Centre stage with Centre Point Logistics – Global Supply Chain Interview Series

Read the full transcript from Brian Cartwright’s interview with with Torben Eskelund, CEO, Centre Point Logistics (First published February 2019 in Global Supply Chain Magazine)

This month I caught up with Torben Eskelund CEO of Centre Point Logistics. Torben is a dynamic 3pl leader who has an impressive and varied history of work experience in Logistics which stemmed from an early career in the Royal Danish Army’s Logistics and Supply Division, where he was eventually commissioned as an officer and given command of a heavy transportation and recovery platoon. That early entry into the world of logistics developed into a 20+ year career to date leading up to his current role.

Q: Tell me about your career up until you took over at CPL

After college, I completed 3 years military service before entering the private sector with DSV.

I worked all around the world for DSV with postings in USA, South Korea, China and UAE, advancing my career through internal promotions with each move. I was with DSV for 15 years before leaving them in 2015 to start my own Logistics Consulting company having secured a consulting contract for one of the largest UAE based maritime terminals and ports. Following this I took on the CEO role at CPL.

Q: What attracted you to Logistics in the first place?

Logistics wasn’t my first choice of career as I always wanted to be a certified accountant, but in Denmark we have compulsory military service for every adult male and part of this involves a lottery where you literally pull a number from a tombola. Pull a low number and you join the military, pull a high number you can elect to stay out. I pulled a low number, so after business school I joined the army and was posted to the Logistics and Supply Division. In the end I found logistics far more interesting than accounting and decided to seek out logistics opportunities after completing military service.

Q: What are your main goals at Centre Point Logistics as we approach 2020?

One of our key strategic goals is offering a new innovative product within e-commerce fulfilment. We see this sector and demand in the market taking off to such a high degree it will be outweighing the current capacity of even the most active players.

Q: Why do you think the e-commerce opportunity is so enormous?

This region has far less penetration in the ratio of online shopping versus bricks n’ mortar shopping than other markets in the world.  This is despite the Middle East having among the highest percentage of people owning smart phones compared to other parts of the world. E-commerce will grow.

Q: What future challenges do you see for the logistics sector?

Challenges will continue to be consolidation and more and more companies will move into niche vertical areas of operating. I think we might see some MNC’s become more vertically focused than ever seen before, and likely the top 10 global forwarders will continue to battle and either eat or be eaten.

Q: What are your thoughts on technology innovations in the Logistics sector?

Disruption and technology are now part of the agenda on most board meetings, which wasn’t the case a few years back, but I definitely foresee that this will become even more important, so it’s imperative to have clearly defined strategies in this area going forward.

Q: What will be the outcome for the logistics industry globally considering on-going trade wars and dramatic changes in the foreign policies of certain countries?

Political environment, and certain trade “wars” or barriers have always been there and will continue to be part of the future challenges, and as always, the most agile and flexible company will be the winners in the end.

Brian Cartwright, Managing Director of Top Management Resources Group, is a specialist advisor to the international Supply Chain & Logistics sector, he is a focused and highly proactive business leader, and mentor, who is regarded by many as the leading head hunter and career advisor in the region for this sector. He has partnered with Global Supply Chain magazine to run an ongoing series of exclusive interviews with senior executives to uncover the facts and provide real time insight on what’s happening in the market.

Read the full magazine

CPL InterviewGlobal Supply Chain Feb 2019

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










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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Simply Engaging Talent.

Struggling to recruit or even identify the right people?

Not getting enough suitably qualified and experienced applicants responding to your job adverts?

External recruiters not living up to expectations?

Perhaps your company should be focusing more on building talent communities (and not just on social media), organising and attending regular real time events, for example getting more actively involved in outreach programs to engage with the future work force (Schools, Universities etc).

Talent acquisition is not about posting jobs on LinkedIn or jobs boards and hoping the right people apply or putting a vacancy out to a load of recruitment agencies and hoping they can fix your problem, its about having your finger on the pulse, knowing what’s happening in the market and constantly being connected to the global talent pool, identifying potential skills shortages early on and doing something about it.

Talent Acquisition & Management / HR professionals in your organisation should ideally be aiming to attend (as often as reasonably possible) industry conferences or events related to your companies business sector and operations that are not HR focused. It always amazes me that you rarely see people from these functions / departments proactively engaging with people from other organisations face to face at these types of gatherings as important ambassadors for your business.

