Reset Humanity.

Who is feeling the human connection (albeit digitally enabled) coming back?

In the last few weeks I have been speaking to many old contacts, clients, ex- colleagues, friends and extended family who I haven’t been in touch with in literally years. I have also been “virtually” meeting lots of brand new contacts.


I don’t want to make light of what is an extremely serious situation but not being able to rush about in our usual busy and blinkered way of life has presented an extraordinary opportunity for us to slow down and take stock of what’s really important, to appreciate what we have and pull together as a global community to help each other. In saying this we must give special thanks and recognition to the people on the front line who are still out there saving lives in the hospitals and emergency services or keeping people fed and making essential items and medicines available whether that’s in Retail, Pharmacy, Food Delivery, Cleaning & Sanitisation, Waste Disposal, Logistics and the end to end Supply Chain that makes everything possible.

I am very sorry for all the people who have so far fallen victim and succumbed to the COVID-19 virus as well as for their families. I wish for the swift recovery of those who are ill and I am sharing positive thoughts and best wishes for every one of us who will suffer and be impacted by this in so many ways.

I have to say if there was a reset button for our way of life it’s been pressed and maybe in the long run it’s going to be for the better.

In a time when we have to isolate ourselves from one another we are actually connecting as human beings.

How many of you have gotten to know your long-standing neighbours for the first time recently, or found yourself reconnecting with people from the past and making new connections and friendships.

Nature has just given us a stark reminder that humans don’t rule the world, we never have. We’ve been telling ourselves we’re improving and developing the world but we humans are mostly shortsighted and self destructive. We’re destructive in general.

You have to wonder if humanity is the virus and this virus is actually the cure.

A better world must come from this because a once in a generation disaster presents a once in a generation opportunity.

Stay safe and healthy we’re all in this together!

You can’t find the right talent. Can you create it?

Some important take aways from my recent meetings and calls with senior executives at some of the leading 3pls in the Middle East relating to commercial activity and talent.

1. Many of them are finding it challenging to identify and hire sales professionals with enough in-depth overall supply chain knowledge and experience who can create and sell end to end supply chain solutions to their clients.

2. A lot of 3pls are struggling to find suitable freight sales professionals with a good enough track record of being able to back themselves and consistently bring the revenues for freight sales in the region

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The first point about supply chain solutions is an ongoing challenge for everyone as many of the people with the level of operational supply chain experience that’s needed don’t have the sales experience or know how (a major skill in itself!) that’s needed to be able successfully sell SC solutions to end users (as they are coming from more operational backgrounds and simply haven’t been exposed to sales).

Those that have the sales ability and experience are commanding very high salaries as they have usually already reached to a senior management level leading the supply chain function for companies in their career to-date (those are the people you need if you could afford them!)

With regards to the second point about freight sales I asked some of the employers what’s more important, the ability to sell and having a proven track record of sales?

Or having the knowledge of freight forwarding?

Most answered that’s it’s easier to teach someone about freight forwarding, the hardest part is having the sales ability in the first place !

So what are the possible solutions?

To get suitable supply chain professionals onboard from client side to logistics service provider then in my view its either a case of upping the budgets for salaries to get the senior people (which is probably not an option in the current market for most 3pls) or alternatively start creating dedicated screening, on boarding and training programs that run on an ongoing basis to first identify potential sales ability amongst mid career supply chain professionals and then ensure they have the tools and ongoing support they need to be successful.

Their are many mid career SC professionals in the market currently who are looking for a move, I am sure a few of them would make excellent SC solutions sellers!

In other words start building talent pools / talent communities and taking a proactive approach to “develop” talent for these types of roles.

For the more transactional high volume / high activity driven sales functions perhaps it’s time to look for experienced sales professionals from other sectors and teach them about the Logistics industry?

Is anyone else experiencing similar challenges, do you agree or disagree?

For my contacts outside the Middle East is this a similar story in your regions?

Any other thoughts or ideas to share?

How to Build a Strong Personal Brand in the Supply Chain Sector.

Building a personal brand is essential for professionals in all careers. You just need to look at the importance of social media in business, particularly LinkedIn – your profile on LinkedIn is a key part of your personal brand.

