Coffee Logistics:
A Supply Chain Overview

Trabocca’s logistics team plays a vital role in the company’s operations, ensuring timely and efficient delivery of coffee to customers. Comprising skilled professionals with expertise in global supply chains, they work closely with sourcing partners, transporters, and warehouses.

In this feature, Trabocca’s logistics team members from the EU and US will provide valuable insights into their experiences and challenges in coordinating operations, addressing logistical complexities, and navigating the ever-changing landscape of the coffee industry.

From the USA TEAM

Greg Graves on the Importance of Effective Communication in Logistics Management

Greg Graves, our Supply Chain Manager based in Minneapolis, emphasizes effective communication as vital for meeting customer expectations and ensuring timely product delivery. “The significance of regular updates, even when conveying bad news is to build trust and maintain good relationships” he says. Greg has implemented reporting systems and clear communication channels at Trabocca, keeping all parties informed about market developments that impact timely and quality delivery.

In recent years, the pandemic and post-pandemic era have disrupted markets, accelerating changes in the coffee supply chain. Greg identifies the need for improved forecasting and adaptation to navigate the dynamic industry landscape: “Despite the relative instability and uncertainty, this period is an opportunity for the company to position itself effectively by reading the winds of change” he explains.

Greg likens coffee logistics to gardening in Minnesota, where the short growing season necessitates careful planning and execution. Like optimizing yields in a garden through adjustments to seed timing and soil conditions, coffee harvests require process and service provider adaptations. However, these adjustments occur amidst uncontrollable variables like geopolitics, macroeconomic shifts, and distance. Greg finds the cyclical nature of the work and the opportunity to leverage historical knowledge motivating and engaging despite the challenges.

Katie Dahlke’s Goals and Motivations in the Face of Industry

After several years of working in domestic freight, Katie Dahlke was ready for a new challenge. Joining Trabocca as a Logistics Coordinator in October 2022, she was inspired and excited to learn the intricacies of importing logistics. According to Katie, “Overcoming challenges and improving processes are just a few things that continue to motivate me.”

Katie has set clear goals for this year, including building partnerships, mastering reporting features, deepening her understanding of the import process, and educating colleagues and customers on domestic freight. She plans to achieve these goals by leveraging Trabocca’s network of carriers and freight forwarders, while emphasizing the value of curiosity, inquiry, and efficient work methods. With her expertise and dedication, Katie ensures a smooth and efficient logistics department, making her a valuable addition to the Trabocca USA team.

From the EU TEAM

Wendy Baltus’ Journey in Coffee Logistics

Wendy Baltus, Trabocca’s Logistics Supervisor in the Netherlands, discovered her passion for Logistics and Economics through learning about Tradin Organic, the holding company of Trabocca. After gaining experience in the food and fish industry, Wendy joined Trabocca and Tradin Organic, managing sales and purchase contracts. With the company’s rapid growth, she delved into international logistics, expanding her expertise.

In her role, Wendy plays a crucial part in problem-solving and decision-making, navigating challenges within the coffee industry and regulatory landscapes. Ensuring a smooth supply chain while considering all parties in the chain is fundamental. Her responsibilities increased over time, involving complex decisions due to stricter laws, growing volumes, and specific client requirements.

Diverse Expertise within the team

What truly captivates Wendy about her work is the diversity within the team and the complementary skills they bring. She highlights, “We have the ideal mix, with team members who excel in customer focus, lean/process optimization, and deep knowledge of coffee origins.” Collaborating with this dynamic team fuels Wendy’s passion for the industry, as they collectively strive to meet customer demands and optimize operations.

Looking to the future, Wendy is excited about an upcoming transition to a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. She anticipates working alongside her team members to review and redesign processes, ensuring that the system remains up-to-date and efficient. With a forward-looking mindset, Wendy reflects, “The journey in coffee logistics continues, and I am eager to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Ivo Henstra’s Collaborative Solutions for Client Satisfaction

Trabocca’s logistics team thrives in a collaborative atmosphere that fosters open communication and problem-solving. With a passion for overcoming challenges, Trabocca’s Senior Logistics Coordinator, Ivo Henstra, says, “I enjoy the open and direct atmosphere within Trabocca, where we can find solutions together.” This collaborative approach proves essential when navigating the complexities of the Ethiopian coffee supply chain.

Among the team’s memorable experiences, Ivo says that arranging the shipments for Trabocca’s prestigious auction, “The Ethiopian Cup,” stands out. Overcoming obstacles to deliver a 40′ container, loaded with multiple lots from various suppliers to Rotterdam showcased the team’s dedication and attention to detail.

Working in the logistics field offers fulfillment through international engagement and dynamic challenges. “Getting a contract shipped in time despite its complicated issues keeps our client happy and satisfied. This is one of the things I like most” explains Ivo.

Anita’s Journey to Trabocca

Anita’s journey with Trabocca began with a desire for a change. Having previously worked in logistics within the coffee industry, the focus was often on bulk shipments and quantity. However, Trabocca offered something different – a relentless commitment to quality. For Anita, it was this dedication to quality, not just in coffee but also in the responsibility towards farmers and suppliers, that served as a motivating force to join and remain with the company.

When asked about memorable stories from her years at Trabocca, Anita highlights the ever-changing nature of her work. “In logistics, there is never a dull moment” she says. With teamwork being an integral part of her daily work, her expertise contributes to the smooth functioning of operations. It’s a collective effort where the mantra is clear: one team, one task.

In a world where coffee logistics can be a complex puzzle, Anita and the logistics team at Trabocca continue to navigate each day with a shared commitment to quality, a spirit of teamwork, and an openness to deliver great traceable coffees.

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