Not many companies succeed in turning a relatively unknown product into a successful international business, but that’s exactly what Bamboo Import Europe has done. The company’s founders Pim van der Eng and Sandra Bonne started selling bamboo fencing out of their garage in the Netherlands in 2008 and rapidly grew to become the leading supplier of bamboo construction materials in the Benelux region. Although bamboo was not widely used as a fencing material in the Netherlands at that time, Pim and Sandra saw the potential. They worked hard to gradually grow the customer base for this versatile and highly sustainable product.
“Shypple gives you a full, transparent record at every step of the process"
After teaming up with Stephane Schröder, a bamboo grower based in Colombia, Pim and Sandra expanded their business into what eventually became Europe’s largest importer and seller of bamboo construction materials. Today, they supply the global market with a wide range of luxurious bamboo-based construction materials, from fencing, to room dividers, veneers, beams and more.
What makes Bamboo Import Europe so special is not only their history of successful entrepreneurship, but also their sustainable, fair approach to sourcing, production and importing. The company buys directly from selected growers in China, Indonesia and South America. It imports shipping containers of fully manufactured bamboo products and stores them in its vast warehouse in the Netherlands. From there, they are sold to customers around the world. This global operation is where Shypple became a part of the Bamboo Import Europe success story.
According to Bob van de Pol, operations manager at Bamboo Import Europe, working with Shypple is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping track of the company’s many incoming shipments today. But things used to be different. Before Bamboo Import Europe started using Shypple, the team would spend countless hours preparing documents, making phone calls and sending emails just to get their incoming containers off to sea.
Because Bamboo Import Europe works with a network of local suppliers in multiple countries around the world, it was often difficult to keep track of exactly where all their containers were at any given moment. What they needed was a single platform where they could coordinate their shipments and keep track of exactly which products were coming on which ships. That’s when they found out about Shypple. Soon they realised that it was exactly the right solution for their international import business.
Part of Bob’s job as operations manager is to prepare documents for the company’s shipments, including filling out the correct HS codes and other import information. He says that using Shypple makes his job a lot easier. So much easier, in fact, that the company estimates they save around 250 hours of administrative work each year since switching to Shypple. That’s on top of the 160 or more hours they save in unloading times each year, since Shypple enables them to select their own road hauliers for pickup.
In addition to the huge time savings, Shypple also lets the team at Bamboo Import Europe keep full control and oversight over their incoming containers. “We just open Shypple and we can see exactly which ships are on the way, which orders they’re carrying and when they’re going to arrive in Rotterdam,” says Bob. “Shypple gives you a full, transparent record at every step of the process. And the support we get from them is always really helpful and proactive.”