THE LONG, WINDING ROAD FROM PINBOARDS TO COMPUTERS
Fifty years ago, a young man showed up for work at the family firm for the first time. It was about the same time that the Apollo 11’s Saturn V rocket was sitting on the launchpad at Houston. Onboard was a state-of-the-art computer – which would be outperformed by today’s smartphones. This incredible development has been a recurring theme throughout Henrik’ Steenbjerge’s time as head of Ancotrans.
Before the young man could call himself a partner in Ancotrans, however, he had to spend a couple of years in the back office. At the start of the 70s, transport assignments were diverse, including everything from consignments of Tuborg beer and tobacco leaves to copper wire and carrier pigeons. Back then, a telephone and a big logbook were enough to manage an annual turnover of 24 million Danish kroner in today’s money. That was all about to change. And fast.
The logbook – the beginning of the end of an era
With the introduction of the shipping container, the old logbook began to slip out of the picture slowly but surely. Ancotrans tried several new systems in its wake. The first was the Lego pinboard. The number of each container was printed manually with a Dymo labelling machine and stuck onto a Lego brick, which was then placed on the board. The next system involved filling in printed driving cards by hand and pinning them on the board. Later on, similar driving cards would be written on a computer and then printed.
Finally, the day came when the boards were too small. The walls were simply not big enough for all the driving cards. And navigating the sea of driving cards pinned to the board had almost become a full-time job. The solution was the ANCOplanner – an IT-based driving management system developed by Ancotrans. Although ANCOplanner was an instant success, the pinboards continued to hang on the walls for a few more years. “One never knew what could go wrong with computers,” said Henrik Steenbjerge. But the new, fifth
generation of the Steenbjerge family couldn’t wait to drive the old pinboards to the tip.
Truckntrace – giving customers an instant view of status
In fact, that’s what happened as soon as Anne Kathrine Steenbjerge assumed the leadership of Ancotrans. At once, she set a rapid programme of IT development in motion. The latest initiative is Truckntrace, a system that gives customers an instant view of the individual status of each of their containers during transport. This is all made possible by the amazing computer every Ancotrans driver has in his pocket – a perfectly ordinary smartphone.
Henrik Steenbjerg celebrated his 50-year work anniversary at
Ancotrans on 15 June 2019. Join us on a journey back to 1969, when a
22-year-old Henrik joined the family business – the fourth generation to
do so. And hear how Ancotrans developed to 2003, when the next
generation assumed leadership of the company. This is the first of four
retrospectives in celebration of Henrik’s 50th anniversary.