How much effort do you put into moulding your personal brand, however? Do you regard it as a key focus or priority?

For many professionals who are involved in the supply chain, personal branding is not as high a priority as it should be. Instead, they focus on gaining new experience, building contacts in the industry, and improving their skills.

All those things are part of your personal brand, but they are different from building your personal brand. Doing that requires a very specific focus.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

Before going into detail on how to build a personal brand, it’s important to define what your personal brand is.

Similar to a company brand, your personal brand is your public image or persona. The public element is important as your personal brand should extend beyond the company you work for. As a senior supply chain professional, your personal brand should be visible in the wider industry.

In terms of your image or persona, this has several elements:

  • Your values and beliefs, particularly in relation to the aspects of the supply chain you are directly involved in
  • Your professional and personal goals
  • The experience you have in the industry
  • Your professional achievements
  • Your sense of purpose working as a supply chain professional

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Why Is Personal Branding Important?

Other senior executives in the supply chain will have an impression or opinion about who you are. They will form these impressions or opinions in a number of different ways.

This even applies to people who don’t know you – when your paths do cross, they will form an impression about the type of person you are.

The problem with the above is you have very little control over the impressions or opinions that people have of you. They could develop an opinion, for example, based on a misunderstanding, a fleeting interaction, or an observation by a third-party with an axe to grind. That opinion could be completely wrong.

When you have a carefully developed personal brand, you have more control over how you are perceived in the industry. In other words, other supply chain professionals will know who you really are.

How to Build Your Personal Brand

The first step to building your personal brand is to believe you have one, as everyone can. You don’t need to be in a commercial management role, and you don’t need to be a business owner. Whatever position you hold, you can create, develop, and improve your personal brand.

The most effective ways to build your personal brand include:

  • Crafting your image online – the starting point for this is to create a personal website/blog where you describe who you are and share regular blogs, articles, and/or videos. You should also optimise your social media profiles, ensuring they all portray you in the right way. When doing this, carefully consider the type of content you will share online, particularly on social media. You might decide, for example, to avoid posting photos of your family or thoughts on politics.
  • Get involved in conversations online – you should also get involved in groups and discussions online. Don’t do this to promote your business or to get new leads. Instead, contribute your knowledge and opinion to help people get a better understanding of who you are.
  • Build relationships with other key people in your industry
  • Create content for third-party publications – as well as creating articles and blogs for your own website, you should also create content for industry publications and business websites.
  • Build your online audience
  • Network in-person – finally, give talks, take part in, and attend, business events, and engage in other activities such as supporting local schools, or getting involved with clubs or charities, that will help you to grow your personal network.

Tips for Building Your Personal Brand

  • Let your personality show
  • Be yourself
  • Remember authenticity is important
  • Highlight your strengths and embrace your weaknesses

 

You’re not a machine – the more human you can make your personal brand, the better.

 

 


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The Airships are Coming – Global Supply Chain Interview Series

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with with Julian Benscher, President, Skyship Services (First published April 2018 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director, Top Management Resources Group:

Airships are coming back in a big way and will certainly be a major disruptor to the traditional modes of Air, Sea, and Land transport. Airship technology really captured my interest around three years ago when I first read about the ongoing development of hybrid airships by companies such as Lockheed Martin and Hybrid Air Vehicles. Since then I have been actively supporting the growth of the sector in region and am now working closely with the regions first Airship operator Airships Arabia which is based in Dubai World Central.

It was through my involvement with Airships Arabia that I recently had the privilege of meeting Julian Benscher who is one of the world’s leading lighter-than-air businessmen, the son of a former European tycoon, he’s a man of many talents who I was also surprised to learn was one of the main investors and creators of boy band the Backstreet Boys.

Julian has been involved in Airships for over 30 years, he is the President of Skyship Services a US based company which owns and operates a fleet of Skyship 600’s, the world’s largest conventional Airship containing 666,000 cubic metre of helium and a 61-metre-long Airship.

As Julian is one of the key people in the world of Airships across the globe I took the opportunity to pick his brains about Airship technology in general and in particular its application for the Logistics sector.

