Name: Martijn Tasma
Job Title: Director Global Forwarding, Samskip Logistics

Plans to grow and transform Samskip’s global logistics forwarding operations are quickly emerging, following the appointment of new Logistics Director Martijn Tasma

Newly-appointed Samskip Logistics Director Global Forwarding Martijn Tasma has ambitious plans for a part of the transportation and logistics group’s business which has only relatively recently been identified as an area for aggressive growth. 

The executive opportunity has arisen with immaculate timing for a logistics professional with significant international experience in change management and the mandate to build and transform Samskip’s freight forwarding operation worldwide.

“It’s a global and strategic role, but it’s also one where I will be in constant contact with the way value-added services, customs brokerage, warehousing, distribution, LLP activities, etc. are applied day to day,” says the career supply chain specialist.

Supply value chain

Tasma joined Samskip from Geodis where, as Director Global Control Tower, he led a team empowered to monitor, analyse, manage and improve key performance metrics across the freight forwarding value chain. His 12 years at Geodis also included roles in account management for big hitters such as Amazon and Apple, product development, global tender management, and a spell as Sales Director for India. With a Masters in European Master Logistics & Transport from Tilburg University, he also draws on five years of account management experience with Maersk, where he completed the MISE traineeship.

Weeks after his appointment at Samskip, Tasma says he is identifying patterns and challenges facing the Samskip freight forwarding business and shaping the solutions that will bring change.

“As a group, Samskip is a carrier, a logistics company and a freight forwarder and so needs to take care not to move in different directions simultaneously. As the executive responsible for forwarding, I need to contribute unity of purpose to one part of the business that is compatible with group objectives.”

Digital fast track

Fast-tracking digitalisation is a priority, he says, in a business where an online booking platform for freight as “now not an order winner but a qualifier for winning orders”. As a group, Samskip, is going through a transformation process, adding high technologized services to make the supply line process more transparent, easier to use and cost efficient.

Tasma brings vast experience in managing the changes in processes and business tools that deliver efficiency and better responsiveness to customers, such as the global roll-out of a new online customer approach and Customer Service Accounts system across 30 countries, including quotations, pricing setup, booking portal.

“Freight forwarding is as much about data management and providing customers with information on the status of their shipments as it is about managing physical assets,” he says. “In the digital space, that means forwarders need to lead the way towards always-on supply chain management and offer data analytics in real time and the automated processes that reduce costs.”

Retailers and FMCG companies increasingly use predictive analytics and share data across functions inside and outside their organizations to overcome supply chain challenges but ‘key performance metrics’ need not be shrouded in mystique, he observes. “If there is usually a typhoon in week 35, it is worth factoring it into plans for week 33, for example.”

The freighting Uber

If digitalisation is the method, specialised knowledge and services such as customs brokerage underpin the value of the freight forwarder as the one stop shop, or “freighting Uber” as Tasma puts it. “In the digital arena as elsewhere, it is all about the value that we add, through scenario analysis or better workflow process management, or by integrating our own activities with our customers’ to enterprise systems, for example.”

Efforts towards integration will not be limited to processes, Tasma adds: the company has made a number of opportunistic forwarding business acquisitions over recent years of which the new Global Director has been taking stock.

“As a carrier, our operations are focused in Europe while as a forwarder we are global, but much of the global business we do has been built on the basis of our local expertise – in seafood, meat, fruits and vegetables, and craft beer, for example. In seafood, we have optimised our position as a freight forwarder by leveraging the global office network available to Samskip and its agents: our aim is to make the same transition in other areas.”

Forwarding expertise

Tasma cites the acquisition by Samskip Logistics USA of New Jersey’s Rimar Consultants as bringing specific customs brokerage expertise into the group, while the more recent purchase of German logistics company Züst & Bachmeier put the entire business on a new footing globally.

“These are vital but single steps: we will now strengthen our tender management processes to operate on a different basis and build Samskip’s forwarding business to the critical size expected by strategic partners.”

However, the new Logistics Director Global Forwarding emphasises that he will never make changes simply for change’s sake. “A business vision needs to keep in mind the people involved,” he says. “As Richard Branson memorably put it, if you take care of your employees they will take care of your clients. In any organisation, change will only be embraced if resistance to it is outweighed by the need for and rewards of change.”    

Learn more about Samskip’s freight forwarding services
Previous Expert Opinion: THE FLAT RACK FACTOR