SPEAKER INTERVIEW - Christoph Szakowski
Can you provide an overview of your conference topic/session?
I will deal with the key strategic imperatives for logistics providers on the New Silk Road. I will also show examples of the areas of competition comparing them with options for cooperation between the players.
Why is this an important topic to discuss?
The company’s leaders can gain a new, helicopter view on the market ‘s current trends. The New Silk Road megaproject offers immense opportunities for integrated and multimodal logistics solutions providers. Now – with various emerging supply chain markets in Asia on the one side and market entry or - at least - interest of several European logistics providers towards the OBOR on the other – it is the best time to become strategic regarding the markets you are in, the service you provide, the customers you target and the alliances you might have.
What can attendees expect to learn and discover from your session?
Due to the character of our work which can be described as strategic but very much hands-on thanks to our close connection to the industry’s leaders, I am convinced that attendees can discover 2 major things: 1. Neutral consulting perspective with refreshing insights, 2. Opportunity to compare their own vision to that what is happening in the market.
What would you say is the biggest issue being faced/discussed in your industry at the moment?
What is discussed often in the 3 PL and logistics industry does not necessarily equal the core challenges which several logistics players are facing.I believe the still rather low profitability of the companies is the real issue and very frequent discussions all over the world about the use of technologies do not address the challenge. The industry needs a pragmatic focus on results now rather than a futurological distraction
What is the biggest lesson you learned in 2017?
For me personally the main lesson was to learn how strong company’s cultures still differ in the logistics industry, depending on the region and other factors. This is a fundamental truth – with all the drivers of globalization connectivity of business processes within a few seconds, data transparency and open access through social media, learning societies etc., still culture values of companies, their DNA are often remaining resistant to any radical change.
On the global perspective, I learned with huge excitement about the Asian Logistics Markets developments and the lesson is here without any doubt – you become a global leader only with interest towards and experience in this huge, diversified and rapidly growing continent.
What do you think the biggest challenge for the industry will be in 2018?
The industry might be experiencing some important M&A on a global or regional level with consequences in their market share and profitability. The real macro challenge for the leaders will be to cope with talent shortages in the industry which can be only answered with increased employer branding of logistics companies as firms offering a broad range of roles in an attractive segment with worldwide career opportunities.
What innovative measures should the industry adopt in the next few years to ensure market sustainability and growth?
The industry should fast and radically first analyze the old and new business models connected to any kind of 3 PL, freight forwarding, logistics etc.A measure would be a strategic review and a benchmark study which allows market players to see whether with the current business model there is a real growth perspective. Per our studies only 1/3 of companies in European logistics market in Central Europe do it, the rest needs to open the eyes to the fact that in the supply chain industry you need to constantly (re)-define your role and adopt fast not only to current customer requests but most of all to foreseeable market changes.
Why do you think events such as Intermodal Asia are important for the industry?
This is a first class gathering of the industry and huge possibility to learn from other leaders and connect to people and new business opportunities. Intermodal Asia with the New Silk Road topic is also important in view of further exchange of ideas in the Eurasian logistics.