a point of negotiation but it is a qualifier.
You either qualify and have standards that you have to
meet or you are not considered,” said Kuehner. “It also
depends on where in the world you are and where companies
are headquartered. Certain companies are more
environmentally sensitive than others but we see a trend in oil
and gas which is perhaps an interesting mirror of where the
automotive industry is going.
In oil and gas we have, over the years, been much more
stringent about health, safety and the environment. Just
recently, we have set up a service for a large, global oil and gas
player for spillage emergency response. Anywhere in the world
where there is a spill which has an impact on the environment
we have a crew ready in Houston, Texas to take the next flight
out to deal with the situation. There will be services - perhaps
not to this extreme, because the automotive industry does not
operate in such exotic places - that logistics companies can
offer and that will then be part of a negotiation.”
A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggested that
the supply chain industry suffers from low pay, low image and
a lack of career opportunity. Kuehner doesn’t agree.
We are just doing a bad job of promoting ourselves,” he
argued. “What can companies do about it? We went to
universities and colleges here in the US which offer supply
chain courses. Schools such as Syracuse, Georgia Tech and
Penn State. We went to their job fairs and explained to these
young, eager people what we do and what we can offer in
terms of a global career for internationally mobile people. We
set up a specific programme with 16 people we are now taking
through a management training course. These guys are
extremely excited about our industry but, until we met them at
those career fairs, they didn’t know what freight forwarders do.
I believe that we are seeing a huge up-grading of the
human capital in our industry and that we are looking at
things more from a supply chain point of view rather than an
isolated logistics, transportation, sourcing, purchasing or
manufacturing perspective. I am hopeful that supply chain
management as a discipline will keep this momentum.”