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?

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

Urgent & essential job vacancy! (It’s been open for at least one year)

Here’s an interesting question…do you employ people for jobs or do you build your jobs around each individual you employ?

Where do you draw the line?

I have regular discussions with business owners, senior decision makers and hiring managers who are looking for people to “tick all the boxes” for vacant posts as per very specific (non negotiable) job descriptions and as a result of this they haven’t employed anyone at all and usually tend to have their vacant positions open for months on end.

Imagine having a key position vacant for the past year which is (in a very significant way) going to be impacting the rest of your team, your business, your clients and ultimately revenue and market position.

In the current business climate the majority of the people and the companies which are succeeding are those which continue to be flexible, those which are constantly adapting and innovating in order to keep making money.

The good news is that more and more companies are taking an increasingly pragmatic approach to the job fit vs candidate fit by regularly adapting role profiles.

When they  meet people who they really want in their business they adapt, innovate and simply put…. find a way to make it work!

holes

I would bet that these companies are amongst the leaders in their field.

If they are applying similar principles to the rest of their business its a pretty safe bet in my view.

If you are hiring and have had an open vacancy for a long time yet still cant find the right person then maybe the person with the skills and experience you want simply doesn’t exist or if they do then maybe your business just isn’t an attractive enough option for them to want to join?

There’s actually a good chance you have already met the ideal person for the business need, maybe you just need to find a way to make it work.

Taking a more open and flexible approach and being prepared to build a role around a person enables an organization to utilize more of each employees strengths rather than just the specific skills / experience required for a pre-set role.

The company stands to gain a higher return on investment for each person they employ and as long as the employee is receiving fair compensation for an expanded role they are normally happier as well.

The world has changed, ticking boxes is not enough.

Don’t restrict your business by looking for the obvious or by doing things a certain way just because that’s the way you have always done things.

Be open to new ideas…. be entrepreneurial!


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Planning your personal route to market.

So you’ve decided its time for a move…

Before you even write your CV and commence your Job Search you should really have a plan in place.

A few very basic things to consider.

  • What’s the ideal job that you have enough experience for and the right qualifications to take on right now?
  • Which companies would you like to work for?
  • Where are they based?
  • Do they have a career portal?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • Which are the best online jobs boards to use in order to find the type of job you are looking for?
  • Who are the main recruiters which specialize in your area of experience in the region where you are looking to work?
  • Can you leverage the networks of any of your existing contacts, ex-colleagues, friends, social media or industry groups to help open doors and make connections with key decision makers at the companies you wish to work for?
  • Are your salary expectations realistic?

Be realistic.

  • Apply to jobs which you are definitely qualified & have relevant experience for
  • Be aware that the jobs market is constantly changing, especially in recent years. It could be that the package you earn today is already above the current market average
  • No one wants to go backwards but bear in mind the days of a 20-30% pay increase to move jobs are long gone

Stay Focused.

  • Think of your job search as a sales pipeline… you are the product!
  • Make a plan, set yourself targets and aim for quality of applications, not quantity
  • Track your activity (A good old Excel sheet will do just fine)
  • Once you have a plan in place and an idea of what you are aiming for you can tailor your resume to suit (Next Phase)

You can spend your time applying for thousands of jobs which aren’t quite right or spend the same amount of time applying for a smaller number of jobs where you absolutely have the right experience and therefore more chance of a positive response.

Its not a perfect science but get as close to the latter as possible and your potential for success has already increased!

Plan your personal RTM


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Education… Aligned.

Advances in technology and workplace culture and environment are changing faster than ever before.

Education needs to be better aligned to suit each generation, and this comes down to understanding what makes each generation tick.

The gap in experience between generations is vast and we cannot afford to lose the skills and experience of the mature and experienced professionals or we are facing disaster. With this in mind each generation must be provided for in a flexible way which appeals to their differing learning styles.

The Gen-Y’s (Millennials) should be accommodated  for with their technological and flexibility requirements with online & apps based training, brainstorming, group workshops etc.

For the baby boomers and previous generations classroom based learning may prove more effective.

In my opinion, we must understand that today’s workplace has people working together with vastly differing age ranges, values and experience. One solution which is slowly being adopted by a growing number of organizations is training on generational awareness in order to create a better understanding and more effective internal communication. It’s time to get savvy and adopt technology, build creative brand energy, and be open to new ideas.


