Project logistics is sexy, Maarten Bedaf, Lubbers Logistics Group
Logistics is a team work, but it is also sexy, according to Maarten Bedaf, chief commercial officer at Lubbers Logistics Group and managing director at Lubbers Global Freight. It is a people business he said for Project Cargo Journal’s weekly “People of the Industry” feature.
Bedaf’s journey in the industry started in 1998 with Holleman Transport, currently Mammoet Road Cargo, as a head of planning. Over the span of 14 years Bedaf sharpened his operational skills but then moved to business development and account management.
Learning the trade
With Holleman Transport being specialised in exceptional road transport in Europe, Bedaf had the front row seat to the industry. Following his deployment with Holeman Transport, Bedaf focused on contract logistics and managed a couple of FMCG sites for Hays Logistics.
While not having a mentor, it was at Hays Logistics where Bedaf said he learned a lot from the company’s former managing director, Cees Smilde. “He gave me a lot of possibilities to develop in several roles at Hays Logistics, like site manager, European transport manager and global operations director,” Bedaf says.
Before joining Lubbers Logistics Group, Bedaf served as CEO of Customs Support Group, and director business development at DSV Lead Logistics.
Time at Lubbers
At Lubbers Logistics Group, Bedaf is responsible with developing, designing and approving the company’s commercial strategy, as well as driving business growth, diversification and market share.
According to Bedaf, an average day in Lubbers Global Freight organisation includes talking to and supporting the operations of a number of teams within the company as well as discussing the needs of clients and supporting them with the right service.
Speaking of the culture within the company, Bedaf says, “currently we act as a team and are each others mentors. Having open discussions, being open for reflection, making sure that you are complementing the team helps not only myself but also the company to improve and develop.”
A two-way evolution
There are two major talking points that Bedaf puts focus on, sustainability and automation. When it comes to sustainability, the logistics sector is taking more and more responsibility to play their part in making the world a better place. “Cleaner motors (EUR6 technology), different fuel alternatives (e.g. HVO100) and more and more electric trucks,” is what Bedaf sees.
On the other hand, over the recent years, automation has developed in leaps and bounds. “At the beginning of this century it started with the early days of track and trace. In those early years it was really based on tracking and tracing a truck. Now it is more and more to get data out of this. Are the tires still having the right pressure? Are drivers driving safely and efficient? What will be the estimated time of delivery based on historical traffic information etc. So data is more and more important to improve quality and to predict the supply chain,” Bedaf says.
Going forward, it is hard to know what changes will take place, however, Bedaf expects the expansion of electric network and accelerated development of hydrogen-fuelled trucks. “This will helps us to come with more sustainable solutions. Data will support us to help our clients to provide the most efficient solutions,” he says.
He is also expecting the industry to find the right balance between people and technology, stressing that it should not be forgotten that logistics is people business.
· What changes would you like to see? I don’t know, it isn’t an easy question. I think I would like to see a further evolution of technology but I think we must never forget that logistics is people business as well. So the right balance between people and technology is something I want to see in the future evolution
Furthermore, younger generations will play a role in the industry, and Bedaf stressed that companies need to show the “youth that you have a strong and sustainable employee value proposition. Show that the work is interesting and challenging, roll out strong (managing) development programs, give the youth the possibility to work flexible and of course ensure an open and honest (leadership) communication.”