In September 2020, the Dutch RIVM contacted Movianto behind the scenes.
“We manage the Dutch influenza vaccine logistics every year. That amounts to about 3.5 to 4 million jabs across the country. To that end, we created a robust infrastructure and network. We’ve been doing this for ten years now, to RIVM’s great satisfaction. That’s partly why they came to us for this task,” said Patrick Verkuijlen, Managing Director of Benelux for Movianto.
“The whole country was worrying about freezers and ways to store vaccines. But here in Oss, we knew for a fact that Movianto would have received a call because they had the know-how as well as the facilities. It was obvious from the way they’ve managed to get all those vaccines to the various distribution centres and GPs. And all from this facility, here in Oss. It’s a tremendous achievement,” stated Wobine Bujs-Glaudemans, Mayor of the Municipality of Oss.
“We needed all hands on deck to make the whole operation possible. Not everyone can do that. You need specific knowledge. You need to receive goods on dry ice, store them in ULT freezers…pack and distribute them under temperature-controlled circumstances to GPs, healthcare centres and vaccination centres,” added Michiel Heller, Director of Movianto Operations Benelux. “Normally, an operation like this needs a sizeable start-up period. But we did this in under three months. Together. By December, we were ready to kick off the Covid vaccine operation.”
“The people at Movianto have had to work day and night, seven days a week, including weekends, to pull it off,” said Patrick Verkuijlen, “We made history here. One of our delivery drivers worked with us on scheduling and he spent months working nights. Not because we asked him to, but because he offered to. He wanted to contribute to this operation. That’s just one example of how committed and driven our people are.”
“That’s always on your mind. You can’t give just 50%. You have to get it right. And that’s top of mind for everyone here. You can really tell,” said Laura Bartelds, Client Service Officer at Movianto Oss.
“My colleagues and I have made this a success in a very short time. That’s what we aim for, whether it’s the flu campaign or the Covid campaign. Our slogan, ‘Making Healing Happen’ is exactly what we’re doing here. We’re very proud of what we do,” said Baban Abdulhaliq, Client Service Team Leader.
“What we do here is about quality of life. It’s about making people better. That’s what our customers do, but we’re a key part of that process,” added Michiel Heller. “And you just know you can’t do a job like this with just your own organisation. You absolutely need partners who will take on the job with you.”
“We prioritised this project. It’s not just business, but a social responsibility,” said Robert Olieslagers, Commercial and Marketing Director Snijders Labs Tilburg. “The freezers needed to get here fast, but customising them was just as important. Deciding what type of freezer and inlays were needed was key.”
The process of the vaccine storage and transport had to be built from scratch, with a vaccine that required -80°C storage being a first for Movianto and the world.
“The goods are delivered to us in softboxes with dry ice. We unpack them, load them into these freezers and scan their locations,” said Edwin Hendriks, Warehouse Team Leader.
“RIVM sends us order files and we ensure the vaccinations are delivered to the right locations on time,” said Aping Hsia, Client Service Employee:
Patrick Verkuijlen added, “In the Netherlands, we didn’t deliver the goods to vaccination centres in dry ice. We removed the products from the dry ice to store them here at -80 degrees Celsius and let them warm up overnight to 2 to 8 degrees Celsius so that we didn’t need to work with dry ice at the centres. That was a great way of handling things and it sets us apart from a lot of other European countries.”
Michiel Heller’s final words: “To succeed at something like this, you need what we call a ‘quality mindset’. Everything we do here, we do with our mind on quality. You also have to be very flexible.”
“It’s amazing to see how our people’s commitment has poured out when we most needed it, stated Patrick Verkuijlen, “It’s incredible. I’m so proud of them.”
Michiel Heller, Director Operations, has been with the company since 2016. He started in the industry back in 1995 and together with the team transformed Movianto Netherlands into a Global Healthcare Distribution Centre.
“We expected the request from the RIVM (Dutch Health Authorities) to do the pick/pack and distribution operation for the Dutch COVID-19 Vaccine Program. We have had a strong and solid relation with RIVM for over ten years now.”