What would be the main advantage for using Airships in Logistics over other modes of transporting cargo?

When we talk about Airships in Logistics a major advantage is the ability to be able to take off and land without the need for an airstrip which is a potential game changer for delivering cargo to remote locations.

Is the ability to lift heavy cargo in an Airship as simple as it appears to be?

Airships are deceptively complicated; their structure and physical attributes conceal some extraordinary complexities which must be considered.

Most of the volume of the airship envelope consists of helium which is inert and therefore safe and the second lightest lifting gas which is available, hydrogen being the first with its inherent problems. Consequently, one has to consider the changes in atmospheric pressure that cause the helium to expand and contract and as such the envelope has ballonet fitted in the front and rear of the envelope. These ballonets enable air to be drawn within them and released from them to counter the expansion and contraction of helium.

A second but related issue, when considering cargo is how one compensates for the weight of the load that would be added and removed from the Airship. These issues are simple to articulate but a solution for a commercially viable Airship has taken huge investment and scientific innovation and endeavor to become a realizable possibility. Both Lockheed Martin and Hybrid Air Vehicles have made huge strides in this space and expect to have certified cargo Airships operational within the next few years.

How do you see the Airships industry developing in the Middle East?

Airships are coming to the region far sooner than many people think. One of our very own Skyship 600’s will be operational in the UAE in the second half of 2018 and will be operated by Skyship Services in conjunction with Airships Arabia.

Initial use of Airships in the Middle East will be focused around surveillance, tourism and advertising, but more importantly the operation will provide valuable Airship experience to the Airships Arabia team and the regional certification authorities.

The hybrids are expected to be operating in the region by 2021 and will be suited to carrying high volumes of cargo. The initial Lockheed Martin model is forecast to have a payload of 20 tonnes and Airlander is working on a 12-ton unit with future versions expected to carry 75 tonnes.

What do you think are the main obstacles the Airships industry will need to overcome in this region?

The Skyship 600 is the largest twin engine certified non-rigid Airship in the world today, by bringing this Airship to the UAE with Airships Arabia now it is hoped that we will overcome any regulatory obstacles by familiarizing the regional authorities with what we do. The current absence of specific regulations pertaining to Airships is because there have never been manned Airships in the Middle East. The Skyship had to undergo the same rigorous certification process as any twin-engine aircraft, and the cargo airships will have to comply with the same rigorous certification process. Once certification is achieved the remaining hurdles are to ensure that the Airship’s and their operators follow local rules and regulations in much the same way as any certified aircraft and its operator that wishes to operate in the region.

How will Airships compare in terms of time and cost Vs cargo planes?

The time and cost resulting from the ability to operate to and from unprepared sites, including water, will be significant and is a game changer

They are also significantly more efficient in terms of cost to operate for example the Airlander 10 hybrid airship has a fuel burn rate of less than 500kg per flight hour, compared to say a 737 which burns 2,300kg of fuel per flight hour. Even the fuel per km comparison shows the Airlander 10 at less than ¼ of the fuel burn of a 737.

 For those who don’t already know can you explain the difference between Conventional Airships and Hybrid Airships?

Conventional Airships such as the Skyship 600 only derive lift from the Helium gas inside the envelope whereas hybrids derive lift from a combination of helium gas, forward motion generating lift from the hybrid airship’s lifting body hull shape and from vectored engine thrust.

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director of Top Management Resources Group (TMR Group), is well known throughout the international Supply Chain & Logistics sector as a focused and highly proactive business leader, mentor, and thought leader. He has partnered with Global Supply Chain magazine to run a series of exclusive interviews with senior executives to uncover the facts and provide real time insight on what’s happening in Supply Chain & Logistics sector across the region.

Read the full magazine

Survival of the fittest – Global Supply Chain Interview Series

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with Christian Juul-Nyholm, Managing Director, Maersk Line, UAE, Iran, Qatar & Oman. (First published November 2017 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with Christian Juul-Nyholm, Managing Director, Maersk Line, UAE, Iran, Qatar & Oman. (First published November 2017 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director, Top Management Resources Group:

This month I met with Christian Juul-Nyholm who is the Managing Director for Maersk Line, UAE, Iran, Qatar & Oman.

