Across his long career, Bruno Sidler worked many years for Panalpina, where he served as CEO for 8 years. Subsequently, he served across a few executive roles in CEVA Logistics, and then as global COO of DKSH. Currently, he is the COO of Lonhro, as well as sits on the boards of Scan Global Logistics, Bertschi AG, e2log, and Global Airlift Solutions.
Listen to the full discussion here:
Connect with the Guest:
Bruno Sidler: LinkedIn
Some of the highlights from the podcast:
- Will A.P. Moller – Maersk and CMA CGM succeed in the one-stop-shop strategy?
- Why we live on credit after the lengthy COVID-19 situation and impact on staff morale
- Key mistake most companies make: forget to ask the customer what they want!
- What makes a great leader? (Bruno’s answer may surprise you)
- Digital freight forwarders vs traditional – is it either or/and
- Mergers and Acquisitions – where will this lead in the next years?
- [01:27] How did you end up in logistics many, many years ago? And how did you end up doing all the things that you did?
- [02:20] For me going into freight forwarding was not a difficult choice. And I must say, I loved it from day one, I found my job from day one.
- [05:05] How do you see the next couple of years from an M&A and consolidation perspective?
- [07:26] I’m not so sure that this one-stop shopping, these enormous companies which can cover the globe with everything will be in the end what the customer wants. But that’s my humble personal opinion.
- [08:50] Do you see at some point, these guys playing a very active part in offering logistics as a service?
- [09:54] I sometimes think we can’t be the jack of all trades, that’s my personal view. You have to focus on certain things and there you have to be the best.
- [11:06] I have this perception that these big companies, let’s not name them, whether they’re shipping lines or 3PLs, there’s a legacy or there’s a certain inertia to move. They know they need to change and they are trying to change but the rhythm as compared to Amazon or Alibaba doesn’t strike me as being at the same pace. So what are your thoughts on that?
- [13:03] Do you think the M&Arush is happening with companies who are late to get into e-commerce and who want to fast-track the development?
- [15:20] What will it take for companies to put sustainability ahead of rates in the procurement process?
- [16:49] Scandinavian customers were already talking about sustainability 20 years ago. So the mindset has always been very much around in Scandinavia, you even had customers there who were actually prepared to pay a couple of cents more to have a sustainable solution.
- [19:39] Do digital freight forwarders and traditional records that onboard the digital capability actually have a future? How do you see this? Is it an either-or?
- [22:08] Do you see freight forwarders tomorrow still needing the client reports skills, sales skills, communication skills, and building relationship skills? Or will we be hiring more digital and data scientists?
- [23:00] I think people still want to talk to somebody who is from their neighborhood, who knows the lay of the land, who is familiar with themselves, with their products, and so on. Human beings want to interact with other human beings.
- [24:24] Because of COVID-19 the sales and the building of relationships have moved or are transitioning somehow to this digital front. What’s your observation about this?
- [27:10] Are there some principles that you found more successful to make sure that you don’t forget who’s paying your bills, which is your client? And so you always remember to ask the client what they need?
- [28:00] All I can say is that a C-level executive who doesn’t meet customers is not a good strategy. Customer appreciates very much to talk to C-level executives and you get great feedback free of charge, which is gonna make you and your company better.
- [28:51] There are a lot of buzzwords around like AI, machine learning, data, blockchain, and others in the same category. Which of these buzzwords do you think is too much spoken about and will have zero to limited impact?
- [32:22] We talk a lot about digital but ultimately, if you don’t have good transport and logistics professional who knows the right people to call, the right relationships, the right traders, the right contracts, the right making things happen, you’re still kind of screwed with all your data. So I’m curious to hear your perspective on that.
- [32:56] I also think that there is probably a limit to what can be done with a digitized supply chain because ultimately, you still need people. And you need the right people on the ground with the right attitude to make it happen.
- [33:35] Do you have any advice in terms of getting teams working together? Some leadership tips and tricks?
- [35:36] For me, social competence, social intelligence is the key ingredient for a successful leader. The rest you can learn, but that is given to you maybe partly by your DNA, but also mostly by your upbringing.
- [36:00] What would be some advice looking back for people that for the first time are stepping into C-level roles or executive roles?
- [36:26] You have to throw people into the cold water. You can give them all the tips, you can give them books but ultimately you have to throw somebody into cold water and they have to learn by doing.
- [37:58] When you send people for the first time into these roles, don’t leave them alone and make sure they actually reach out to you and if they don’t, you have to be the one who is pinging them.
- [38:59] There are certain markets with very interesting dynamics but in most, it’s a male-dominated industry. So how do you see this type of dynamics playing out? How can we encourage more women in leadership positions or groom them?
- [39:51] As a C-level executive, you have to make it your job to support women and it starts with the way you talk about them.