CEVA Logistics Finds the Recipe for Success
In the fast-paced world of airfreight, the business is ever-changing and continually evolving. In this industry, businesses that fail to adapt can find themselves succumbing to the wheels of progress and be left in the dust. While change is never easy, those who have the desire to reinvent and adapt themselves to the current business climate stand to gain the most. For CEVA Logistics, this spark for change came swiftly just a few short years ago. With a new leader at the helm in Mr. Xavier Urbain, a transformation was underway that would alter the face of the company forever. A sense of entrepreneurial spirit was instilled within the company, igniting an inner fire that ultimately drove them to the success that they have achieved to date.
In this issue of AFL, we had the pleasure of speaking with two upper management at CEVA Logistics in Thailand, Mr. Jeff Cutmore, Vice President Freight Management Mekong; and Ms. Supavadee Suthussanachinda, General Manger – Airfreight, to get their views on the dynamic airfreight business, and the right moves CEVA Logistics made to position their business in a way to becoming one of the largest airfreight transportation providers in the world.
Changing for the Better
In the not so distant past, CEVA Logistics was given a company wide shake-up of how the operation was to be ran. Gone were the days of a top down structure, a leaner and more focused operation was to take its place. Risks had to be taken of course, but by strategically assessing these risks led to the smart moves that put CEVA Logistics ahead of the curve and back into the forefront of the airfreight transportation providers.
Ms. Suthussanachinda has been involved in the airfreight industry for over 25 years and experienced first-hand how the changes made to CEVA Logistics put both her and the company on a path to success. “The road map to success was set by a new executive board organizing ourselves into business lines, which has been a resounding success. We’re running globally on four business lines that then go straight into our geographical clusters, we don’t have regions or layers any longer. We’ve been empowered here and given the authority to make decisions. It’s real, we can feel the difference. We’ve got a direct line to the executive team, and meet up with our upper management team regularly. That’s the line of sight we have with our organization. We can focus on what’s most important and the flatter company structure allows us the ability to turnaround quicker for our customers and it makes us more responsive.”
This flatter structure has proven crucial to CEVA’s success, and has allowed them to make a profit even during a down market. The ability to react and make decisions quickly gives them the impeccable execution that has been a catalyst towards their success. The results prove getting rid of the unneeded admin has allowed them to allocate funds and people to facilitate customer interactions that lead to direct growth for the company.
Mr. Cutmore said, “I’ve felt the changes as well since we implemented our new operating model and moving from a regional structure to 17 geographical clusters. It all started with our CEO, Xavier Urbain. It’s his vision of how we will achieve success and we’re on the upswing and doing well under it. Investing into the right areas is giving us this kind of growth; the results have been obvious. The way we’ve transformed is by diversifying our core business as to not be too reliant on any one account. We of course still have large key accounts, but the diversification is helping to mitigate current and future risks, and allows us to grow our business even further.”
Airfreight by its nature is not very forgiving, so we must constantly be on the ball. I think a big success for us has been the ability to link the in-land trucking with the airfreight product.
Mr. Jeff Cutmore, Vice President Freight Management Mekong
As Mr. Cutmore explains, what CEVA has going for it is an airfreight pedigree. “We’ve always been a top competitor in terms of airfreight, and have a lot of experience and relationships built up with airlines. Our core carrier programs are mature, and we offer win/win global partnerships that are real and tangible. Airfreight by its nature is not very forgiving, so we must constantly be on the ball. I think a big success for us has been the ability to link the in-land trucking with the airfreight product. I think CEVA’s ground network is a big differentiator and gives us a competitive advantage.”
Ms. Suthussanachinda adds, “We urge our sales team to go out and meet with customers face-to-face whenever possible. It adds another element of personal touch to our service that you wouldn’t get over the phone or through email. We’ve invested heavily into our teams, and it’s a real key to our success. It’s a big investment in business development, but it’s worth it as they’ve got the knowledge and skill to sell airfreight.”
She continued, “We strategically partner with others in CEVA’s network, enabling us to leverage our combined strengths to better serve clients. This all goes back to the new CEVA, where each cluster has been empowered from the bottom up to drive business. Some freight forwarders might wait for the business to come to them through their internal network, but we’re different. We’re driven to go out and seek business not already in our network, and is a reason for our continued success.”
We urge our sales team to go out and meet with customers face-to-face whenever possible. It adds another element of personal touch to our service that you wouldn’t get over the phone or through email.
Ms. Supavadee Suthussanachinda, General Manger – Airfreight
Ms. Suthussanachinda sees the success the ground network CEVA has in regions like Turkey, Italy, UK, Australia, and through the Americas with an especially strong presence in both domestic and cross-border activities in Mexico, as a template for opportunity worth pursuing and duplicating in the ASEAN region. “The Thai market continues to get bigger and better, and the road feeder networks we’re building now in the region are set to take advantage of Thailand’s positioning. We’re already active in cross-border activities in Thailand and our ground network is quite strong. However, we’re already planning and building a ground network that’s better optimized. Replicating the success of already established CEVA networks, similar to the one in North America with their B2B and B2C service offerings and the widest network operating in that market, is the type of model we would like to emulate here. Breaking down the walls and expanding our service and network, even within our own business clusters is key as well. Communicating to find new products and routings optimizes our business. Cross-border consolidations are part of solutions in Europe and we’re starting to do the same in our region.”
While CEVA Logistics is currently flying high, to build upon their success they will need to stay flexible. So far, the new foundation they’ve laid for the company has allowed them to act on opportunities quickly, empowered their workforce, and enabled them to stay ahead of the curve. While speed is always important in the industry, being predicable and staying true to service commitments will help maintain their newfound successful formula.