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Interview with a Leader - May 2021

Every month in 2021, APR will share a discussion with a Leader in his/her field.

Marco is the General Manager of CMA International, a subsidiary of Dimotrans Group. Marco has a high-level, international vision of the transportation business. His strong background led him to collaborate with all kind of partners in Europe and beyond and pushed him to always develop new methodologies, tools and services to adapt to every customer specific need and request.

International multimodal transport and logistics company, CMA International operates in countries like Turkey where customs policies are complex and technical. The tailor-made service and assistance they provide to their international clients together with their flexibility and ability to adapt to the landscape position them as a key player of the sector.

He strongly believes that the current context pushed the limit of digitalization and the way we could exploit the uprising opportunities: the world will become more and more a wide game field and will bring more human, intellectual wealth.

How did last year’s event impact your business model of tomorrow?

Last years event pushed Marco to rethink the operating model, as it did for all of us. Remote working was evidently the main matter with strong human impacts.

The overall balance is definitely positive: productivity has grown significatively and recruitment opportunities has broadened. Indeed, geographical location of a talent is not anymore seen as a selection criteria and therefore the pool of talents to consider for a position is endless!

Now the challenge is to keep this dynamic lasting for the future and learn how to measure the long term impact on the teams: what's the level of commitment, of belonging?

This has also been a boost to the digitalization projects CMA had on the pipe: in 8 months the ramp-up was incredible and now not only employees are on board but also clients. It's really been a virtuous circle between clients and CMA where everyone brought to the table a specific competency to help the other improve and grow. Lots of CMA clients are international companies who had already a foot in the digitalization of their processes and this last acceleration put under control not only material streams but also administrative streams bringing velocity, trasparency and of course efficiency!

Marco revised his position too: he admits that at the beginning digitalization might be a fear to loose control but it's the total contrary: operations has never been this under control!

Considering this new vision, what are the next steps of evolution?

The challenge for Marco is to validate that this new business model is viable in the long run. New ways of monitoring people involvement and results must be designed, mostly when the worldwide situation is calmer.

Marco trusts that this model is realistic as it is more sustainable: all of what's superfluous, redundant, unnecessary will be eliminated. Only added-value tasks and processes will be considered.

Digitalization will continue its spread within the company to boost the research for efficiency and productivity. Undeniably, lots of processes will be redesigned to match this new, but promising, business model.

Regarding transportation, the impact of raw material shortages worldwide is critical. CMA has the means to offer an integrated solution and their expertise in multimodal & road transportation has been solicited to compensate the shortage of containers. Marco foresees that transport providers will always have to be able to propose flexible solutions to their clients and position themselves as solution provider over all.

Transportation is a topic often on the table when we talk about sustainability, what's CMA current and future actions in regard?

If it has been a more frequent request from customers in the last 5 years, CMA had been considering the impact their activity has for some time.

Indeed, every brick of sustainability fit in the quest of 5 star service and efficiency of CMA for their customers. Of course, trucks are last generation - not only to monitor CO2 emissions but also to ensure the best life quality of the teams - itineraries are the focus of specific studies to optimize each mile, digital tools has been integrated to each truck to be sure best practices are respected… And it goes on till the printing policies in the headquarters!

How does a transportation company will have to adapt and will there be an impact on people and competencies?

Besides the evolution of the organizational business model we discussed, Marco foresees that transportation has a bright future ahead… with some adjustments!

Digitalization will allow clients to be more owner of the partner selection process as they will have more visibility into its processes and business proposals. As a direct consequence, sales manager will need to upgrade their status and present an added-value and not just a service. The more the client has access to information, the more the provider has to be efficient. Hence, sales manager will grow into project managers and will have to step up their negotiation practices.

The same is true for customer service: digitalization is taking out the most redundant and inefficient activities of their schedule so that energy can be deployed in more added-value activities such as retention and fidelization of customers through analysis and pertinent recommandation for any situation.

That's another topic on which Marco sees a pit of opportunities to be explored and strategically integrated into the next CMA business model!

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