KLU Talks Business ... with Jan Henrik Hellwege, Hamburger Tafel

The Tafel is well known as a major aid organization when it comes to providing support for persons in need and avoiding food waste. However, the Tafel is also a major player in logistics – which also entails a number of challenges. In order to best rise to those challenges, the Hamburger Tagel turned to “Advisupply,” a consulting firm operated by KLU students. The goal: to use Advisupply’s logistical expertise to optimize processes and thus ensure that donated funds could be used more efficiently. In the following interview, Jan Henrik Hellwege, Managing Director of the Hamburger Tafel, reports on this fruitful collaboration, and on the challenges involved in logistics for social projects.

The Hamburger Tafel is now celebrating its 30th anniversary. How has it changed over the years?

Jan Henrik Hellwege: What began as a small project is now an extensive logistical operation that distributes donated food items throughout Hamburg on a daily basis. Though helping those in need remains our primary goal, the scale of our work has now made us into a “social logistics” provider. The logistical challenges have grown immensely, forcing us to adapt and work more efficiently.

What was the greatest challenge and how was KLU able to support you?

Jan Henrik Hellwege: We knew we needed to optimize our logistics in order to better fulfill our core task. The collaboration with KLU was based on word of mouth. The support from Advisupply opened the door to finding academically sound solutions. The students helped us analyze and improve our processes, which translated into tremendous headway. Our main goal was to digitalize and make a lasting improvement to our route planning. In this regard, Advisupply helped us by analyzing a range of software solutions and ultimately recommending the use of “Routific.” It’s a good feeling to know that there’s someone out there taking a professional approach to improving the work of our non-profit organization.

And what happens next?

Jan Henrik Hellwege: The next step will consist in implementing Advisupply’s recommendations and integrating the new system in our day-to-day work. We’re delighted that we’ll be able to count on Advisupply’s support in the future. The new software “Routific” offers real-time updates and is highly user-friendly, which is a very important aspect for our volunteer drivers. Digitalizing our route planning will allow us to respond faster and more flexibly, which will hopefully lead to better overall cost-efficiency and more effective use of resources. And we plan to continue working closely together with KLU to improve our logistics processes and adapt to new challenges.

KLU – what are the first three things that come to mind when you think of it?

Jan Henrik Hellwege: Logistics expertise, partnership, planning for tomorrow