Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ceva Logistics Boss Speaks Out on Global Freight Industry at US 3PL Shipping Event

CEO Schlanger Shares his View of a Business which is New to Him
Shipping News Feature

US - WORLDWIDE - Anyone checking out Marvin O Schlanger’s career will note that shipping freight is not something which features heavily amongst his past employments. Last October however, Schlanger took over the reins of Ceva Logistics from former CEO John Pattullo, and last week found himself being questioned on stage at the 11th annual eyefortransport 3PL Summit in Chicago, and found himself being asked to comment on, what is for him, a new sector of industry.

Schlanger admitted his surprise at the breadth and depth of supply chain industry activities Ceva, and other 3PL suppliers, need to provide to successfully support customers. He admitted surprise at the personal nature of the business and said he felt that this was an important feature of the industry necessitating his own constant personal face to face involvement with Ceva’s clients. Schlanger has met with forty of Ceva’s top customers in the few months since he took charge.

The Ceva boss admitted disappointment that some suppliers simply didn’t value what their supply chain provider was offering by way of organisation and approach in order to maximise their own effectiveness. He continued:

"The real value comes from the customer and supplier working together to optimise the end-to-end design of a supply chain. Ceva has created a consulting practice to address this need and we are now delivering this value. Our Supply Chain Solutions offering is giving clients more visibility to their product movements. These are two examples of how we will continue to focus on operational excellence for our customers."

Schlanger also expressed his view as to the current and future states of the European, Asian and American markets, and expressed the company’s intention to continue to grow the business on an international scale. Acknowledging that the economic landscape was considerably at variance to that envisioned in 2007-2010 he continued:

“Europe continues to suffer, particularly in the southern region. Growth in Asia, while positive, is nowhere near as high as hoped and forecasted. There is growth in the U.S. but not robustly across the board. Our customers are under enormous press in terms of where there growth will come from, the legacy businesses that compose Ceva have a substantial portion of our revenue originating from southern Europe, and our approach is multi-fold. First, we have to right-size our cost structure. We started that in the fourth quarter in 2012, with a cost reduction programme, which is one of many announced and implemented throughout the industry.

“We opened our ‘City of Pharma’ in Stradella, Italy, enabling Ceva to reach more than 13,500 pharmacies, hospitals and other locations. This investment builds on our success in the ‘City of Books’ that now handles more than half the books read in Italy each year. Our sights are firmly set on the future and we are focused on growing the business. We have recently announced a number of investments and contracts that will stand us in good stead in the future. For example, we announced a cloud computing deal with IBM, reinforcing how we are investing in our IT infrastructure.

“Overall, though, I am optimistic about the future. We are witnessing today a watershed event in the global energy picture, with the development of natural gas and oil properties in the U.S. through fracking, which will provide low-cost natural gas and low-cost liquid fuel (LNG and crude oil) which can fuel a manufacturing revolution in the U.S. We are seeing it already in certain segments with the amount of investments in domestic chemical industry as people in that industry believe that low cost energy will refuel their growth and competitiveness on a global basis.

“When the American consumer starts buying, he has the ability lift the world up and creates demand for goods in various locations like cars from Germany or consumables from Asia. We have also opened our first Centre of Logistics Excellence in Jacksonville, Florida, where we demonstrate our full range of capabilities to our customers in a real operating environment. Our global footprint is an asset for Ceva and for our customers. Our solutions design capabilities are unsurpassed and our new offerings are finding traction in the marketplace. Ceva is well positioned for success in the supply chain industry and we are grateful to our customers for their business and we intend to invest more in driving value for them.”