Christian has a long history of living and working in the Middle East logistics sector with his first stint from 1997 until 2006. He returned to the region again in 2014 after 9 years of working in various countries across Europe and Asia Pacific.

Representing the world’s largest container shipping company, Christian was pleased to share some thoughts around current market dynamics which are influencing the Supply Chain.

What are your thoughts on the changes in alliances between shipping lines and recent mergers and acquisitions?

Despite the new alliances our industry is still fragmented. Over the coming years we can expect even more consolidation. The alliances will offer a more equal playing field for the carriers and there will still be plenty of competitive offerings for shippers. Initially, there might be some disruption to services, as new networks are put in place.

Is the rise of the mega vessels a major contributor to overcapacity?

Mega ships make sense to reduce carbon footprint and reduce unit costs when demand meets expectations but when demand suddenly/ unexpectedly drops, the economics become challenged if you are unable to fill the ships. When you order vessels it’s important to keep a relative balance between your current fleet size and the expected market growth. While there was a bit of a frenzy the past years, today the order book is at a 27-year low.

Overcapacity in shipping is a common discussion, but what about under capacity in some trade lanes which has raised shipping costs and increased lead times?

As a business you always aim to match capacity to demand to ensure utilization stays high. The space crunch seen in Europe this spring came from the normal Chinese New Year deployment coupled with an unusually strong demand from Europe to Asia (growth in excess of 12 percent).

Due to the high number of ‘no-shows’, carriers need to overbook vessels every week. A better coordination on forecasting is vital to improve the supply chain.

How is Maersk Line contributing to creating more sustainable supply chains?

Our customers’ require sustainable products and we are seeing significantly higher interest in partnership to reduce environmental impact.

Firstly we can influence reducing average pollution per transported unit. If we can ensure that every slot is full every time a ship leaves a region, there would be significant reduction in carbon footprint.

Maersk Line continuously evaluates alternative fuels and reduced fuel consumption. Even if sea-freight is by far the eco-friendliest way to transport goods, we can do more.

Digitization is a topic that regularly comes up during my discussions with Supply Chain and Logistics professionals, what are your thoughts on digitization in shipping, and what actions are you taking in regard to this?

We are cognizant that the container industry needs to be in sync with the digitized age. Maersk Line’s focus is clear – making the entire process of getting a container from A to B seamless. We are working with companies like IBM, Microsoft and Alibaba to make this a reality in the very near future. This is also perfectly aligned with the UAE government’s focus of being completely digital in the coming five years.

What are your thoughts about doing business in Iran as its one of the countries under your remit which has some very unique challenges when compared to the rest.

The Iran market represents good opportunities in the coming years. European companies in particular have resumed doing business with Iran, and we expect this segment to experience a significant growth in the next five years. Regardless of who is the first mover, there are ample prospects to do good business in Iran.

I am interested to hear your thoughts on talent in the industry, are you finding it difficult to attract and retain people?

The company is good at retaining talent. We try to maintain a balanced mix of nationalities from all regions.  In terms of attraction, we receive many senior management enquiries from Asia, but lately we are receiving less enquiries from Europe.

Prospects in Europe have improved, causing people to stay put, and attractiveness of Dubai from a compensation/cost perspective has deteriorated in comparison.

We experience that attracting candidates with families to come and work here is proving increasingly difficult.

Have you been successful in attracting local nationals in the countries you lead? 

In the UAE we try to attract more Emirati employees, but as an industry we struggle to compete with both public and private sectors e.g. banks which are viewed more favourably. Dubai was built on trade/logistics, yet we still have a challenge to make the industry appear attractive. In Oman we have a majority of Omanis working.

Are there any specific initiatives you currently run, aimed at attracting local nationals which are proving successful?

We run a global initiative called ‘Go with Maersk’ – every year we hire aspiring young employees into our trainee program and we hope to attract GCC nationals too.

Is Maersk Line involved in supporting local communities through any kind of CSR initiatives?