“ We started the project in September as a covert operation, highly confidential, with only a few people working on it. Early December we informed our organisation. Our people felt very proud to be part of this important task and to play a direct and crucial role in the war against the virus. Everybody, directly or indirectly involved, in the organisation played a huge role in our success!”
“The spotlight attention of media and politics was new, learned and adapted to on the spot. Movianto was all over national television; on news broadcasts, in newspapers, online news forums, and even in late night talk shows.”
“One of the Key Success Factors was that we’ve set-up a different way of working. We’ve appointed a Program Manager to run this operation with direct responsibility for warehouse, client service and distribution, sitting next to each other in one dedicated area (the Covid Ops Room – command center).”
“I am so very proud of what we have achieved as a team, as an organisation! This is beyond anything I ever could imagine to cross my path”
Mark Kleijn, key account manager & program manager vaccines at Movianto NL, has been working for Movianto Netherlands since the start in 2010, and is responsible for all different entities of RIVM (Dutch Health Authorities) since the very beginning in 2011. A real vaccine supply chain expert through his 10 years’ experience being involved in the yearly national Flu Campaign.
“The most challenging and exciting Logistic Rollercoaster in my logistic career.”
“Very proud to be part of, and managing, this huge operation.”
“We were constantly anticipating and acting on the new schedules and changing priorities and with all the support and commitment we made this a big success.”
“Excellent teamwork resulting in an amazing overall 24/7 commitment and dedication. Everybody was fully aware of the importance of this operation in the Netherlands!”
“Partnership with RIVM at every level.”
Harold van der Leest, transport planner, started in 2012 and has wide experience as driver and transport planner. From the start an essential player in the logistics command centre “COVID-OPS” supporting the planning and distribution of the different vaccines for COVID-19.
“I was very proud to have the honour of transporting, under police escort, the very first vaccine-delivery in the Netherlands on the 5th of January 2021.”
“No question that I was committed to join this team, when I was asked. From day one I became responsible for 24/7 transport planning, arranging driver schedules, vehicles and security. Extremely challenging, long days, but very satisfying!”
“And now after all these months of hard work, very proud we made this happen, and due to our great teamwork, everybody could have their vaccine.”
Patrick Verkuijlen, Managing Director Movianto Netherlands, who was closely involved in the initial discussions and setup of the vaccine program before handing it over into the safe expert hands of the Movianto operations team, has kept a close eye on the operation.
“Everyone would like to have their lives back as it was pre-COVID. It is about getting our economy back, simply enjoying a concert or visiting a festival, but above all, getting the pressure off of our healthcare system and its people. All our lives back to normality.”
Baban Abdulhaliq, Customer Service Teamleader Covid Movianto Netherlands, first point of contact for all entities of RIVM (Dutch Health Authorities) since 2018. He led multiple flu campaigns and played a key role in the COVID-19 Vaccine Programme.
“The Covid-19 team consists of professionals whose mind-sets are aligned. Each person has his/her own set of skills which made the programme a success.’’
‘’When I look back at the start of the pandemic I knew this was going to be one hell of a challenge. The more vaccines we prepared and sent to the Municipal Health Service the more manageable the programme became.’’
‘’I am proud to have been able to lead a team which assisted each other during the whole programme, working extra hours without any hesitations. Making healing happen was the core of the team’s output and this was what kept us driven.’’
‘’My sincere appreciation to all who participated and were involved.’’
Joey van Galen, Warehouse Supervisor Vaccination Programmes Movianto Netherlands, has been working for Movianto Netherlands since 2015. He is responsible for all the warehouse and production activities related to the vaccination programmes.
“Very proud of the work we did over the past year. The team did an excellent job with the picking, packing and repacking of the vaccines and all the medical devices needed for the vaccines.”
‘’A lot of challenges were thrown our way, but with good communication and flexibility we made it work.’’
“The dedication from the people working every day to make this happen was our key to success.”