Keep it simple, keep it real, never forget it’s all about people!

Isolated diversity tree hands


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Could The Square Peg Fit ?

Is it time for the logistics service providers to make more of a concerted effort to hire people from the other side of the fence in order to bring fresh ideas and insight instead of just trying to grab the best people from the direct competition?

There is certainly lots to learn from people who have worked on the client side even if they haven’t been 100% focused on Logistics in their role.


End users are always looking for cost effective solutions to help bolster and improve efficiency and visibility within their supply chains and I am sure that having a deep knowledge of the business gained from having worked on the inside of the industry on the clients side of the fence would be a major factor in being able to provide very client specific and industry specific solutions and ultimately win and retain the business from that client.

Within the 3pl’s I would cite regional key account management roles for certain specific industry verticals and regional business development roles focused on delivering supply chain and contract logistics solutions as very good examples where many companies are struggling to find suitably qualified people with existing 3pl experience, in my view this is certainly the case in the MEA Region.

Agree or disagree?

Please share your thoughts.

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Future Leaders Take Note!

Here’s some food for thought for those you of reading this who are at the early or mid stage of your career and have aspirations to become a senior executive within the Supply Chain & Logistics sector in the future.

If all goes to plan then in few years time you will be leaders in the Global Supply Chain holding a position such as CEO, Director, VP and possibly with Global, Regional or Country wide responsibilities.

Whether that’s working in Aviation, Shipping, Contract Logistics, or indeed managing Supply Chain functions in Retail, Manufacturing or Distribution etc (the list goes on) there is going to be one common factor which will be a priority for you all… you are going to need people.

The current Supply Chain and Logistics industry leaders are already struggling to bring fresh talent into the sector and this is an issue around the world. The fact that its a global problem was further reinforced to me over the last two weeks as I attended two separate conferences in Asia and Europe. The week before last I was at the Logisym Supply Chain conference in Singapore and just last week the IATA World Cargo Symposium in Berlin.

It was the first time in a very long time that I have attended any Supply Chain & Logistics related events outside of the Middle East yet the same issues around attracting and retaining people in the sector that are discussed regularly across the MEA Region also featured heavily at both of these events. I am sure if I went to similar events in North or South America I would hear exactly the same.

As you are reading this you might well be wondering why I am specifically addressing people in their early or mid-career stage, surely I should be aiming this towards the  current leaders, not the future leaders?

Well here’s the reason.

When you become the next CEO or Global Supply Chain Director you are going to need a ready supply of people just as todays leaders need this right now. The difference is the current leaders have left it far too late and now we are constantly talking about how to make the sector more attractive as there is a huge shortage of new blood.

Those discussions should have already been happening years ago, the current situation is that we are struggling to attract talent to the Supply Chain today but for those of you in your early or mid careers it’s a perfect time too start talking up the sector and getting fresh talent interested because you are going to need those people when its your turn in the driving seat.

In short its essential that you start getting used to being an ambassador for the Supply Chain sector right now! Do everything in your power to gain the interest of school leavers, fresh graduates, and  also anyone else you can think of who may be open to a career change because these people are going to be your talent pool in years to come.

SC brand

Everyone complains about the challenges in finding new people for the sector right now and its a real problem, but lets face it we have all dropped the ball in the past.

Lets not make the same mistake again as there’s no time like the present to give a boost to the Supply Chain & Logistics brand!

Heres a great Chinese proverb which sums this up perfectly.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”


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The People Supply Chain Top 10’s “Top tips for personal LinkedIn leverage!”

However you intend to use LinkedIn its guaranteed that you are going to benefit from increasing the visibility and quality of your profile!

Get noticed

Here are “The People Supply Chain’s” top ten tips for you to get the most out of the world’s largest professional networking site in order to improve your personal profile and stand out from the crowd!

  1. Keep your profile upto date!
  1. Be clear on how you want to be seen by others

Build your personal brand! Take time to write a personal yet professional profile summary that makes it clear who you are, what you do and what you have to offer.

  1. Ensure your career history on LinkedIn matches your CV (Everybody checks!)
  1. But… don’t just use LinkedIn whenever you need a new job!

