How did the position at Ligentia come about? In 2014 Ligentia invested into its air division; this brought a 30,000sqft HM Customs approved ETSF warehouse at Heathrow and a formidable team with expertise in delivering rapid and cost effective solutions. Shortly after the re-launch of this business channel Ligentia approached me and presented the opportunity of being part of the air division which, of course, was appealing. For me, taking this role at Ligentia was about taking the next step in my career within a business that continues to grow and has adopted a new and exciting way of working in the freight industry. Being part of the senior team at Ligentia, helping to build a successful division and leading this part of the business has been and continues to be exciting and challenging for me. What is your strongest service offering within the group? Of course we excel in every service area – it’s essential to be able to provide a full end-to-end supply chain solution. Our independent, solutions led approach enables us to support the requirements of a broad range of operations facing a multitude of challenges. From the delivery of full, end-to-end solutions to a specialist support service to tackle particular market requirements we offer a diverse and progressive range of logistics services to many leading companies with operations across the globe. In particular we are proud of our ability to build long-lasting relationships with all of our customers, focusing on understanding their business and delivering a service that makes a real difference through driving down costs and improving efficiencies – creating real value! Our truly customer-centric approach allows us to build long-term partnerships and focus on our culture of being our customers’, ‘Trusted Partner’. What do you think you offer as a company that sets you apart from your competitors? This is something that I talk about regularly with my customers. The way we approach business is largely around creating tailored solutions specifically aligned to our customer’s requirements. Yes, freight is our core business but when we meet a potential new customer that’s the last topic we discuss! We really listen to our customers so that we understand how their business works and what their expectations are for the future. This means we can make suggestions and continuously build development plans to improve their supply chain operations. Our proven Supply Chain Review delivered by our Solutions Team, is an extensive process carried out for many of our larger customers who look for on-going improvements to their current operations which can offer a meaningful competitive edge. Furthermore our independence allows us to build solutions which are unbiased and our relationship with our business partners throughout the world, who operate as an extension of Ligentia, ensure we can quickly and effectively deliver new and innovative initiatives. How do the staff impact this and what does it mean for your company culture? As a business we strive to recruit, train and promote the best in the industry. Our staff are happy which means that our customers are happy. We have a highly professional, committed workforce across the whole business who care about the customer and take pride in the job they do. Our flat management structure allows us to make quick decisions and invest time and money in developing solutions and relationships with our customers. Our core values are respect, loyalty, teamwork, honesty and being customer-focused which embody our culture of trust and partnership. How do you measure customer satisfaction? We recently conducted our annual customer survey which helps to identify what our strengths are and where we might be able to improve our customer’s experience. 86% of respondents rated their experience as good or excellent and 96% would recommend us to a colleague which I think speaks volumes! Tell us about your SCM system. Our proprietary SCM system, Ligentix, is market leading. The system enables our customers to measure all aspects of the supply chain from product concept to final end customer delivery. As a cloud-based platform and in-house developed we are very agile when it comes to identifying areas of improvement and acting quickly to deliver further value for our customers. Ligentix works through exception management principles and gives customers a holistic view of what’s important to them, for example; orders, mode, shipments, value, products, lead times and landed cost. The system is viewed through customisable dashboards and reports. The types of users vary from customer to customer but in general the system is used by imports, warehouse planners, finance, buyers, merchandisers and suppliers. What is your biggest achievement? In my mid-twenties I decided I wanted to return to education but I didn’t want to stop doing the job I enjoyed. I attended college in the evenings, twice a week, and studied after work every night to complete a Business and Finance A-Level in a year. My commitment to the logistics industry and strong work ethic over the past two decades has ensured I have progressed to a position I can be proud of. I never stop, and my ambition will continue to drive me forward in further developing my role within Ligentia. How do you get the best out of your team? There are a number of ways we go about this with the underlying theme being recognition, support and personal development. We have a new recognition programme which helps to celebrate employee accomplishments and dedication. Alongside this we continue to develop our talent management programme where we provide training and mentoring to support new talent in the company. Lastly we often receive praise from customers which is circulated to both the individual and the team to thank them for their work. I believe it is important to remember that motivation doesn’t necessarily come from monetary rewards; acknowledgement and thanks is one of the biggest motivators. What’s the most important thing you are working on right now and how are you making it happen? We are just finalising a 4PL solution which covers a wide variety of areas including air, ocean, rail, road and warehousing. We have re-engineered their complete supply chain by reviewing their European network, routes to market (ocean to rail), speed to market, costs etc. We carried out a detailed analysis of their current operation and produced a three year project plan tailored to their needs. This will be announced in the coming weeks and we are all very excited. What is it about Airfreight that you find yourself particularly drawn to? I’ve been in the industry for many years and worked in most areas of the business. I find air the most exciting part of freight, I love the complexity of it as there are so many variables. It takes a creative thinker to look at ways of reducing costs for the customer, creating new routes to market and maximising revenue by having the right cargo mix which differs from origin to origin. As air is such a large expense to the customer, being innovative and finding ways to reduce costs is a large part of being successful. I enjoy the fast pace and the fact that air produces immediate revenue. How does it compare to other modes of freight and services when thinking about the customer journey? Generally the stock is either urgent or high value. Delivering on time and intact is paramount as a late delivery can cost the customer hundreds or thousands of pounds, whether it be a factory line stop, or to meet a new launch date. The customer needs the cargo as soon as possible so regular updates and a high level of communication is required. Most of the cargo we receive needs to be sorted either by PO, style or order and palletised or presented in DC ready format. As we handle most of the cargo through our ETSF customs-controlled facility at Heathrow we are able to easily provide these value-add services as part of the air service. You are working on some defence and mining projects at the moment, can you tell me more about that? My expertise lays in Mining and Defence. This is a rapid growth and focus area for Ligentia which incorporates all our core services. We have a wealth of experience in these sectors in the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. For me personally it’s interesting and exciting as we are faced with challenges such as pioneering new routes to market and handling time-critical freight to complicated destinations. Leveraging our expertise in these markets is part of our success which complements our core retail business. Can you give us an example of one of your defence customers? Ligentia are currently handling a defence contract where we move product to the UK MOD, Special Forces, Police forces and Armies throughout Europe, the Middle East and the UK. The cargo is manufactured in the USA and China and we are responsible for door-to-door movements. We handle the complex customs process and paperwork that is required for delivery as these products are high-value and have tight deadlines. Failure to meet a deadline creates a non-conformance, which has to be avoided at all costs. What about mining? With regards to mining, Ligentia handle a project for a well-known mining company into West Africa. We consolidate cargo in the USA and Europe and move the cargo by air and ocean DDP to the mining site. We have experienced operations staff handling the paperwork and customs formalities at origin and in-country. One of our tasks is to reduce the time taken for customs clearance at destination as this is where the delays generally occur, and ensure unnecessary duties are not incurred for products which are exempt from taxes. The cargo can be time and cost-critical as the mining could be suspended waiting for a new drill piece. With your expansion you are going to be looking for some new talent to join you, what’s your favourite part about working for Ligentia? It’s a place where one can make a difference and due to our size we can easily identify and develop individuals. We are a dynamic, growing business with stacks of opportunities for anyone who has the ambition to progress.