Executive Insights is a series by Shipping and Freight Resource that provides ongoing insights and thoughtful analysis..
This series features selected individuals from the industry and is aimed at enriching the knowledge of the readers with what is happening in the shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, and supply chain industry..
Executive Insights also gives you a chance to pick the brains of these industry veterans, leaders, and enablers..
In this edition of Executive Insights, we caught up with Steve Kranig, Director of Logistics IM-EX Global Inc., about navigating supply chain complexities..
SFR : Can you give a brief intro into how you came into the industry and was there any motivating factor..??
SK : When I first started at DeLong’s we operated a few small facilities, and a big focus was on food-grade products internationally.
We would process them to specifications of the customers and then ship out via ocean container. Today we have many locations throughout the United States and supply the world with many different products.
I was very fortunate enough to be a part of this growth and helped with ideas to keep us as one of the leaders in our industry. The motivation came from the leadership that helped shape my career.
I felt the best way I could repay them was to put those tools to work and continue to strive towards success.
SFR : What does it mean to you to be a good leader and how do you ensure longevity of the DeLong company..?? How does company culture contribute to this..??
SK : I think we are very fortunate enough to be in the industry we are in. Our leadership at DeLong’s is very empowering to allow managers to make decisions that could pay off.
Part of our company culture is to mentor employees with our own experiences. It also allows them to try new ideas and learn from those outcomes. We have definitely made some changes to keep everyone productive while working remotely and not miss an opportunity if it arises.
For the employees still working in our facilities safety has been modified to ensure everyone is and feels safe at work. We have also considered different markets not only to sell into but also to originate our products.
SFR : How should logistics service providers or customers handle market movements caused by man-made issues like tariff or trade wars etc. – it is on now, it is off now.. How should customers manage their flow..??
SK : I think it comes down to each individual business and what they require. It is important to be cautious and make small adjustments and see how they work within your organization.
If companies can’t get their products from another location, then they will have to adjust pricing to accommodate the added costs. Unfortunately, this happens so fast and those initial cost increases need to be absorbed until margins can compensate for the new structure.
If your products or materials can be found in another market, then you need to look into your landed cost from those markets. You will also need to consider new lead times and quality and determine if it is right for you. When this has happened we try to work with our customers to help them in any way possible.
We offer anything from financial assistance to looking at all options for shipping for them so they can make the best decision for their business.
SFR : What are some of your tips to adapt to the current challenges in supply chain..??
SK : When doing business internationally adaptability is your biggest asset. Forecasting rates for future shipments should be thoroughly analyzed because you can’t take historical data and compare to the market of today.
It is also good to recognise the differences in every culture and country. Each region has a different way of doing things, and this takes some getting used to.
Stay informed on any regulations they have to follow so you don’t create any unwanted problems for either side.
Empathy works well in these scenarios. Try to understand your customer’s business and work with them as a team so you can both be successful. If companies collaborate and work together, they can find ways to get through tough times like the present situation we are faced with.
SFR : How much does tech help in solving these challenges and what are some of the main features you look for in a software..??
SK : When it comes to technology it can be a great tool on many levels. It can help your inventory control and also assist in your forecasting demand based on location.
If you can speed up processes that happen on a regular basis and the systems can be automated, then you will save on human capital. This may free up time for individuals to tackle other projects within your organization.
This all comes at a cost that you have to look at your ROI versus what you are currently doing today.
You also have to consider if there are any secondary problems that could occur from the investment. Automation may work in your organization, but not in your customer’s.
SFR : You have been with DeLong Inc. for over 20 years now.. It is quite rare to see this kind of loyalty and commitment these days.. Do you have some tips for some of the newcomers to the industry in terms of this..??
SK : I would tell younger generations to be more patient and open-minded in whatever career path they choose.
I also think choosing an organization that invests in you will be a clear sign that they care.
Network in some form with every person you come in contact with. Create your own image and culture with people.
Set aside time for people, really get to know them on a personal level and create long-lasting relationships.
Invest in yourself, read materials about your industry, continue to learn and stay humble.
The more you know the more your worth. I also would not recommend jumping to new companies all the time.
I know you can gain different experiences by doing so, but most employers do not want to keep hiring people and would get more value out of people they can mentor into their business.
About Steve Kranig
Steve is the Director of Logistics for IM-EX Global Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The DeLong Company Inc. We handle all modes of transportation domestically and internationally.
We offer many ideas and solutions to shippers for overweight, out of gauge, and legal weight shipping. No matter if it is a full container, partial container, truckload, or air freight we are here to help.
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