Pablo Toledo tuvo la oportunidad de conversar con Josue Alzamora, Global Head of Lifestyle vertical de A.P.MOLLER – MAERSK, quien desde sus oficinas globales basado en Dinamarca, participó exitosamente en el principal evento del retail y de consumo masivo realizado en Latinoamérica los días 1, 2 y 3 de Diciembre organizado por el medio digital America-Retail.com
Which are the retail and fashion customer needs that Maersk is looking to fulfill with its digital solutions?
Our digital solutions speak especially to the need of harnessing growing complexity within the Retail and Fashion supply chain landscapes. For example; some of our digital solutions give broader Purchase Order and SKU data-visibility and in general provide companies a greater ability to be Efficient, Flexible, and On-Time to market. A more concise example of what our digital solutions address within Retail and Fashion supply chains are tools to deal with “exception management” [in retail and fashion supply chains, exceptions can be a smaller portion of the volume in a supply chain but still take a great amount of time e.g. 20/80 volume = 80/20 effort].
How is the company changing its approach to logistics from asset management to customer centricity to build a long-term relationship with customers?
Maersk has always believed in long standing partnerships, which we have had with many Retail and Fashion customers for decades built around supply chain and transport services. Our strategy and transformation as a company is deeply rooted in our commitment to add more value to businesses and supply chains. This involves a further integration across the value chain between logistics and transport services, that in the past might have not been directly interconnected. Some of these services are asset-heavy and some are asset-light in nature, whilst Maersk’s focus remains on adding maximum value to customers. As part of that journey, we are making some acquisitions to enhance or add capabilities where we consider it will bring greater ‘integrator value’ to our customers.
Is there a need to change the way we perceive the logistic industry, since for more than 100 years we have only listened to shipping and trade from a traditional point of view?
The simple answer might be ‘yes’, although it is fair to say that many of our Retail and Fashion customers do not hold a rigid perception or are in any way constrained by how the industry may have been running in past decades. Instead, there is a forward focus on what brings real value to their business with emphasis on questions such as ‘how to ensure that supply chains (end-to-end) are imbedded in how the business runs?’, and ‘how to make sure that the supply chain in itself contributes to the growth/expansion of the business?’.
What is the value proposition from Maersk when it comes to Sustainability and how important is it for customers?
Maersk has an ambitious sustainability agenda to become carbon neutral by 2050. One fourth of our top 200 customers are leading the zero-carbon transition by setting emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative and many others have ambitious goals to reduce their footprint. Customers that are at the forefront of the ‘supply chain sustainability agenda’ engage actively with us in discussions that involve initiatives to decrease emissions. One example is “ECO Delivery shipping” using sustainable biofuel instead of conventional fuel to provide immediate carbon reductions to our customers.
How has the eCommerce boom impacted Maersk when it comes to business and logistic/delivery capabilities? AI?
Maersk has certainly contributed to supporting online sales channels for large Retail and Fashion brands as international supply chains are naturally part of the journey into those sales channels. We also have a formal e-Commerce offering and capabilities in certain geographies. We have been deploying technologies to simplify, one example is those aimed at process automation as we have data interlinks with many of our customers (EDI, API) across services. Another example is where we have automated guided vehicles to support warehouse operations.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business and the organization being supply chain a strategic player in global trade?
The pandemic has meant a very dynamic supply chain situation with, for example, volume fluctuations that have not been uniform across industries. Customers have had diverse supply chain needs throughout the pandemic and Maersk has maintained a value-adding approach to ensure we provide solutions that address specific challenges from each customer. For Retail and Fashion companies, where we act as lead logistics provider (supply chain manager), we have had a greater ability to add value and help respond to these fluctuations based on our systems and data-management, also leaning on our vast footprint of experienced personnel, origin warehouses, and in general – supply chain management from factories (across multiple locations) all the way to destination markets.
Maersk has bet intensively in end-to-end integrated ocean & logistics offering to its customers, beyond the traditional port-to-port model. By the end of this year, the freight forwarder Damco will cease to exist as a brand name, and all its services will go on under Maersk. The aim is to be al close and flexible to the customer base. How that may intersect with B2C e-commerce? The B2B angle is obvious, but is there any practical consequence of such strategic moves for individuals?
The freight forwarding services that we incorporated under the Maersk brand further enhance our ability to integrate and simplify supply chains with Airfreight and Less than Container Load (LCL) under the same umbrella. We already have many Retail and Fashion companies for whom we have provided these services for many years. Now we have a greater ability in integrating these into seamless end-to-end journeys. For decades, we have also operated B2C fulfillment and distribution services globally, and we will continue to build on capabilities as it will help to expand our value-adding coverage of customer needs.
Is part of your growth plan to establish fulfillment centers at given locations around the world?
Maersk has a vast warehousing footprint globally including origin warehousing (e.g.; factory to warehouse), mid-way hubs in strategic locations (e.g. Malaysia, Panama), as well as destination warehousing. Many of our Retail and Fashion customers use these services that very often link to other solutions we provide within their value chains. Our strategy and agenda is then to accelerate our expansion into destinations, once again, very much linked to adding “integrated value” to customers globally. One example of this is the acquisition of the warehousing company Performance Team (https://www.performanceteam.net/news-media/) which strengthened the footprint capabilities we already had in North America.
How would you compare what Amazon, Ali Express or in this part of the world Mercado Libre are doing as marketplaces with your vision? Could Maersk become a player in those arenas?
We do not necessarily see a direct comparison between Maersk’s vision and that of the marketplaces, but we do see some clear intersections where Maersk adds value to the e-tailers’ strategies, for which we provide a mix of logistics and transport solutions that span across; airfreight, ocean shipping, inland services, warehousing, and supply chain management. As such, Maersk is keen to continue partnering with marketplaces and increasingly contribute to these value chains in the future.
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