Make it a part of your daily routine to regularly; Like, Comment and Share Information and Articles, LinkedIn Pulse is a great resource for posting your own articles as it has a wide reach and also makes it easy for other users to interact with you and share your posts. Regular posts, likes and shares will ensure your profile stays ahead of the crowd and remains visible to others, and if you did happen to be on the look out for a move then staying high profile may ensure that new job will find you…!

  1. Use it for research and professional development

Read articles, soak up knowledge and generally aim to stay abreast of what’s happening in your industry. If you work in a commercial role use it to identify key decision makers, organizations and industry groups.

  1. Use a professional photo

No selfie’s or party shots! But do ensure your photo fits with your profile in terms of how you wish to portray yourself.

  1. Complete as many of the individual sections under the profile editor as possible

A complete profile will show up in far more searches than an incomplete one making you more visible! (Dropping in a few keywords is a big help!)

  1. Join relevant LinkedIn groups and contribute to them as often as possible!

Think visibility! You are growing your personal brand and positioning yourself as an expert in your industry.

  1. Continuously work on growing your network of contacts

Focus on quality not quantity, try to ensure that the majority of connections could be deemed as beneficial to you from a professional point of view for example potential business partners, employers, colleagues, customers. (even if they are on the other side of the world it doesn’t matter if they are useful / relevant contacts). Think six degrees of separation!

  1. Upload Multimedia to your profile

Add Powerpoint Presentations, Links to video’s or articles and websites. Think of it as your personal portfolio, its your page and your big chance to showcase your talents!

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Out with the old and in with the… “Who?”

There are tons of highly qualified and experienced Supply Chain & Logistics professionals ready to work for your business immediately.

Yep that’s right, there’s not really a skills shortage, in fact there is an abundance of amazingly qualified and experienced people ready to join your organization today.

These very same people also bring vast networks and business relationships and can not only develop and improve your operations based on their first hand experience but its likely they could also bring new business.

Oh, and that’s all in addition to training their own successor!

Supply Chain solutions experts and Professional Logisticians, Project Logistics experts, Supply Chain Management and Optimization experts, Procurement, S&OP, Demand Management experts… the list goes on and on…

Sounds too good to be true right?

Well these are facts, and the unfortunate truth in this politically correct world in which we live is that whether anyone is prepared to admit it or not there is an entire under utilized Supply Chain work force of senior professionals who often aren’t being given the opportunity to continue working, yet aren’t even close to thinking of stopping work. Add to this that there are only a very limited number of people from the younger generations who could take their place and we have a significant problem.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the more mature experienced people would command only the very highest levels of salary and benefits, but in my experience from a cost to company perspective that is often just not the case, many of these people have minimal overheads and no dependents and therefore don’t necessarily have the need for a package with all of the bells and whistles included. Don’t get me wrong they know the value of their experience and qualifications and would expect fair compensation for their efforts, but it’s a fair yet realistic compensation which they expect.

Of course in the developed countries Anti-Ageism or Age Discrimination laws prevent companies from not employing the more mature workers… right?

So obviously there are no issues there because anyone at any age has an equal chance… Hmmm.

I mean no one was ever rejected from getting a job because of their age were they?

I would bet there are plenty of examples of more senior or dare I say it older applicants who have been told in the past that they just didn’t… somehow… fit the profile of a job they had applied for yet they have worked in the very same type of job for their whole career.

Anyway my point here is not to argue the politics it’s more about encouraging the leaders of organizations to seriously consider how utilizing the skills of older generations could benefit their business whilst we still have the chance.

Bear in mind when these people are completely gone we cannot replace their years of knowledge and experience which translates to major problems in a global supply chain, and that’s a looming disaster!

The skills shortages do exist in the mid age range and below but this will never improve if we don’t get a move on and start training and developing more young professionals whilst keeping in mind that the older generations which should be heavily involved in passing on knowledge are those who are often being asked to sit on the side lines.

We need to stop the brain drain immediately and start utilizing the skills and experience of the experts in order to properly train the next generations of Supply Chain & Logistics professionals.

Brain Drain.jpg

If someone is ready to put in another 3-5 years before they finally wish to consider finishing work then surely that’s plenty of time for them to join a business, take a future successor under their wing and show them the ropes whilst imparting valuable knowledge.

Give it a shot and you might find your business advancing far faster and more efficiently than it ever has before.

There are no substitutes for vast networks and experience!


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