Fergal Keenan MD of Cargo Partner a complete logistics organisation is looking to put his company firmly on the map.
- What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
My main goals in my role as Managing Director of cargo-partner in Ireland are to grow and develop business in Ireland and to link our organization in Ireland with the cargo-partner organization globally to support our business with innovative logistics solutions.
- What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge in Ireland in the foundation of our organization is to achieve brand recognition for our company, to get cargo-partner on the map. Ireland is a mature, well-established market in logistics. Getting the trust of decision-makers that we are here for the long term is paramount to success.
- How do you keep your team/staff motivated?
We motivate our staff by being different from others. We have a very open approach to business with transparency for our staff, meaning that they see the success and growth of the company and get the rewards of their efforts.
- What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
Our industry is ever changing and digitalisation is drastically transforming the way we are doing business. If you are not on this wave, it will start to impact business opportunities. With our supply chain management platform SPOT, we offer a unique system with a range of tools to help businesses with their everyday logistics challenges. Within this platform, we have also recently defined a specific customs process for Ireland in relation to Brexit to further assist our clients in the market.
- What new trends are emerging in your industry?
Part of digitization is also how finance will be done in the future. With Blockchain technology coming to the forefront of finance processes, customers are placing higher demands on their service providers. Our ability to offer ‘Purchase Order to Parcel’ service is a big advantage in this regard. What this means is that, in addition to our core services air and sea freight – and now road transport as well – we can handle the entire transport chain for our customers, starting from purchase order management and up to parcel distribution. With our SPOT platform, we can adapt quickly and flexibly to our customer’s demands and provide total transparency along the way.
- Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?
Our industry closely follows the needs of the trade. In Ireland I do not see the need for any major changes. However, I believe that our industry will be challenged by Brexit on a general scale. Dynamic changes like this also tend to open up potentials for new, positive developments.
- Are you finding any skills gaps in the market?
With the current Brexit scenarios, I believe that everyone is recognizing that the knowledge of customs processes needs to be improved. cargo-partner has already arranged customs training for staff, but it is also great to see that the authorities here in Ireland are proactive and offering financial support to help businesses increase their knowledge as the Brexit deadline comes closer.
- How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis?
During the last crisis we did not have an operation in Ireland, but I was in charge of our organization in the United States. Like everyone else during such times, you have to first look at yourself to see what you could do. Our company’s management leads by example in a top-down fashion. When you grow in a company that globally has over 3,000 employees in 30 countries, you realize that your strength is in your people, they are your best assets and this is where our focus is.
- How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?
I believe that Brexit has impacted everyone, not only in business. Everyone is exposed to the constant news streams we have on this topic. We have felt some effects and put a lot of effort into preparation for Brexit and specifically the potential for a ‘no deal’ scenario. If Brexit comes, it will impact different business sectors very differently. In logistics it is opening up opportunities for the use of our technology, but at some risk. For others it is very black and white – there may be major disruptions to supply chains and increased costs that some companies will not be able to absorb. This may lead to people withdrawing from one or the other market. The government in Ireland has been very proactive over the last years in pushing market diversification for those at highest risk from Brexit. This should help minimize the impact, but in the end, there will be some impact felt across many sectors.
- How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
Personally, I believe you are successful when you are growing as a person. This can mean different things to different people, which is reflected in everyone’s unique personality. As for what drives me, I have always led by example and would never ask someone to do something I am not willing to do myself. I get satisfaction and feel success when I see development in other people in line with the growth of our business.
- What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
Do not let success change you, since what you do has gotten you to where you are. And: Never ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself.
- What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
I think the highlight has been the overall growth of the company. In Ireland we remain small but strong and flexible. A further highlight is the development of our staff and our new products from Purchase Order to Parcel, supporting business from Ireland in many parts of the globe. As we head into our second full year in Ireland, we will continue with our plan of organic growth and our strategy of ‘doing the right things with the right people’.
- What’s next for your company?
We will continue to complete the setup of our service portfolio in Ireland. We have traditionally created our offerings by client demand and will continue to do so. In 2019 we will go live with expanded road transport offerings, the Parcel module of our SPOT platform is completed and we are setting up logistics and distribution hubs in Hong Kong, the United States and mainland Europe for clients based in Ireland.
- What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2019?
I believe that Ireland punches well above its weight on the global scale and I believe that Brexit will create opportunities for certain business sectors. However, I also think the fact that many businesses in Ireland have been looking beyond the UK to farther reaching points will lead to more opportunities for growth.
- Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?
I would like the cargo-partner brand to be recognized in Ireland as a market leader in our business sector. With the focus on staff and service and the expansion of our product portfolio, I believe we will experience significant growth in the market while keeping our principles of organic growth by client demand.