How Van Tilburg-Bastianen optimizes its services through successful digitization

Working data-driven and developing along with the market based on customer needs. With these goals in mind, Steven Zeelenberg, IT manager at Van Tilburg-Bastianen, is driving digital renewal. Are you curious about which digitalization initiatives Van Tilburg-Bastianen has implemented? And what benefits they have brought to the business? Then read on quickly.

Car and Truck dealer Van Tilburg-Bastianen 

Van Tilburg-Bastianen, also known as TB, is a Car and Truck dealer for DAF and PON. Its business objective is to maximize the mobility of its customers against the lowest possible costs. The family business has locations in the Netherlands and Poland and bases its business activities on the strict KPIs imposed by DAF and PON and a healthy dose of entrepreneurial spirit. 

Steven Zeelenberg is IT manager at Van Tilburg-Bastianen and a member of the management team. ‘My contribution is to realize change driven by computerization and digitalization. In order to distinguish ourselves, we strive to grow from a product supplier into a service provider. We want to put the customer more at the center of our operations and we are now working on digitization initiatives that can help us do this.’ 

ICT infrastructure and data center

Within Van Tilburg-Bastianen there was a need for considerable innovation in several information areas. We had hardware that was more than 8 years old and software that was no longer supported by Microsoft. You can have very innovative ideas, do pilots and outline prospects, but as long as the data park is not up-to-date, everything comes to a standstill. That is why we spent two years putting the ‘basics in order’. For example, we have renewed the entire ICT infrastructure and moved the data center. In addition, we went to SaaS solutions to be able to continue to guarantee flexibility and continuity.’ 

Real-time information in the dealer management system 

The core application that makes our company a dealership is the dealer management system (DMS). As part of the digitization process, this system, for the Truck division, was also due for replacement. ‘This was sensitive in the organization because employees grew up with the old dealer system for Truck.’ 

Finally, after 2 years of research and comparison, Van Tilburg-Bastianen selected a new DMS. TB has been using this system in its branches in Poland since the beginning of this year, with the Dutch branches to follow next year. In this system, combined with a digital work order application, all data about customers, vehicles and everything that happens in the workshops is stored. 

‘Until a year and a half ago, information from the workshops was still collected on paper. Now everyone can see what the mechanics are doing in real time. This system gives the management much more control information and is therefore a great benefit to our organization.’  

App for unambiguous customer communication

‘Different departments have contact with the customer through different channels. Mail, text messages and even stationery… And departments sometimes didn’t know what had already been communicated to the customer.’  

In order to ensure uniform and efficient communication from and to Truck customers, Van Tilburg-Bastianen had an app developed. This app keeps track of all contact moments with the customer. Customers also receive maintenance recommendations via the app, based on information from their vehicles.  

‘Many of our Truck vehicles are equipped with a Connect function that allows us to view real time information such as mileage, wear and tear and tell-tales ‘from a distance’. This information makes it possible to predict when maintenance is required. A customer then no longer has to come to the workshop unplanned, which of course saves time, stress and costs.’ 

Data collection in a BI environment

Besides all the data from internal sources, such as the dealer management system and the customer app, Van Tilburg-Bastianen also uses data from external sources. Think of the information from the RDW, Chamber of Commerce and Weeronline. But where are all these different data collected in an orderly fashion?  

‘In our BI environment! This environment produces standard Dashboard reports, but we can also use it to perform our own analyses.’ 

According to Steven, a major advantage is that everyone always has access to the same information from anywhere.  

‘Externally, this makes TB more transparent and increases the impact of our services to customers. Internally, it prevents ambiguities and therefore unnecessary discussions.’   

Proper adoption of digital changes

How do you ensure that all digitization initiatives are well adopted by the business? According to Steven, clear communication and lots of contact with internal and external stakeholders are key. 

‘Van Tilburg-Bastianen is a family business, where it is important to include everyone in why what changes are needed. The challenge is to align the goals of all stakeholders, and digitalization to generate enthusiasm. Also take into account the behavior and culture of the organization and give time to get used to changes.’    

Promising technology for the future 

‘In the future, we will increasingly receive vehicles in which mechanics will no longer need to wear overalls. This means that they only need to perform an analysis using information that is read ‘from the vehicle’. But in specific cases, something comes out of the analysis that requires specialist knowledge. Knowledge that very few of us have.’  

For this reason, Steven sees a lot of potential in Augmented Reality (AR). Using this technology, the right specialist help can be offered remotely at the specific times when it is needed.   

Advice for future IT managers

‘Relationships, relationships and relationships. And whether that’s internal or external, I think both are equally important. You don’t develop isolated, but with others.’ In addition, Steven advises getting to know the business and its market well and continuing to come up with innovative ideas, and trying them out on a small scale, to grow in cohesion. 

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