One man's loss is another man's gain

One man's loss is another man's gain

Published by Jaco van den Berg

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One man's loss is another man's gain

In the Netherlands we have a saying "De een zijn dood is de ander zijn brood".

Loosely translated "One man's loss is another man's gain"

For example, recently we have bought beautiful, almost new NEN-EN certified bulletproof doors for our new AMIC control room.

We bought this for a fraction of the new price!

Despite this opportunity, I still have mixed feelings. Contacts who have known me for some time can imagine where I got these doors (and many more attributes with an "emotional" value) from.

At the end of 1999, I bought myself from a small security company with the name similar to a motor gang and which at the time only focused on close protection security and events.

After changing the name - which gave the impression that one might have to deal with a dark motorcycle club as mentioned earlier - we actually shifted our focus to transport and logistics security. This is because, in mid-2000, we came into contact with someone who accidentally asked us whether we had a solution for the increasing transport crime on the Cork (IRL) - Gorinchem (NL) route.

Continuing reading from Linkedin

This company frequently had to deal with thefts of ink cartridges. Something for which you at first think "what do you want with that", but if you go deeper into the subject you will soon find easy to trade products with several hundred thousand USD worth per transport.

During my period at the army, stationed at naval airfield Valkenburg (NL), I was mainly responsible for the operational physical security of so-called military transports. Although I had gained a huge amount of experience with the transport and logistical protection of weapons, ammunition and classified documents throughout Europe, a trailer full of ink cartridges that needed to be protected was completely new to me!

But so to say, after a number of presentations and ideas on how we could provide a solution to the head office of this client in Cork (IRL), we have started working for and with this client. Our approach was so successful that other clients quickly followed suit.

In 2001 we came into contact with an Irish competitor. A security provider that at the time operated from a garage in Dublin with 1 desk, 2 computer screens and 1 large flat TV screen that functioned as a monitor. However, they had a number of great clients that they provide security escorts for, also on the so-called mainland. At a later stage, this company has grown to become - especially in the USA - the absolute market leader in the field of transport and logistics security. Meanwhile, this company is hardly active in the field of security escorts.

Because both parties developed almost identical activities and we also often encountered each other, we then combined the activities that were developed from the Netherlands and linked both company names to each other. With this new company name we successfully established in Europe. But after about 2 years this business marriage ran on the proverbial cliffs and both parties continued their own way.

‘It takes two to tango’ my mother used to say!

After some small legal-war we went on independently with the existing company name and the Irish started to use their old original company name again. This caused considerable confusion in the market, especially in the years that followed. Nonetheless, both companies kept on growing and "conquered” their own market share and customer base side by side.

We were very successful, in 2006 we started our own 24/7 control room where we monitored all kinds of truck movements, in 2008 we set up a European covering partner network to meet the demand of local security intervention and local security escorts. And in 2011 we had a fleet of approx. 15 TAPA TSR1 certified vans with which we crossed the whole of Europe for a limited number of customers. No mum and dad behind the wheel but 2 qualified and certified security guards who were monitored 24/7 by our own control room.

Despite the enormous success as described above, we ran into some growing issues in mid-2012. The lack of a clear vision, a transparent policy for the coming years, attracting potential investors to achieve even more growth and the absence of a HR expert and smart marketing department were reasons to look forward to a entity that could fulfill this. We did not only have the need for a bag of money, but for a partner who was going to be 100% interested in the company and who could and wanted to supply the required input we needed to take our company to an even higher level.

In the same year we were approached by a Top 10 Global Private Security Company - I must say that we had already been approached several times in the years before but never joined an entity which gave us such a warm gut feeling -.

With this potential buyer we had that!

A club with a huge database of skilled, motivated employees, a large geographic network and own liquidity enough to help build the international expansion of our company. In our experience the only and right entity to sell everything. Almost a year later my companion and I sold everything to the aforementioned Global Security Company and suddenly I got a payslip instead of a management fee. All kinds of decisions that my companion and I made ad hoc - we spontaneously bought 5 new cars because we had a shortage of escort cars and our regular car rental partner had insufficient cars in stock - now entered the proverbial slow paper mill within this organization.

Let me start by saying, that business-wise there is probably nothing wrong with that. Companies of that size have not become so big and successful for no reason. But personally for me it is very uncomfortable if you are used to switching quickly without first having to fill in 4 forms in detail regarding the ROI of a VW Golf in particular. We simply did not know that because we had no idea how many escort trips would come our way. We only had historical data, but at such a professional club you have to look forward and not looking back.

At the start of 2015 - only 2 years after the takeover - the new owner made the decision to stop a number of business lines with physical escort and static security. All security guards including what admins and I were let go.

It was a really terrible time to be no longer permitted to be part of your "own" company.

The business that you have worked over a 15-year time period along with a lot of passionate people and you know that despite the long existence it still has a huge potential.

Why is there any need for reorganization while - as far as I can see - a good result was achieved?!

This reorganization with the resignation of all security guards, a number of admins and myself also created a huge negative situation for me personally. My first thought was, what now, I cannot do anything else. After almost 15 years, "transport and logistical security blood" flowed through my veins, so what’s next ?!

Soon - late 2016 - something very positive came from these negative developments, namely the creation of The Cargo Security.Company! (TCS)

For 15 years we have been treating our customers and employees with respect, admitting if we made a mistake and coming up with a solution instead of navel gazing and running away from your responsibilities, be innovative and make sure you have a very good, passionate and loyal team of employees and international partners have ensured that TCS is already at the top within 2 years.

And I still feel that we are only at the beginning of something beautiful!

With moving to a new location in prospect where we will use the aforementioned doors for our 24/7 AMIC control room, you may understand that these doors are quite a big deal, they have a very special meaning to me.

“The King is dead, long live the King”