Today was the first day of the Cool Logistics 2020 conference which was to take place on the SS Rotterdam but instead was an online presentation in which speakers and attendees from around the world attended.
Rachael White, Managing Director, Cool Logistics opened the event saying that the theme - Imagine, Transform and Rebuild which was decided upon before the COVID pandemic was even more relevant now. She asked the question – What can shippers expect in this new world, and what do they have to look forward to?
Steve Cameron, Director at Cameron Marine is moderating the conference. He said that these days the industry is less segmented than it used to be and asked how often do we find ourselves dealing with people who don’t know the business but have a big influence on our bottom line?
Radu Palamariu, Managing Director Asia Pacific Chief Energy Officer, Alcott Global said that COVID had accelerated the digital transformation of the industry with many people working from home. He does not see us going back to working in the office fulltime, there will be less expensive city centre offices and more out sourcing, possibly from other countries and automation of the whole cold chain will increase. Recruiters will be looking for people who are trained end-to-end and people who can adapt quickly to change.
Marc Rooms, Global Pharma & Reefer Training Manager, Kuehne + Nagel spoke about the importance of training within companies, especially now. He gave an overview of recent training sessions at K&N.
They were already doing live training sessions in 2020 until the pandemic meant that live training was off limits, and sessions had to be rewritten for zoom sessions reaching 300 people.
“Reaching people is easier but there is less rapport and it’s difficult to access if it is working. I find small groups work better.
“We also have questions from clients, so we have expanded our training to include client’s education. Different clients need different angles.”
Alan Robertson, Director, Webster Robertson said that it Is not an easy industry to recruit to. “You can face organisational resistance, how will an individual fit inside a company? This is a semi wartime situation looking for people who are driven by challenge.
“My computer says no but I m doing it anyway! This is an important skill needed to get through this period, principle questions are: How do we get out of where we are today? Do we need to support people working remotely with more information? Do we really need an office?
“How are people in the cold chain motivated and how do we go forward? People are no longer physically in place and this puts more pressure on managing the chain, so we have to reinvent processes and different skill sets are needed now which creates uncertainty in existing teams.
“COVID is a huge disruptor but will make us look at what we will do in the future and reach out to people we would never have looked at before. Relationships between growers, shippers and retailers are even more important so that we all know what is going on with each other’s worlds.”