adjustment. To come full circle with regards to global optimization and professionalization, it was also decided to go in search of potential telephony providers. Because of their expertise and the trust placed in them Katoen Natie turned to Tam Tam Consulting to guide them through the entire process with RFI’s, needs assessments, drafting RFP’s and templates, analysis of the responses, presenting results including advice and motivation and Proof of Concept to demonstrate an integration with the Skype for Business environment. The final part of this process also encompasses a future proof contract with the necessary flexibility and the proper provisions to ensure growth and adjustments in view of innovation.

“Our old company motto used to state that it was better to do everything ourselves. By now, however, we realize all too well that Katoen Natie is no longer a medium-sized business. Hence our decision to outsource everything that is not a part of our core business. In Tam Tam Consulting we found the perfect partner for our telecom environment. With their no-nonsense approach and extensive knowledge and expertise, they always manage to meet our expectations.” (Kurt Knops)

In conclusion, with proper guidance and support from their external advisors Katoen Natie can continue growing and innovating. We will likely hear about another of their new projects and initiatives in the near future.

Kurt Knops (CIO IT Katoen Natie), Sophie Van Kerckhove (CEO IT Katoen Natie),
Sonja Bevers (CEO Tam Tam Consulting), Gert Torfs (Consultant Tam Tam Consulting)

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