Wilfried Dockx on the story of Dockx Rental and the Dockx Group
Dockx Rental originated from the entrepreneurial spirit of a couple of brothers, who turned the business into an omnipresent, reliable partner. Wilfried Dockx tells his story.
Dockx Rental: a name with a history
“As co-founder in 1979 I was involved with Dockx from the start, but before and in addition to that we were already working as brothers on lots of projects and money-making enterprises. In fact, I was a car salesman and only really joined Dockx once the growth had begun. I felt I could put my job and experience to good use in many different ways in the family business. I was not given priority treatment, instead I worked my way through every step in the company. I even acquired my lorry-driving licence, and, to my great amazement, I passed first time. I did that to be able to drive lorries for our customers. Back then, we already rented out lorries with no driver, but we also provided our own drivers, including for ship provisioning. In addition to that we did taxi driving and offered a taxi service with delivery vans – a parcel service avant la lettre.”
What happened next?
“Very soon, however, I began working full time in administration, because we were growing fast and adding ever more services, such as removals. I scheduled the planning of the removals and transport, arranged delivery notes, wrote invoices, and so on. At the same time we were employing an increasing number of people who could take over our tasks, allowing us to become more focused on the back office. Facilitation and management – from finances and administration right through to operations – has always been my thing and it still is today, although I am somewhat past the official retirement age. I have my hands full: building permits, eco-permits, environment permits, soil certificates, EPC certificates, rental contracts, framework contracts, agreements with cleaning companies and security, etc. It all goes through my department.”
Yes, that’s quite a list.
“On top of that, there are two more rather important matters that I manage and administrate. The first is Dockx Archisafe, our archive storage activity. After all, for around forty years now, Dockx has been storing and destroying archives for third parties, with the help of a sophisticated document management system. To give you an example: in our warehouse in Wilrijk we physically store seventy kilometres of archives for customers who get their archiving done professionally. The ambition in the coming five years is to expand to two-hundred kilometres.”
“Banks, insurers, notaries, lawyers, local authorities and other parties entrust their archives and archive management to Archisafe. We will do more of that in the future because, since the European GDPR regulation, archive management has become a sensitive and highly specialised activity, demanding high standards, plus the safe and encrypted digitalisation of documents has rocketed.”
What is the second matter you mentioned?
“Our solar park: Since 2011, Dockx has owned an industrial PV installation on the roofs of our depots in Wilrijk. PV stands for photovoltaic. Solar panels, in other words. In total, 10,000 m² or around 3,750 solar panels have been installed on the roof of our industrial buildings in Wilrijk, which produce a combined annual total of around 1,000 Kwh (1 MWh, ed.) of electricity. That’s equivalent to the electricity consumption of 150 households. Thirty per cent of this production is used for our own requirements, and the rest is injected and shared with external companies who tap their electricity from our installation. This is known as an energy community – our installation is the producer in the first energy community, which was established in Flanders in 2023. The solar park, its management and maintenance, the production, sales and monitoring is a very specific matter, and I am responsible for its management and administration.”
Last of all, is there anything else we should know about you?
“Well, only a few employees from the early days know that, back in the 1970s, the Dockx brothers had a rock ’n’ roll band - the Dockx Brothers - and a contract with a Dutch record label. The band members were the four Dockx brothers Jozef, Marcel (+), Erik and me. I have kept it up to some extent and in recent years I have continued composing and playing music as a hobby. Over the years, in my home recording studio, I have built up an oeuvre of recordings which are still to be released, featuring my own texts, and which I have personally sung, played and produced. What type of music? Mainly pop music in English. It’s still my ambition to do something with these songs and get a few of them out into the commercial circuit somehow. You could call it a fun retirement plan.”