Logistics Manager Analysis: EV Cargo ready to face challenges of digitisation and disruption
EV Cargo is targeting a future as a digital technology-based logistics service provider, and is using the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to reassess and evolve its ambitions.
In part two of his exclusive conversation with Logistics Manager (you can read part one: EV Cargo targets acquisitions, on-demand services in global growth bid) EV Cargo chief executive Heath Zarin discussed how the business tackled the initial impact of Covid-19, and how it will affect its strategy in the future.
“We believe we are in a reasonably strong position,” said Zarin. “We are based in Asia, so we had a very strong understanding of Covid-19 from the outset, and we have been preparing for what would be particularly significant disruption.
“We have a three-pillar approach where we focused on health and safety, business continuity and financial stability. We employ some 5,000 people in the UK and we take our responsibilities to provide a safe working environment very seriously. We mobilised very early to provide the right kind of PPE, making it easier for our colleagues to be safe.
“As a logistics business we have well prepared operational continuity plans. Across all of our operations we have not missed a beat despite unprecedented volumes. And we have withstood a prolonged period of business disruption.”
Despite the challenges 2020 has posed, Zarin said that he was “continually optimistic” about what the future holds, even if EV Cargo is planning for second waves or third waves.
“Covid is a challenging situation, and with the economy being what it is it is a tremendous time of change and uncertainty. Supply chain and logistics activities are changing faster than ever before and this is against a backdrop of very large risk, from disease to climate change, that needs to be taken very seriously. There will be financial stress and losses.
“Going forward it will be an expensive time to operate. But it has increased the intensity of sector trends, be it digitisation, e-commerce and market consolidation. We are calling this period the Great Reset, that is not my term, but it captures the time very accurately. It is a time to reassess and evolve organisations and it is just accelerating trends that were already underway”
EV Cargo is backed by EmergeVest, a Hong Kong-based international private equity investor, and since its formation in November 2018 – effectively combining the activity of six different businesses – Adjuno, Allport Cargo Services, CM Downton, Jigsaw, NFT and Palletforce – there has been speculation that it will seek an IPO.
“We are in a strong position as EV Cargo because of our private equity backers EmergeVest. We continue to have access to significant capital from the private market,” Zarin said. “We will evaluate the potential for a floatation in the future, as this will increase our access to different pools of investors and bring brand quality to EV Cargo.”
For now the priority is on creating a leading, global technology-based business.
“We have our digital strategy and that is something we are executing against currently,” he said. “Our digital strategy has multiple prongs. We want to make sure we are providing customers with a comprehensive customer experience and that they get access to all the information they need. There is a significant investment in that digital front-end.
“We have a programme to digitise where there are processes that can add the most value and capture more information. We are investing in AI through our Alliance Sense offering. We are using machine learning and we are taking actions to address that. Where there is multinational cross-border trade or e-commerce fulfilment there is significant potential. ”
EV Cargo is not just on a drive to digitise, it also wants to seek out the best talent in logistics and supply chain to bolster its business. “One thing we also want to add is more people,” Zarin said. “We want to attract the best people in the industry. We want to give people with opportunity to compete hard, have fun and be successful. We want people with entrepreneurial flair.”
For ways to overcome the fulfilment and distribution challenges in Covid-19 – register for the latest Logistics Manager webinar, sponsored by Autostore Systems, to discover how warehouse operations can react and thrive.
Hosted by Logistics Manager Editor Christopher Walton, speakers include James Smith, Managing Director at Autostore Systems, and Tom Rose, Head of International Operations at SPAR International.