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Virtual engagement in the people supply chain…

We increasingly live and work in a socially (or virtually) networked world and the acceptance of this fact by organizations when it comes to hiring is proving advantageous to those early adopter organizations that have leveraged social networking as part of their recruitment strategy. Increasingly organizations are focusing on developing their brand as an employer, and a key part of this is building a talent community where potential candidates are kept engaged and informed as to what’s happening in the organization that they may one day wish to join.

Building and maintaining an enlightened talent community is a key factor in winning the battle for talent and it’s a far better strategy than purely creating a CV database which quickly becomes outdated.

Ensuring you have a ready pool of candidates to meet possible recruitment requirements is no easy task and just as managing a supply chain is about managing uncertainty and variability, the same applies to your future hiring needs. Current economic dynamics typified by significant fluctuations in customer and business service requirements often determines that it is usually difficult knowing what your talent requirements will be in the short and medium term and what types and levels of skills are needed.

Whilst all organizations need to embrace modern technology, increasing numbers are realizing that technology can’t and should not replace human interaction and valuable relationships. More and more companies are realizing that creating vast databases of CV’s is an inferior option to building a community of targeted prospective future employees through the use of technology and keeping them informed and engaged online. This methodology supports tracking and managing the recruitment processes and enabling the relevant information to then take the relationship offline and into the real world as early as possible when commencing the recruitment process for a specific role.

For many forward thinking HR Directors and Managers it is the candidate experience that is first and foremost in their recruiting strategy and to create this experience is not possible with the “one click / apply” routine that we see from the majority of job boards and applicant tracking systems. This is old school practice which is losing its place in the hiring processes used by many organizations today.

Virtual engagement


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The People’s Value Chain…

There’s a lot of talk within the global community about the need to attract more talent to an increasingly dynamic Supply Chain & Logistics sector.  Demand for talented professionals continues to increase yet the sector is still not the sexiest of professions particularly amongst undergraduates, despite an evolving discussion within the sector on ways to bring in new blood.

By referring to company and employer branding there are some simple lessons that can be learnt by the sector to attract new talent and address these skill shortages.

To attract talented professionals, organizations strategically  integrate their company values and reputation with their employer brands.  The perception of a company’s success, values, image, including their reputation in areas such as management style and work environment, is incredibly important. Jobseekers heavily weight these factors when considering their employment decisions.  If supply chain is to stand out as a career of choice it needs to increase its image awareness around these factors.

Once these factors commonly referred to as the “Company Brand” are put in place, the internal factors, which fall under the banner of “Employer Brand” can be addressed. This involves all aspects of the employee offering from the recruitment process to training, remuneration, culture etc.  Finally it’s about aligning the Company and Employer Brand and then establishing how best to effectively communicate these messages.

How does your organization create value?

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Generation workspace. Out with the old and in with the new…

The increasing influence of the millennial generation within the workplace with their significantly differing needs and expectations to any previous generation before them is driving a step change in how we view the world of work these days.

But what about the physical working environment? Does it have a big part to play in how your organisation and brand is viewed by future and existing employees, and by your customers?

Can your office environment impact your ability to attract and retain talent as well as encourage creativity and productivity in the work place, and can the environment contribute positively to your organisation being a better or great place to work?

I bet we can all identify areas where we can improve our physical working environments to encourage greater levels of engagement, motivation and enjoyment, enhancing the image and presentation of our businesses and our industry as a whole.

Imagine you walk into an office to be greeted by a place filled with nooks and crannies – creative work spaces, themed breakout rooms where you can take a seat (or a giant bean bag) and work from your tablet, glass partitions that can be used as wall to wall white boards, strategically located smart boards with blu-tooth connectivity, modern ergonomic furniture, stylish yet highly functional hot desks / workstations and seating that provide an escape from traditional environments.

Ignore Convention....
Ignore Convention….

Well lit interiors and motivational words adorning the walls, company values written not in the usual plaque or square sign on transparent perspex format, now they are vinyl prints shooting across the walls with flashy writing and jazzy colours spelling out just who you are and what you stand for.

Why is it the likes of the Google’s and the Facebook’s are constantly catching the headlines with their impression of what a modern working environment looks like?

The answer is simple; They were bold enough to ignore convention and just go ahead and do it!


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