The first light of dawn begins to turn the night sky orange. Only a few vehicles are out on the roads of Oodegem so early. However, De Troyer’s warehouses are already a hive of activity. Cool boxes are stacked meters high and contain the finest fish packed in ice. An employee closes the box and attaches the label. Now the fish is ready for delivery in one of the Belgian gourmet food company’s four Sprinter. De Troyer supplies residential and rest homes, catering companies and high-end restaurants. The Managing Director, Stefan Van Sande, is also working in the company’s warehouses this morning. He stops for a quick talk with an employee who is currently filleting a load of fish. Then he strides quickly through the warehouses. “What drives us?” responds Van Sande. “The quality of both the products and the delivery. Today there are simply too many low-quality deep-frozen products.”
How do you recognize quality? “You have to buy whole fish. You have to be able to look at the eyes of the fish and inspect its gills to judge the quality”, says Van Sande. When the company was founded in 1972, it traded exclusively in fish. Over the course of time, it developed into a full range gastronomy supplier. Although 30% of the company’s revenue comes from meat, vegetables and dairy products, fish remains its primary business. The East Flemish company produces 20,000 portions of fish per week. De Troyer makes all of its deliveries with its own vans. Purchasing variance with a refrigerated body is a complex task, explains Stefan Van Sande. The commercial engineer has managed his father-in-law’s company since 1996. In the end, Mercedes-Benz convinced him. De Troyer now operates four Sprinter.
We needed a vehicle that offered comfort and reliability and which was also capable of safely handling speeds faster than 90 km/h.
Why choose the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter? Stefan Van Sande answers with an anecdote: In the beginning, De Troyer’s employees had to drive two vans to the wholesale market in Paris twice a week. “We needed a vehicle that offered comfort and reliability and which was also capable of safely handling speeds faster than 90 km/h”, says De Troyer’s Managing Director. His search for precisely the right vehicle lead him to the van with the star. Because only the Sprinter combined all of these characteristics, says Van Sande. De Troyer’s drivers also appreciate this, explains the Belgian. “They are grateful for the opportunity to work in the Sprinter”, he says. This is also why Stefan Van Sande has expanded the fleet, ordering a fifth Sprinter.
Photos: Dirk Willemen