Merkato Lift-off

VDL Translift, part of VDL Groep, upgraded from an Excel configurator to Merkato software in 2016, enhancing clarity and reducing errors in their waste collection vehicle production process.

The implementation process, completed within three months, streamlined order processing and improved communication between departments.

With plans for further optimization and international use, Merkato continues to offer VDL Translift new opportunities for efficiency and growth.

Client: VDL Translift Integrations: n/a

For this customer story, we travel to Dronten where VDL Translift is established.

This company now has more than half a century of experience in innovative waste collection vehicles. Translift has been part of VDL Groep since October 2014, which currently employs 16,000 employees, 60 of whom work at VDL Translift. This small and medium-sized company produces 100 systems per year that are received as orders through the sales configurator Merkato.

We spoke to Head of Resource & Development Jeroen Scherpenzeel about the use of the Merkato Configurator within VDL Translift.

Seeking Clarity and Control

Until April 2016, VDL Translift used an Excel configurator, which led to errors and manipulation in quotes.

According to Jeroen Scherpenzeel, “Excel worked fine, but a number of problems also came to light that needed to be addressed. With this method, it was possible for the seller to have a quotation drawn up with systems that were simply not feasible.
This often happened because the seller did not have the engineering knowledge necessary when selling our systems.”

“In addition, manipulation was also possible, causing errors that could sometimes only just be avoided. For example, incorrect check boxes were entered in an order, which meant that combinations within a system were no longer correct and the price also deviated from the correct price.

Transition to Merkato

In February 2016, VDL Translift made the decision to implement Merkato, achieving a successful implementation within three months. Jeroen mentioned, “We have given this transition a lot of attention. After two short training sessions, we took up the programming ourselves and implemented the software internally. Rinck, a Merkato consultant, came to help us with the input of workflows, which was important for creating the internal overview. When we encountered certain points that we needed help with, we contacted Bas or Christiaan, and the rapid contact allowed us to continue the implementation smoothly.”

After three months, the start of the sales configurator Merkato was a fact within VDL Translift. This took some getting used to for the various departments that had to work with this, but the entire company soon became accustomed to this working method.

Transforming Operations: The Impact

Merkato has streamlined processes at VDL Translift, reducing errors, improving clarity, and enhancing efficiency across departments. Orders are received via the sellers in which the sold system has been written out with the correct options. The extra options are entered in the ‘outside standard’ field. These exceptions are automatically submitted for assessment to the engineering department, where it is examined whether these options are actually possible. The rest of the combinations have already been checked for feasibility prior to implementation or during fine-tuning of the implementations.

This clear procedure has reduced dependency and made it easier for sellers to sell the right systems. After the order has been approved, the work preparation department receives product lists that are automatically drawn up by Merkato. This makes it clear at a glance which parts need to be collected per system, so that the production department can get started.

The ERP system and Merkato come together in the production department. The ERP system provides a clear manual regarding the production of the system. Merkato provides additional information by means of images with instructions on where certain parts should be placed. This was not the case shortly after implementation. At the time, there were often discussions between colleagues and within several departments about, for example, the correct placement of a lamp on the system.

These discussions took up a lot of valuable time and to save hours it was decided to have Merkato add images that clearly indicate which parts go where. “Thanks to Merkato, VDL Translift has been able to make progress in various areas,” says Jeroen. “The quantification of what we have achieved through Merkato is difficult to measure, but I can say with certainty that our working method has become clearer, valuable hours are allocated more efficiently, and mistakes are simply no longer made.”

Looking Ahead

VDL Translift looks forward to further optimizing processes and expanding the use of Merkato internationally. Every implementation brings new goals. This also applies to VDL Translift. Working with unambiguous software that contains clear formulas, Jeroen Scherpenzeel sees even more opportunities in Merkato.

Next year it is planned to create specification sheets for VDL Translift chassis dealers with Merkato and to implement further optimizations, such as one image with all system-related information for the production department as opposed to several. Another step that will be taken is to implement translations to be able to use Merkato internationally.

Focus Point

Proper preparation is key when implementing Merkato, ensuring a smooth and efficient process. Jeroen mentioned, “A tip when purchasing the Merkato software is to prepare the implementation process as well as possible. Due to the merger with VDL Groep, we wrote our combinations in such a way that they could be presented. As a result, we fully implemented the software within three months and therefore quickly saved a lot of time.”

“Of course, we have continually updated the configurator and fine-tuning never ends, but the better the different variants, cost prices, and consequences for the company are worked out, the more this contributes positively to the duration of the implementation process.”

In short, an interesting future for this Merkato user.


Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Generate more sales, make it easy to do business with your company and improve your profitability. Achieving commercial success means your business is aligned on what to sell and how you do that.
Always available nearby
Gent Gaston Crommenlaan 8,
9050 Gent, Belgium
Brussels Rue Picard 7,
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Liege Rue des Guillemins 139,
4000 Liege, Belgium
Appointments on location are possible
Get in touch to plan an on-site meeting