As the new CEO of ECU Worldwide, Tim Tudor has the onerous task of taking the global leader in NVOCC services to greater heights. A veteran of the logistics space, Mr Tudor shares his plans for the company, and the roadmap, growing inorganically and challenges for the sector.
Q After the regional role for nine years, what are your key goals as the CEO of the company?
A First is to leverage synergies between various businesses of the company. We have an opportunity to coordinate the various sales departments to achieve commonality of priorities. Aligning it with our corporate trade lane objectives, will empower us to deliver both more effectively and timely.
The second is to scale up our efficiencies. We have a fixed cost of running the business and every additional cubic metre added helps lower the cost per transaction across the board. So it is imperative for us to scale up our efficiencies.
Q After Rotterdam, there was the acquisition in Italy. How important is the mergers and acquisitions route for the growth of ECU Worldwide?
A ECU Worldwide has had a successful track record with acquisitions in various geographies including the US. Along with organic growth, the company is always on the lookout for new revenue streams and acquisitions. However, the potential acquisitions need to have the right synergy and an appropriate business model.
Q ECU is a world leader in LCL and there is an increased focus on Full Container Load (FCL). What is the potential for FCL as a product line and how is ECU planning to tap the opportunities in the segment?
A The FCL market is a very large market indeed and ECU Worldwide's share of it is very small currently. There is a significant growth opportunity for servicing the forwarding community with FCL.
There are many small forwarders who either cannot buy rates at competitive levels or who, for various reasons, have proved ineffective in dealing with multiple carriers and multiple contracts. Consequently, they have to partner companies such as ECU for their FCL procurement. The scope for growth is huge and we hope to expand more in this segment.
Q What are the challenges being faced by the logistics sector and ECU Worldwide?
A Pressure on margins will continue to remain the pre-eminent challenge for 2019 just as it has been for the past four years. Everyone has been talking about the pressure on margins for years now and we have succeeded in reducing its impact; incrementally. But if you compare margins today with what they were about four years ago, the impact has been dramatic. The pressure will continue and we don't see too much relief happening soon.
Q What efforts go into the hiring of the best personnel across the world and how critical is this for ECU Worldwide's growth plans?
A Hiring the right people for the right positions is critical for the growth of any organisation. At ECU, we have the luxury of having one of the best talent pools. We believe it's always good to have a talent mix of old and the new so that the company grows by leveraging the strengths of both to remain vibrant and strong.
Q Technology has been one area where ECU Worldwide has invested heavily, and emerged as a leader in the industry. Going forward, what are the plans on the technology front?
A Data and its usage are emerging as one of the biggest trends across the world. It can be leveraged along with machine learning, AI, and predictive technology, to develop innovative and efficient systems.
Driven by this philosophy, we have invested efforts to develop a completely integrated internal solution, called Topaz, which allows us to use the same data structures across the world. Having the same operating system around the world will allow us to create portals, make EDI connections easier, and create APIs that are quick to connect and easy to use. Our portal, ECU 360, is definitely a frontline cutting-edge portal that is customer-friendly and convenient.
We are confident that ECU Worldwide's investments in the technology space will not only bring rich dividends to the company but also enable it to offer better services to its customers.