Jeroen van Duuren: Delivering your promises since 1892
Managing Director Jeroen van Duuren (59) is looking forward to it. Casual dressed, he sits down to tell the story of his family business. Better said, their family business, because Jeroen runs the company together with brother Jasper.
he two complete each other well. Jeroen is the man with the contacts, Jasper the man in charge of the production process. And that production process is quite special. Delivering your promises, throughout Europe, means that Van Duuren organises and guarantees the transport for its clients as general supplier. Not a single lorry drives around that is their own. They outsource the wheels completely. It all began long ago when great-grandfather Nico van Duuren started out as a messenger of prescriptions in Amsterdam in 1892. First by hand cart, later by horse and carriage and the tow barge.
His sons Nico and Piet joined him, Piet left during the war (1942) and continued on his own in Amsterdam. “He sold all his household goods to finance the start-up and only had a table and two chairs left. And all of this with two small children including my father Nico and uncle Adrie, who continued the business together. Adrie is the late owner of Parts Express.” No, the Van Duurens were never afraid to take a different turn. Not even to open a branch in Rotterdam. The company was expanded by Nico and Adrie and by 1988, 500 people were already working there. In 1980, van Duuren was also one of the founders of the Nederlandse Pakket Dienst (NPD). The company expanded to Vianen. In the centre of the country and close to major customer Sony. In 1983, Van Duuren Elektronika Express saw the light of day, followed in 1988 by Parts Expres. In 1994 Adrie decided to continue with Parts Express, also known as Van Duuren Onderdelen Distributie. Jasper and Jeroen then continued with Van Duuren Districenters, Elektronika Express and the Nederlandse Pakket Dienst (Dutch Parcel Service).
The rapid growth and splitting up of the company is typical of Van Duuren, according to Jeroen. “We see opportunities. It gives a kick to get something done. That above all.
My parents were into transportation but if my father had had a chicken slaughterhouse my father would have sold them to Albert Heijn and Jasper and I to Carrefour in France. Business is the satisfaction and international business just gives an extra dimension. I don’t have diesel in my veins. I did get a truck driving licence during my military service but I didn’t use it much. We make sure parcels get from A to B. That’s what it’s all about. Managing processes, IT, switching with countless distribution points throughout Europe. After the lockdown, we received a call from Hunkemöller, asking us to collect all excess stock from all Dutch shops and deliver it to their shops in Germany. In 48 hours, everything was arranged. With one phone call. That’s what we’re good at. Fine-meshed distribution.” ‘We’, Jeroen often speaks in this personal form. He grew up in a typical entrepreneurial family. Mother Gerda worked just as hard and ran the administration. It was always about the business at home. Always. He himself tries to separate business and private life a little more. From his idyllic retreat near Saint Tropez, this is not a punishment.
Meanwhile, he is almost 59, but quitting is not in his vocabulary. “I definitely want to continue until I’m 70,” he says.
Family Business in Pictures has devoted an entire magazine to Van Duuren. This article is one of the published items. Every week we will post an item from the magazine.
Source: Familiebedrijf in Beeld