C.H. Robinson, a leading third party logistics and supply chain management provider, chose Slovakia as a key strategic growth area for the company for several reasons. Among them is the increasing number of foreign and domestic companies expanding their businesses in the region and the highly skilled workforce, says Director for Eastern Europe at C.H. Robinson, Arkadiusz Glinka.
C.H. Robinson opened an office in Slovakia in August 2016. What was the main reason your company to chose this country?
Slovakia was chosen as a key strategic growth area for C.H. Robinson due to the increasing number of foreign and domestic companies expanding their businesses in the region. Central and Eastern Europe’s upward trend in trade has become an industrial proverb for the region’s wider economic rise. In addition, Slovakia is often seen as the centre of Europe, and one of the bridges between Eastern and Western Europe. Over the past few years, the area has upgraded its infrastructure, making the transportation of goods to and from Slovakia more and more accessible.
We also have confidence in the highly skilled workforce of Slovakia – smart, dedicated, empowered people, who are an extension of a customer’s team to innovate and execute their supply chain strategy. Customers can rely on our ability to source and develop expert people for knowledge, problem solving, and unbiased transportation plans.
What do you expect from the establishment of an office in Slovakia?
We are confident about our investment in this region, since the stable economic landscape is generating considerable growth in the transportation sector. The opening of the Slovak office continues to build on C.H. Robinson’s European presence and add to its growing office network in the region. C.H. Robinson has named Michal Sojka, as the branch manager of its Slovak office. He is taking responsibility for leading the office growth in this region.
Services within our offices include a variety of continental European Transportation services, as well as intercontinental air and ocean forwarding services. The variety of our capabilities may vary slightly according to geography, but our core focus at the moment from our Slovak entity will be cross-border, full truckload services. We are focused on opening more doors in both import and export into the region for countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and we utilize a network of exports in countries like Poland, Spain, Finland, and Turkey. We also utilize a strong Bulk and Tanker division on these export trade lanes.
We envision, that the Bratislava office will, like all our other offices, be empowered to make decisions on our customer’s behalf.
There are a number of logistics companies already operating in the Slovak market. What makes you different to the others? What is your main added value?
Our mission statement ‘Our People, Processes and Technology improve the world’s supply chains delivering exceptional value to our customers and suppliers’ is what we live up to every day at C.H. Robinson. You will notice that ‘People’ is mentioned first and that is because, for us, our people are the most important element of our company. We believe in investment in smart people. Our focus is to hire motivated, entrepreneurial, and service-orientated people who we empower early in their careers to make critical decisions. We believe in the tag line “Let smart people take smart decisions”.
Because our Navisphere® platform is able to manage any kind of shipment in all geographies, there are no boundaries to the savings strategies that we can execute on our customer’s behalf. We hire some of the best logisticians in the world to identify opportunities for improvement in our customers’ supply chains and have the wherewithal to execute it. Our optimization happens during supply chain planning and during execution.
C.H. Robinson has a proven track record of making decisions quickly on our customer’s behalf in order to solve problems effectively and efficiently. In addition, our lack of large multi-networks with multiple layers of country and continental leadership allows us the flexibility and agility to solve our customer’s challenges quickly.
Four key outcomes from doing business with C.H. Robinson are:
We help our customers manage costs all the time, including in times of crisis when supply gets tight and they need access to new sourcing areas. Our customers have a cutting-edge, global supply chain technology without deploying capital – we’ve already made the investment for them.
Our expert people and relationships are an extension of your team and a single point of contact to drive innovation, productivity, and savings. Our experts help to identify exceptions and enable proactive management to drive down supply chain costs.
At the same time, our customers gain complete visibility of transport costs, plus expertise in identifying cost saving opportunities. Being one of the largest transportation networks in Europe, allows us to buy competitively to help you manage your costs. This large, pre-existing network helps you avoid expensive integrations with multiple supply chain partners.
C.H. Robinson’s technology allows our customers to take the labour out of the process so they get better processes and automation, while retaining visibility of all their current freight activities. Our expert people and relationships impact multiple functions across our customer organizations to improve productivity. They benefit from continuous process improvement and the ability to leverage supply chain best practice. The efficiencies we bring positively impact profitability and service to our customers.
We take manual tasks off our customer’s plate with automation and an advanced technology platform which has a multi-department impact on their organizations, and the automating functions give them cross-functional efficiencies – from invoicing to appointment scheduling – that enable them to eliminate duplications and double bookings. Furthermore, we sit down with our customers to create SOPs and figure out how we work together. The biggest part of efficiency is to not do tasks twice – we have proven processes that simplify the work you already have.
Our people and relationships help our customers diminish supply chain risks and offer alternative strategies in the event of disruptions. Our process experts combine strategy and practical experience for customized solutions that will succeed. Our capacity options and our flexible mode diversity give our customers the supply chain advantages and help them to adapt to market changes. In addition, C.H. Robinson is a public, stable, and transparent company that supports flexibility and diversification.
C.H. Robinson helps companies influence: external supply chain changes for more predictability and internal and external process changes, including expanding into emerging markets/new products, mergers and acquisitions, technology developments, and suppliers/vendors. Global relationships, experienced people, and a full range of supply chain services give customers everything they need to implement change and respond to changing market conditions.
Whether you allocate volumes, need help with a promotional project or are simply having trouble during a peak season, we can hire transport capacity on demand and offer solutions to suit your needs.
What, in your opinion, are the main challenges in the logistics sector in Slovakia?
We must be ready for the increasing market changes in the transportation industry in general. Setting up a new office among many other service providers, comes with the challenge of finding the right people to handle these quick changes. In addition, C.H. Robinson is known for providing a certain quality service – the challenge is to keep this quality of service in a new office, with few resources, and at the same time, keeping affordable prices for our customers.
Who are the clients you are aspiring to serve here?
Typically, our relationships vary from smaller, transactional type customers, through to the strategic large/global customer segments.
C.H. Robinson customer segmentation does not conflict with other efforts in sales and marketing, or other parts of our business. The way we market, or sell to any sized customer remains the same across the chart in order to build the same types of relationships with our customers.
Do you have plans for further expansion in Slovakia?
First, we want to build a successful branch in Bratislava. Our growth and geographic expansion is part of our success, so the possibility of expansion in this market is definitely an option in the longer term.
About C.H. Robinson
At C.H. Robinson, we believe in accelerating global trade to seamlessly deliver the products and goods that drive the world’s economy. Using the strengths of our knowledgeable people, proven processes and global technology, we help our customers work smarter, not harder. As one of the world’s largest third-party logistics providers (3PL), we provide a broad portfolio of logistics services, fresh produce sourcing and Managed Services for more than 130,000 customers and 71,000 contract carriers through our integrated network of 280 offices and more than 14,000 employees.