The global shipping and logistics sector has been finding its way through quite a tumultuous phase of unforeseen challenges starting right from the extended peak season following the Chinese New Year to the recent Suez Canal blockage, and congestion across a number of ports. But be that as it may, leading logistics services providers like ECU Worldwide continue to tackle internal and external factors with ingenuity to keep cargo moving. Tim Tudor, CEO, ECU Worldwide, shares his thoughts.
How is ECU Worldwide powering through the current circumstances?
What has kept us going is our capability to adapt to changing business scenarios. As a result of strategies which enable us to be agile and flexible, we have been able to maintain business continuity. There will always be challenges, some that we can resolve and some beyond our control. Our approach has been to see these as opportunities to learn, innovate and reinvent.
Whether it is partnering with business associates and stakeholders, bringing in experts from within and outside the industry, enhancing and upgrading technology or working with leading consultants, taking the right step at the right time has kept us ahead.
What has been the key to delivering on your promise to customers?
Our biggest strength is the confidence of our customers. Over the years, as the global leader in LCL consolidation, we have built abiding business associations which have held us in good stead.
As a result of our relationships with key carriers and efficient coordination within teams, despite the disruptions and delays caused by various factors, we have been able to mitigate and minimize the impact to our customers’ global cargo shipments. Keeping the channels of communication open by proactively issuing regular updates, advisories and information and also being available to offer assistance has helped us understand on-ground feasibilities and respond fairly quickly.
Optimizing the potential of digital technology and building a robust IT infrastructure has proved to be a significant advantage. When some of our online systems had to be temporarily taken offline, our customers could continue booking shipments using our state-of-the-art platform ECU360, along with secure EDI/API integration.
Who would you credit for the synergies that have kept you going?
Most definitely our team members. Our customers’ trust in our services is to a large extent the result of the tremendous efforts taken by our teams around the world. Collaborating across time zones and geographical boundaries is not easy, especially owing to the diverse circumstances, rules and regulations everywhere. But our network today operates efficiently in more than 180 countries and customers benefit from the unique synergies we create by virtue of having a presence in both origin and destination countries for global cargo shipments.
Being committed to a common Vision, Mission and Values, customer centricity is a given for all our offices and teams. Offering customers accurate information and updates, going so far as to physically visit ports to troubleshoot problems, customizing solutions to specific requirements, supporting customers through COVID-19 and other tough situations are just some of the ways in which team ECU Worldwide has proved its mettle.
What does the future look like for the logistics sector?
A simple answer – DIGITAL. Across industries and sectors digital transformation is driving change at break-neck speeds. Keep pace or get left behind are the only options.
As the industry gets digitalized, systems will have to be streamlined and this will create the need for effective and secure information sharing across different platforms, often between multiple peers and entities in the industry. Working in an unorganized manner or in isolation is likely to become less viable and organized players could possibly explore more opportunities for business expansion.
What’s the next big thing at ECU Worldwide going to be?
Well, the future is already here. And we are ready for it with ECU360, the cornerstone of our digital play. We are all about making shipping an ‘on-demand’ experience, as convenient and swift as possible. And we truly believe that together, we can go farther. Our perspective of digitalization extends to the logistics ecosystem as a whole and our endeavors like API/EDI integration, white label solution and other offerings help improve efficiency and boost productivity even for our freight forwarding partners and customers.
Rather than focusing on a single next big thing, we are building resilience and capabilities across the organization so we can be unstoppable and continue creating logistics magic worldwide, no matter what the future brings on.