Torge Koehnke
Vice President of Latin America
DSV Air & Sea

Flat Hierarchy Enables Swift Decisions

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:53

In an industry characterized by varying products and fluctuating volumes, the automotive industry requires flexible, quality transport services, which logistics companies strive to provide, says Torge Koehnke, Vice President of Latin America for DSV Air & Sea. To widen its coverage of the supply chain, DSV Logistics has chosen to broaden its team, joining forces with carefully selected companies that can provide specially-designed services for each client in any country.

Its horizontal organization has permitted several efficient integrations of other companies, including ABX Logistics in 2008. “ABX Logistics was fully integrated within one year and we acquired some smaller entities such as SBS,” Koehnke says. “M&As follow instructions from our headquarters but the execution is done locally. We send our plan outlining synergies and the top directors approve it. But the managers handle direct contact with newly-added companies.”

DSV closed 2016 by successfully completing its merger with UTi Logistics and the Danish company’s Director General, Jens Bjørn Andersen, reported UTi’s operational deficit neutralized only five months after its integration. “DSV’s hierarchy is very flat and the fact that we are not as heavily organized as other competitors facilitates swift decisions,” says Koehnke.

The company’s DSV Solutions unit works with major automotive clients in the region, providing advantages under the IMMEX program. “The IMMEX program allows us to import under the supplying company’s name,” says Koehnke. Ford has spoken favorably of DSV, which delivered 800 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) containers from Europe and India for the OEM’s operations in Chihuahua and Irapuato, according to Martin Hernández, Operations Supervisor of the Ford Motor Account for DSV.

Like many logistics companies in Mexico, security — and organized crime, in particular — remains an issue. Koehnke says that thieves are more skilled now and companies are understandably concerned with the possibility of losing complete truckloads without a trace. Mexico City and the State of Mexico are highlighted as regions with high crime rates. The National Public Security System (SNSP) counted 1,000 assaults on cargo shipments between January and November 2016, specifically with vehicles on highways.

The number may be higher as crimes are not always reported, according to Yolanda Bernal, President of the Mexican Association of Vehicle Tracking and Protection (ANERPV). This also discourages all but the truly passionate to become truck drivers, says Koehnke, who highlights the need for more qualified drivers.

DSV Mexico combats this gray zone with a whistle-blower program that discourages bribe-taking and which is aimed at making corruption among the company’s staff almost impossible. “Our employees receive strict training when they join our team and our subcontractors are investigated before we begin operating with them,” says Koehnke. “Of course, this does not prevent attempted crime but we employ all the mechanisms we can to minimize it within DSV.”

The company’s efforts extend to its road transport units, which are installed with GPS, although technologically advanced methods can block tracking devices from transmitting a signal. Koehnke’s team offers workshops to inform companies on how to protect their cargo. The team also provides courses on international commerce terms (INCOTERM) for the logistics chain.

Th e I N COT E R M c o n c e p t s d e f i n e d by t h e International Chamber of Commerce dictate the role and responsibilities of buyers and sellers with respect to the delivery of tangible assets. Familiarizing clients with insurance policies and security measures supports the whole transport chain, so that all companies can react promptly to natural disasters, strikes and road accidents.

DSV has secured clients thanks to its individual service offering and the fact that it is easy to escalate any problem directly to a manager. “Different sectors expect us to offer tailor-made services and to provide an expert in their industry to support them,” says Koehnke.