Recent events and seminars regarding the logistics and transport sector were dedicated to the many issues confronting the business. One of them has been really prominent these last months, namely the future vision of the sector and the type of strategy to be adopted in the face of the (economic) situation of the past few years, and, even more so, the position that many hauliers are still finding themselves in. Right now it is survival that takes absolute priority for many companies; the future only lies ahead.
Cooperation or steering your own course?
Again and again, discussions are about whether close cooperation with various companies, like service providers, could make a difference, especially in the long run. This was a recent issue at an ABN Amro seminar, discussed between Bart Banning of ABN Amro and Arthur van Dijk of TLN. The main point was the use of adopting long-term visions while entering into long-term relationships with different parties as well. A long-term vision, and of course the strategy required, will continue to remain essential for any company, certainly those in the transport and logistics sector.
Still, many hauliers pose the question if long-term visions really are that important. Looking back on the past five years for instance, we see many changes in the sector happening in a relatively short time. Not every company will be able (or willing) to respond to these changes and implement them overnight. Still, how could cooperation work towards a more optimistic future vision?
Cooperation on the basis of mutual interest
The notion of steering your own course without involving other parties would certainly appear unworkable these days. Companies just need positive external influences to define clear objectives that fit the image of their sector. Cooperation with other parties is necessary here. While ‘cooperation’ may of course be viewed in a broad sense, small changes may also benefit the entire chain; take for instance on-charging of certain costs or interests. Active discussion and problem-solving by all parties involved may be to the advantage of the whole chain. Realising cost-cutting effects by working with a service provider will certainly contribute, as on-charged costs will decrease all over the chain. Cooperation on the basis of mutual interest will deliver a positive overall outcome. Such cooperation starts from ‘my advantage and/or interest and supporting my sector at the same time’.
Trust in the sector
Having and maintaining a certain degree of trust appears to be a foothold for many companies and will bring the strategic objectives and visions required. Strategic objectives are necessary for shaping the logistics sector in better ways and to make it future-proof. This unambiguous conclusion is also held by prof. Jack van der Veen of Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands, as it will result in better horizontal cooperation within the chain. This may also be achieved by concluding long-term contracts instead of short-term contracts.
Be it as it may, we, on our part, have trust in the sector and we are looking out for many possibilities for further cooperation. For instance in the area of cost-cutting and efficiency, which will in the end meet in one clear objective: the common pursuit of operational excellence!