Long-Serving Heroes: interview with Theo van Giesen

If your company, like TIP Trailer Services, is celebrating 50 years of existence, it will be challenging to find veterans with the same number of working years. Still, some colleagues are close to it! One of our colleagues, Theo van Giesen, Workshop Manager at TIP in the Waalhaven is not far off. He started as a junior mechanic and became workshop manager at Cetem Trailer Verhuur until Cetem was taken over by TIP in 1989. In total, Theo has 36 years of experience in trailers. Reason enough for an interview in the Rotterdam Waalhaven.


How was your first day at TIP Trailer Services?

I will never forget it. Of course, it was quite exciting that Cetem was taken over by TIP. But when we had to fill out all the lease agreements by hand and put them in individual boxes, I knew that we were not improving in IT. At Cetem, that part was already automated, haha.


Has your work changed over the years?

Well, the work on the trailers has remained mostly the same, although new technology has been added, such as TPMS and Telematics. In those years I followed many TIP training courses so I became Assistant Branch Manager, Assistant Branch Manager Tank trailers, Assistant Branch Manager Zestienhoven, Checker Supervisor, Branch Manager Rotterdam Waalhaven, Workshop Manager Botlek up to my current position Workshop Manager Waalhaven.


So many functions within TIP, you probably had some great memories?

A crazy moment was the time that every minute a new Van Hool trailer was delivered. Another great moment was my worldwide nomination in 2002 for the Phillippe Nomination for my contribution to our participation in the Roparun (fundraising running race between Rotterdam and Paris). And professionally, it was nice to establish an overview of the ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ procedures and present them internally within TIP Benelux. This overview made it clear to everyone what damage is and what is covered by maintenance.


Innovation is essential at TIP. What do you consider the biggest challenge in your work?

I notice that the company is continually changing to improve processes. It’s a challenge to go along with the team and keep on learning. This way you do everything to achieve the maximum for the customer and the company. That is the biggest challenge every day.


Has TIP changed a lot over the years?

I think numbers and lists very much drive the company today. On the one hand, TIP needs it to make a fair analysis and decision; but on the other hand, it is a pity that there is hardly any steering of the business by gut feeling.


What advice do you want to give to new colleagues who have just started TIP?

Be open to change. We always want to improve at TIP. It is important that you think along with every change and become part of the process. Take a good look around you, think a step further than the competition and proactively contribute ideas.  That is certainly appreciated!


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