Every winter we run a CSR funfair in Dubai. We invite around 1,000 customers and their families.  Our employees work the stands and proceeds are donated to projects through government approved charities. It’s a great day for the organisation to engage with customers and a great motivator for the team giving something back to the community.

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director of the Top Management Resources Group (TMR Group), is well known throughout the international Supply Chain & Logistics sector as a focused and highly proactive business leader, mentor, and thought leader. He has partnered with Global Supply Chain magazine to run a series of exclusive interviews with senior executives to uncover the facts and provide real time insight on what’s happening in Supply Chain & Logistics sector across the region.

Read the full magazine

 

How TruKKer.ae is disrupting the goods transport sector – Global Supply Chain Interview Series

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with with Gaurav Biswas, CEO, TruKKer.ae (First published September 2017 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with with Gaurav Biswas, CEO, TruKKer.ae (First published September 2017 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director, Top Management Resources Group:

My latest interview is with Dubai based entrepreneur Gaurav Biswas CEO of Trukker.ae, a logistics technology start-up which commenced operations in the UAE in October 2016 and have already witnessed over 1600% growth in nine months. Very impressive numbers indeed! So what’s it all about?

 TruKKer is basically a web and app based truck aggregator, or simply put; an UBER for trucks. It integrates the available trucks in the market and makes them visible in real time so that users can find and book a truck online immediately in a highly transparent way with instant quotes given and 100% traceable trucks.

The service is being used by logistics service providers who need additional trucks at short notice or on a temporary basis in line with increased demand and also by individuals for entire house moves or simply to move a large item from A to B.

 What would you say is a key reason behind your tremendous growth so early on?  

I think a major contributor to our success has been the product features that users can really benefit from: ease of booking our services via the app or online, and the ability to track where their consignment is while in transit. We allow users who want to book a truck with us to complete the process in less than 3 minutes. They also have a lot of options as we aggregate everything from 1-ton pick-ups to 40 foot trailers.

How do you think a truck aggregator like TruKKer is solving existing goods transportation problems?

In the road transport industry, there is uncertainty of truck availability as visibility is not transparent which creates price uncertainty and hence and absence of standard rates. There is also a huge counter-party risk plus the hassle of unorganized vendors.

There are also counter-party risks of dealing with unknown parties when customer and transporter deal with each other for the first time with absence of past track record and service standards.

Most small and medium sized vendors have poor organization skills and available documentation – including ability to provide invoices or email transaction records.

TruKKer is addressing a real industry problem. Finding a truck that is reliable and secure is an issue faced by both individuals and business drivers – and TruKKer solves that.

Aside from having access to additional trucks at short notice how else could you see the logistics sector benefitting from using Trukker?

A good example would be better utilisation of trucks in the country overall which would not only save cost but would help reduce congestion and potentially reduce emissions. A specific example would be where many trucks from different companies are being sent to deliver or remove items from a major construction site. Company A might be sending a truck there to offload and return empty. Company B might be sending an empty truck to the site to collect goods. If both companies had checked Trukker.ae they might have seen a possibility to use the same truck and reduce cost and save time whilst also keeping another of their trucks free.

How are transporters being affected by the disruption TruKKer brings into the goods transport sector?

TruKKer is upgrading the individual truck operator/driver with advanced trainings in technology, customer interface and health & safety which is improving their potential to offer better services and increase their efficiencies. The drivers are now benefitting from certainty of earnings and are focused on doing a good job of transportation instead of investing their time and energy in to unorganized means of obtaining business.

What are your goals for the next 12 months?

The cross-border movements are next in line in our agenda. We have already started testing the service, including port movement operations. In the next nine to twelve months, we would also expand across the region. We are targeting an entry in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman. By the end of this year, we should be in Saudi.

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director of the Top Management Resources Group (TMR Group), is well known throughout the international Supply Chain & Logistics sector as a focused and highly proactive business leader, mentor, and thought leader. He has partnered with Global Supply Chain magazine to run a series of exclusive interviews with senior executives to uncover the facts and provide real time insight on what’s happening in the Supply Chain & Logistics sector across the region.

