When Bjorn Vang Jensen, Vice President of Global Logistics at the Electrolux Group, a key client of Maersk Line, gave a ‘town hall’ style speech to an auditorium of Maersk employees at the Esplanaden offices in Copenhagen, one woman in my row described it as “an electric shock”.
Maersk Line has a strong focus on regaining the trust of its customers and building its license to sell and grow - Vang Jansen was invited to speak and share his views on this. He talked to the Commercial organisation on the “good, the bad and the ugly” of his experiences as a customer of Maersk Line, and about where he could see opportunities for the shipping company to do a better job.
The Electrolux Group is a Swedish company with 47 factories and 150 offices spread across all continents. The company is a global leader in kitchen appliances with an estimated 1.2 billion people using Electrolux products worldwide. When the approved takeover of Hamburg Sud goes ahead, Maersk will be responsible for over 50% of their logistics.
Focus on sustainability
Only the sound of scribbled note taking could be heard as Vang Jensen gave a comprehensive range of varied feedback. He particularly praises Maersk Line’s focus on sustainability, stating:
“You are totally focused on sustainability and this is one of the areas where we really connect with you. We live and breathe it. We don’t do anything in our company unless we can prove that there is a sustainability element to it. You must never lose that focus - it’s becoming a much bigger focus for a lot of Beneficiary Cargo Owners (BCOs) and will only grow in importance.
“On a “scorecard”, Maersk Line gets five stars for having a strong focus on sustainability and mutual growth. An area where Vang Jensen’s scorecard suggests there is room for improvement is on “the presence of competent, accessible, highly responsive and reasonably empowered Key Client Managers”. He gave the shipping company three stars here, advising that Key Client Managers be given further empowerment:
“We have an awesome key account manager, but there is standing joke in the BCO community that you can predict the response to any email you send to Maersk - i.e. “checking and reverting”. It was the same when I worked there in 1986. There are other carriers out there who have very empowered key client managers, so you might want to consider, within reason, empowering your key client managers further so that they too can make snap decisions,” says Vang Jensen.
We need to take responsibility
Maersk Line Chief Commercial Officer, Vincent Clerc, challenges the organisation to “make snappy decisions and give things a try”. While he acknowledges the organisation’s hard work, he claims there is still much to be done and that taking the reins to of the company requires “winning at the micro level on a day-to-day basis, which is just as important as winning big.”