A conversation with Charles Slaghuis covers several hot issues, but the core element is his drive. “We need to accomplish EPAL together.” “We have been members of EPAL now for six years,” says Charles Slaghuis, Commercial Director of Lievaart & Slaghuis Palletgroep. He stands behind this statement more strongly than ever. “The importance of EPAL and the EPAL certification is not only in our interest.” As far as he is concerned, the benefits apply to the entire industry, the entire chain: producers, traders and users. What are the most important advantages? “Safeguarding quality and safety, sustainability and the environment. But also continuity, innovation and bringing together different strengths.”
“You are not the cheapest option if you are an EPAL member. You don’t have to be, because you have more to offer. A pallet is more than just a thing or a product. An EPAL pallet is a service that supports efficiency in logistics and processes. It helps you meet the requirements and needs of customers and predict new legislation and regulations. This makes you a flexible partner for the market.” Customers are assured of your added value, the plusses of EPAL. “It’s about the EPAL advantages and the added value. These must be clear of course. Even for pallet companies that are not yet EPAL members,” emphasises Charles Slaghuis. “The more members, the stronger we are collectively and as individual companies.”
Slaghuis has no doubts about the future of pallets. “Pallets are and will always be needed. No supply chain can do without them. Everyone needs them.” The undervaluation is therefore unjustified, he thinks. Even more so, “Their importance is only growing. Look at the developments in automation, using robotics in storage and distribution. You can’t stop it.” As an example he names the large refrigeration units where people are not permitted to work. “They are minus 50 degrees! They use specialised robots to treat the pallets quickly and efficiently. This means that every pallet must meet high standards and everything has to be right. You do not want accidents to happen because of bad pallets.”
The fact that EPAL can and must play a greater role is clear to Charles Slaghuis like a pile of pallets. “The advantages are obvious. The certified quality from production to repair, the assurance, sustainability and of course the versatility across Europe. EPAL has the potential to grow into a strong universal brand, a partner for Lidl and ALDI and a lot of other companies. We need to work together to accomplish this.”
With a workforce of about 60 employees, Lievaart & Slaghuis Palletgroep is one of the larger players in the market for quality pallets. Founded in 1982 in Maasland in the Westland region, the company grew quickly and is now located in Hoek van Holland. With a well-equipped premises of 25,000 m2, Lievaart & Slaghuis Palletgroep offers total solutions. The company is a reliable, involved partner for dozens of companies and works in several countries including the Benelux countries, Germany and the United Kingdom. Customisation, quality and sustainability underpin all its and EPAL’s values. Click here for the full interview with Charles Slaghuis.