Having operated as three separate businesses in Europe, Barloworld Logistics appointed CEO John van Wyk to develop the company’s integrated logistics offering. This meant bringing its European operations under a single operating structure. Since then, he has been working to build a more consistent presence in the region.
Q: What are the products and services that you bring to the logistics sector?
JvW: One of the key things that we bring to our clients is a different approach to that of many industry players. If you look at our solutions set, we have some of the best in class supply chain optimisation tools that have been successfully sold many times to some of the largest companies in the world. Encompassing these tools, we have skills and management services that take the information and turn it into supply chain strategies and tactics. We then manage these operationally as part of our service agreement with clients, in order to make sure that their supply chain is operating as optimally as possible. We also try to anticipate, to some extent, the future; understand what we can do to make the supply chain more sustainable and increase performance from a cost point of view. By increasing visibility, we improve our ability to respond to situations that may emerge in the future.
Q: You mention sustainability, which is somewhat of a hot topic at the moment. What are you doing to increase sustainability in the supply chain?
JvW: Sustainability is a concept that not only refers to the environmental issues but also refers to the resilience of the supply chain and the ability of that supply chain to adapt and maintain a very high performance level over an extended period of time. We have a carbon emissions modelling optimisation tool, which is part of our network suite. Beyond that, we have a philosophy that doing green business and doing sustainable business is actually doing good business. It starts with better planning and ensuring that you have, for example, only the requisite number of trucks and travelling only the requisite number of miles on the road at any one time. You then begin to see how an integrated view of your supply chain can be managed with the right tools, the right management services, the right operational methodologies and start to deliver sustainability into the supply chain. Occasionally, new customers start looking at green as only an emissions issue and we believe it goes way beyond that. We are seeing some incredible initiatives and that comes from having a much deeper view of what’s happening in the supply chain.
Q: Is a green strategy becoming a ‘must-have’ for logistics providers and clients alike?
JvW: You can’t put a bid in for a client today that doesn’t have robust sustainability components to it. It is now mainstream. I personally think that not only is it great news for the environment but also great news for clients. Often, a lot of the innovation comes from those smaller supply chain companies where they’ve got a particular toolset, or a particular way of doing business that delivers some of that optimisation, or some of the modelling that’s required for emissions.
Q: How do your logistics services help improve performance?
JvW: If you observed a cross section of companies, not all of them would firstly know that they had an opportunity in transport to improve the performance of the business. Those that are aware of it would start to look at various alternatives and the first one that they typically look at is outsourcing. At a very simple level, the first stage is to try and obtain control of your transport operations. Our entire focus is to ensure that when we work with a client, we’re able to not only recover what we earn from improvements, but make sure that those improvements stay locked in for future years.
Q: What does the future hold for Barloworld Logistics Europe?
JvW: We’re going through a period of integration and consolidation. 2010 is about making sure that we protect our clients so that we keep growing with them as their volumes return. Looking at 2011, it’s about making sure that we’re offering to all our clients across the spectrum, the full range of services that we have. Then in late 2012, maybe look at some aggressive expansion.