Read the full magazine

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Kanoo Raising Industry Standards – Global Supply Chain Interview Series

Full Transcript; Interview with Krishna Kumar, General Manager, Logistics – YBA Kanoo   (First published in June 2017 as part of an ongoing Interview Series with Global Supply Chain Magazine)

Full Transcript; Interview with Krishna Kumar, General Manager, Logistics – YBA Kanoo   (First published in June 2017 as part of an ongoing Interview Series with Global Supply Chain Magazine)

 Brian Cartwright, Managing Director, Top Management Resources Group:

I recently met with Krishna Kumar, GM Logistics for the Kanoo Group to get his thoughts on the current state of the regional logistics sector.

Krish took over the running of the Group’s logistics business 1 year ago having moved across from his previous role as Managing Director of Kanoo Terminal Services (a Joint Venture between Kanoo & Maersk), where he had spent the past 25 years. Prior to his time at Kanoo he has worked for Johnson & Johnson and Colgate Palmolive for several years and brings a wealth of insight and experience gained from major MNC’s and long established family owned businesses.

Kanoo Logistics offers Global Freight Forwarding and end to end Multimodal Supply chain Solutions to a variety of Industry Segments.

In the current economic climate business continues to be tough going for many organisations and the logistics space in particular has been impacted greatly so this interview presented an excellent opportunity to hear Krishna’s thoughts on the good, the bad, and the future of logistics in the region.

 What do you think the future of logistics looks like in the Middle East?

The future is extremely bright, but we do need to focus on encouraging more collaboration and communication between key stakeholders in government and the private sector.

The future success of the industry should be a joint story, one where the government and the private industry plays a decisive role together. It is time for both to sit around the same table and talk to each other and chart the goal and the path in phases and steps.

There are many great ideas and initiatives being shared by government and private sector organisations throughout the region, but it can be challenging to get enough traction and alignment between key stakeholders from all sides to be effective enough to make a difference, so what can everybody in the sector do to help drive this forward?

Implementing ideas will take more than just will, it will take grit and sheer determination. The tools are there, technology is available, people can be retrained –but the resources need to be given shape by the joint forces of both the government and the industry.

You have a lot of experience in Saudi Arabia, the biggest market in the region for Logistics, so how important do you see Saudi’s role in this.

As the largest market in the region, both in terms of imports and exports, Saudi Arabia will make a huge difference and impact in the way logistics is done in the region, it’s imperative that the logistics community and government in Saudi Arabia is a major supporter and influencer of change and development.

 What are your thoughts on how E-commerce is affecting the logistics sector?  

The impact of e-commerce is already seen here with players upping their game, and also major shipping lines reengineering their model to dip into the end to end solutions, via digital platforms. Technology is now a differentiator of logistics services – be it, transport, warehousing, tracking, etc. which creates the visibility for the customer. Overall, the rise of E-commerce should have a very positive impact by accelerating the need for improved cross border collaboration between countries.

What do think about the level of skills and the availability of people with logistics experience in the region?

We are facing talent shortages for some functions, but it’s going in the right direction as training and qualification in the field of logistics has become a primary guideline for selection of employees, and improving the skill sets of the already employed.

Trainability and hence employability of local population is also now being taken very seriously, with the government of each country making it a law. This has led to logistics providers making a concerted effort to engage and upskill local nationals as well as their expats employees.

What is Kanoo Logistics doing in regard to upskilling employees and raising logistics industry standards?

We are raising the internal bar first – our Group has now a dynamic team of professionals led by a Group CEO, Dr Patrick Chenel, who have laid out the cards on the table and charted out the path into the future by taking steps:  bold yet careful; fast yet consistent; local yet global; individually yet as One Kanoo.

We are raising the standard of our Group offerings with technology, compliance, people competence, Operational excellence – all aimed at one single goal: a strong customer focus & delivery.

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director of the Top Management Resources Group (TMR Group), is well known throughout the international Supply Chain & Logistics sector as a focused and highly proactive business leader, mentor, and thought leader. He has partnered with Global Supply Chain magazine to run a series of exclusive interviews with senior executives to uncover the facts and provide real time insight on what’s happening in the Supply Chain & Logistics sector across the region.

Read the full magazine

kanoo interview