125 years for Gebr. van den Eijnden

Gebr. van den Eijnden in The Netherlands is 125 years old this year.  The current owner and CEO, Peter Lauret, took over the business from the third generation of the family in 2007.  “We are very proud to achieve this milestone,” Peter said.  “We are proud of our people and organisation and proud of our loyal customers and partners. Without them we would not be where we are today.”

The business was started in 1898 by Hendrik van den Eijnden in Eindhoven, moving goods for people from the local streetcar station to the railway. It invested in its own premises in the early 1920s and its first moving vehicle in 1927.  This, however, was  requisitioned by the Germans during World War II and transported to Germany.

The company really began to prosper in the 1950s and parted, in the 1960s, with its last horses. In the mid 60s the third generation took over the company: the brothers Ad, Frans and Henk. Henk left the company in 1972 to start his own business.

In 2007 Peter Lauret took over the company from Ad and Frans. In 2009 Peter also bought Henk’s company from him.  

The business today

Today the turnover is split 50/50 between transport and removals. Peter said that, in the past the company was dependent on a small number of customers, but that has now changed.  “During the last 15 years we have spread this out over many more ‘new’ customers,” he explained. “We have seen removal volumes decrease in recent years with new activities, such as warehousing, taking its place.

The company still uses the family name, as it is a well-known name in the region. “But although it is no longer a real family business, we do try to pursue the security and safety of a family business,” said Peter. “For me it is very important that all employees enjoy their work, and that we also give them responsibility. Core values within the company are respect and integrity, which is also very important between employees. In addition, we have an ‘open’ culture, in which everyone is accountable for his or her discipline.”

Asked what makes his company special, Peter acknowledged that it’s hard for a company to stand out in the moving business. He said, however, that his company is the oldest and largest removal company in the Eindhoven region. “We also have a common thread in our services, which is quality. This is reflected in art transport , high-tech transport and our removal activities. We continue to work on expanding the top segment in the moving field and we stand for the right price-quality ratio.”

The challenges
What does Peter feel are the biggest challenges in the industry today?  He said that customers in all areas of the business are becoming more demanding and there has been a decline in corporate moving. Private customers want everything at short notice. They want everything done immediately. Business customers are less loyal to their suppliers and still end up choosing price over quality. A relationship built from the past has less value.” But our company has developed into a professional organisation that can respond very flexibly to the wishes of the customer.

But it is the recruiting of the right staff that Peter believes is most difficult.  “We are in a difficult labour market. It is difficult to recruit skilled people. We also see that the new generation often wants to work maximum 32 hours a week, and not in the evenings or weekends.” He also believes responding to societal changes, such as the need for environmental sustainability, as a major challenge.

Gebr. van den Eijnden is not celebrating the anniversary on a specific day.  Instead it intends to spread activities throughout the year to give as many members of staff as possible the opportunity to take part.  In March the company invited business partners to a party at the warehouse, followed by an open house.  In May there was a party for staff.  Other events throughout the year will include a fun day for staff, a GPS tour with electric Tuk Tuks, an after-work barbeque and lots more to allow people to celebrate 125 years together and look forward to more happy anniversaries in the future.

Photo: Peter Lauret

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