Trond Prestroenning, Executive Vice President of Ocean Freight at DB Schenker spoke to Alessandra Barrett, the Senior Content Editor for JOC at the 2019 TPM conference.
Watch the interview to find out how a new generation of logistics professionals are demanding a change in the industry, from the way we have transparency of the end-to-end supply chain, to how quickly we get that data. How will the industry respond to this demand? Get insights into how technology is now being used, and what logistics could look like very soon.
Alessandra: I’m Alessandra Barrett, senior content editor for JOC. I’m at our 2019 TPM conference with Trond Prestroenning, executive vice president of ocean freight for DB Schenker. Great to see you again.
Trond: You too Alessandra. Thanks for having me back.
Alessandra: We have a new generation of logistics professionals. We have a changing culture of expectation when it comes to consumer demand and how quickly things get turned around and arrive on our doorstep, but also how much visibility we have into that package. How do you see that changing our industry on a more subtle level than what we’ve seen so far with just focus on lower pricing?
Trond: Definitely we see a change. Of course, there’s a lot of talk about technology, platform based, visibility and so on. I think the new generation as you’re talking about, which is, of course, a nice new addition coming into our industry – we need that – but they also have different expectations maybe than the older generation, if we can say that. And of course, that on-demand live tracking environment that you want to see, where their goods and stuff are – it’s natural. Today you go on Amazon, on any other platform, in New York or something, and you see the nicely attractive live data of when you will have it delivered. And I think the expectation from the industry, it’s certainly going to or is already at that point, and especially with that generation. I think the patience from the industry as a whole has been maybe stretched in terms of the old school, maybe tracking and tracing methods where it’s not maybe accurate, maybe it’s not live, maybe it’s old data, a few days old, “where is my container, is it here, is it in the port, is it cleared?” and so on. These days are over, right? So, so we really have to be sharp on this and really team up technology and really come up with technical solutions that really allows us to provide that, which is a natural evolution, I think.
Alessandra: Now we have the traditional forwarding model and we have software providers in here – sort of starting to come closer and closer. What’s the middle path that do you think is going to really stick?
Trond: I think it’s probably the most interesting arena that we’re looking at in our business or in our industry at the moment. I think we see from a pure software point of view, providers to maybe somebody like DB Schenker, which are obviously a large brick and mortar company that really have facilities and people everywhere in the world. I think the middle way, there is, of course, a happy marriage between the two. I think our industry is still old fashioned enough that we need people, to service the customers when things go wrong, when there are escalations when there is stuff happening in the supply chain that a platform solely cannot take care of. However, the technology, and I can only speak for a company like our size, technology of course we would need and maybe sometimes it’s also a good idea to team up with a provider like that rather than do everything in house, which has probably been, at least from the larger NVO’s, it’s been kind of the thing that we make our own platforms or solutions.
Trond: Now I think we need to look at what’s out there in technology that we can marry up with to offer a very comprehensive solution. In DB Schenker we are doing that. We’re talking to a lot of, what we can call, I won’t use the word ‘startup’, but certainly existing or upcoming platform providers, technology providers and try then to have those discussions, and potentially M&As maybe as well, to really see if there are some benefits there to combine ourselves. So, that’s really where I think it’s going to head. I don’t think we will see a fully automated forwarding world yet, nor the old-fashioned brick and mortar telephone, email type of style either.
Trond: There’s absolutely no going back now. Absolutely not. We are, from our point of view, from the DB Schenker point of view, we are launching our online platform at the moment. It is Connect 4.0 Ocean. It’s live right now in certain places of the world and it will be live here in the Americas as well in a matter of days. That’s our example, or let’s say that’s our effort, of teaming up – a lot of that is in house, but we also use outside help, to build a sustainable platform, with full visibility and no touch points from a customer’s point of view – other than the platform – to book your freight from A to Z. I’m very excited about it because I think it’s going to be a very good comprehensive addition to the traditional offering that we do in all aspects of freight forwarding. So, that’s really something that we’re proud of and we’ll be launching everywhere in the next days and weeks.
Alessandra: Thanks for joining me today.
Trond: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Alessandra: I’ve been speaking with Trond Prestroenning, executive vice president of ocean freight for DB Schenker.