With more than a century of experience, Damco has successfully become one of the world’s leading providers of international freight forwarding and supply chain management services. No matter where customers are located, Damco can provide transportation and logistics solutions that support how any specific firm chooses to do business.
Key markets and strategic planning
According to Managing Director Marco Civardi, Damco Vietnam & Cambodia (Damco) has strategic plans in the works for each of its key markets. This includes an ongoing, intense development plan with key trading partners such as the United States, Japan, China and Europe, whereby the aim is to grow air freight and ocean freight volumes at a much faster pace than the pace of local market in Vietnam. It already occurred a substantial increase in volumes particularly in the USA trade-lane with a focus on the west and east coast, more specifically Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Given the current company exposure on fashion and retail clientele, the possible upsides from TPP agreement can definitely boost further Damco’s market penetration on this trade-lane.
In Europe, Damco’s main trading partners are Germany, the United Kingdom and Benelux, the main mission being to capitalize further on the backdrop of the possible FTA agreement.
The International Graduate program
Damco’s International Graduate Program (DIGP) takes approximately two years and is used as a flagship entry level course. During this period, applicants become more familiar with on-the-job learning techniques and gain exposure to different company’s functions. Besides attracting ambitious and talented individuals, this program helps Damco to develop international logistics professionals who are driven, collaborative, and who will ultimately support the company’s growth.
The DIGP is a unique selling point that contributes to differentiate Damco from other peers in the industry.
“The International Graduate program is a key training program for us,” said Mr. Civardi. “For Damco, talent management is an absolute must-win battle,” he confirmed, explaining that, “We put a lot of focus on promoting from within and on creating opportunities for our people. Ensuring senior management focus on the process to identify and nurture our many local talents is of vital importance for the short-term success and long-term sustainability of the organization.”
Maintaining a healthy relationship with Stakeholders
Damco is known for mainly collaborating with two-tier firms such as suppliers and customers. A considerable portion of the company’s customers are vendors or shippers who export substantial volumes of goods mainly to Europe and the United States. In an effort to foster good working relationships, Damco systematically runs vendor workshops for these global customers whereby all vendors are put together in the same room and various requests are discussed, including specific aspects in which Damco can help to increase performance for deliveries. These workshops have been put in place to help ensure that the customer’s voice is completely heard and addressed with vendors. Pragmatically speaking, the shipper’s satisfaction (measured by the SSS, or Shipper Satisfaction Survey) is determined and feedback is given to help create a culture of continuous improvement.
“Proactive vendor interaction is the key and we make sure that we are acting in a very collaborative way,” Mr. Civardi said.
To further enhance the relationship with local trucking companies and other local suppliers, a day has been organized during which selected trucking companies receive a refresher course on Damco policies and procedures and corporate values.
“When it comes to building a relationship with trucking companies, it’s very important to consider it as a partnership,” Mr. Civardi said.
In relation to the approach toward local clientele, Damco has a dedicated and professional management system whereby sales staff specializes in specific industrial sectors or trade-lanes.
“We have a very tailor-made approach,” said Mr. Civardi “It’s vital that when a Damco sales representative interacts with a customer, he/she is familiar with customer’s product, its industry dynamics and relevant aspects of the particular trade-lane.”
Damco Vietnam and Cambodia’s technological advancements in the industry
In order to stay ahead of the game, Damco has employed technological advancements such as “myDamco,” is a system that is used to keep track of orders from clients. The system is a service offering that allows for the maximum degree of visibility, as it can successfully drive online booking, online shipping documents (e.g. commercial invoices, packing lists, forwarder cargo receipts, etc.) and online communication. In addition, the company utilizes Dynamic Flow Control, which automates planning and execution of the customer supply chain.
Technological advancements such as “myDamco” help Damco stand apart from its peers. “The system is very user-friendly as well as much more advanced than the traditional e-book or e-SER type of interaction with vendors and clients,” said Mr. Civardi.
Mr. Civardi believes that due to the constant focus on continuous improvement, Damco can perform better year-over-year by leveraging its lean set-up and exposure to high growth industries such as fashion, retail and technology, to name a few. In general, supply chain management tools are designed to be the best possible fit for Damco’s customers. “Everything we do is driven by the customer’s voice always being the centre of our attention,” Mr. Civardi added.
What the future holds
The future looks very prosperous for Damco. The company has a five-year development plan that will expand into areas of air, ocean and domestic services including VAS (value-added services) and contract logistics in order to increase its market share and overall volume of services.
“Damco in 2020 will be a firm even more lean and balanced than today, as we aim to have equal weight in air and ocean business as we have in supply chain management products today. To progress on this route, VAS and contract logistics are key domestic products which will help to enable our strategy of serving customers from an end-to-end perspective,” said Mr. Civardi. So far, the company is managing this goal quite well.
“It’s very important for us to cross-sell air and ocean services to our supply chain management clientele. Having already proven ourselves capable of managing complex supply chain requirements—and having earned solid trust based on these capabilities—we have fortunately witnessed rapid growth with our supply chain management product and volumes; therefore, we have more than one reason to believe that our future looks bright,” Mr. Civardi said.
The overall need to diversify with more intense focus on air and ocean is two-fold:
“Damco has historically maintained a unique selling point based on our exceptional people and our innovative supply chain management products. Looking forward, we are convinced we have what it takes to reach the same level of excellence in air and ocean, as these businesses are complementary in nature to our supply chain management clientele who are constantly seeking ways to engage us from an end-to-end perspective—and based on the significant progresses occurred lately, we’re well on track!” he added.
Looking forward, by expanding into these emerging markets, Damco expects to have a larger share of the import business and to target growth from the technology industry and other sectors, including manufacturing. Many of the firms selected for growth are in Vietnam, the location selection being primarily due to the still substantial labor costs arbitrage compared to. China. In an effort to predict key trends for supply chains in general, Mr. Civardi believes that there will be even more focus on emerging markets as key growth propellers, and that China will continue to play a very important role in the region.