These days there are many well-deserved messages of thanks going out to medical workers and hospital staff around the world in nations hard hit by COVID-19.
It is critical to also acknowledge the truck drivers, warehouse workers, and logistical staff who keep delivering food, medical supplies, medicine, and other essentials during these challenging times.
With Europe on the brink of recession as businesses struggle to keep going and healthcare systems are stretched to the hilt, the necessity for effective transportation channels and efficient supply chains is greater than ever before.
“During COVID-19, logistics plays a vital role in delivering the essentials to isolated communities,” says Martynas Sarapinas, CIO at Girteka Logistics, one of Europe’s largest trucking companies. “We have 14,000 dedicated truck drivers working relentlessly to keep supply chains going.”
Sarapinas is referring to the challenge of delivering perfection during the crisis.
“Truck drivers are in an exceptionally difficult situation,” Sarapinas says. “Like most people, they want to stay home safe with their families, but with closed borders across Europe, it’s impossible to say when they can make it home”
The company has always taken pride in caring for its employees and providing opportunities to educate and develop people. Girteka’s Drivers Academy not only teaches employees to drive safely and sustainably, it aims to make each driver a company ambassador.
Europe’s trucking industry is old-fashioned and highly fragmented. Over 90 percent of companies operate less than 10 trucks, while only one percent operate more than 50 trucks. In order to achieve its ambitious vision to become the first European company with 10,000 of its own trucks, Girteka Logistics has chosen to remain asset-heavy in a trucking world that functions mostly through third-party service providers.
The company’s 7,400 trucks and 7,800 trailers transport 730,000 full truckloads per year. By maintaining control of their assets, the company can greatly reduce complexity for customers. Instead of frantically tracing shipments through a myriad of different service providers and subcontractors, Girteka Logistics maintains full control over an order.
The other key element in the company’s long-term strategy for success is the implementation of a fully integrated, end-to-end transportation solution with SAP.
“Our customers expect us to deliver consistent quality at an acceptable price, and to do that, we need real-time visibility across the entire logistics value chain,” Sarapinas explains.
For Girteka Logistics, creating a solid digital foundation is tomorrow’s target. Digital technology is the foundation for everything the company does, from upskilling people to meeting customer expectations to becoming more sustainable. Having fully integrated and automated systems and processes will relieve the workforce of repetitive tasks and free them up to gain real-time control of operations.
Purpose Is the New Normal
While Girteka is clearly focused now on dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, its long-term focus on digital integration will help ensure that the company is well poised for success after the crisis. Other global challenges including climate change are not disappearing because of the pandemic.
“Our job during the crisis is to deliver essentials like food and medical supplies while making health and safety measures for our 18,000 colleagues our top priority,” says Sarapinas. “Our people have a new sense of purpose as they realize their work is essential for keeping supply chains up and running.”
In the meantime, Sarapinas is following some good advice from Winston Churchill to never waste a good crisis.
To achieve the company’s ambitious business goal and reshape a traditional industry, Girteka Logistics is moving ahead with plans to digitize its entire business to scale growth.
“We’re implementing an end-to-end digital solution to become a truly intelligent enterprise,” Sarapinas says. “After the crisis, businesses will be reevaluating their supply chains and business models. We don’t know exactly how companies will operate differently, but we do know we’ll have the digital foundation to meet any expectations customers may have tomorrow.”
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