Is digitalisation taking us apart asks Ashleigh Swartz, TGP
“Well, I recall using a typewriter back in the day for completing documents. Nowadays everything is electronic and paperless. IT systems have come a long way since I started in the workplace,” Ashleigh Swartz, Director at Trans Global Project (TGP) says for Project Cargo Journal’s People of the industry weekly feature.
But is this digitalisation taking everyone further apart? Things are certainly becoming less personal, with less human interaction becoming quite evident. “We’re all hiding behind a screen now instead of being proactive, picking up the phone, talking through matters and producing solutions that work for all parties. Don’t get me wrong, I like the efficiency of technology but some subjects need hands on or face to face approach,” adds Swartz.
From a reception desk to a director
It is now no surprise to us that the project logistics industry has brought us another success story, a climb up the ladder of sorts. This one is certainly about dedication, support and having an open mind.
“My father, brother and husband worked for Qantas for 30+ years. I always thought I wanted to work for an airline but then a job opportunity came up to be a receptionist at a freight forwarding company. Being a receptionist was not my end-goal, but I saw it as a great first step into the industry. Lucky for me, I worked for a business that really liked my enthusiasm to learn and grow more so next thing I was sitting within the seafreight operations team. From here, I kept pushing myself to grow into bigger and better things and voilà….I made it to my current role,” Swartz said.
She is now responsible for leading a small but growing team in Brisbane, Australia, making sure the branch remains profitable through continuous growth. Swartz held numerous positions within the industry. From Operations Manager to Customer Service Manager to Business Development Manager.
A course for the young to take
Throughout career, Swartz has focused on developing herself through hard work and getting stuck in. As she notes herself, scraping through year 11 of high school, may not have been a great spring board, however, learning within the industry, through hands on experience is invaluable.
“Dream big, because if I can do it, so can you. Yes, you need to put the effort in and at times we are faced with challenges but what role doesn’t. Nothing you can’t handle as long as you believe in yourself and have the support from others,” she said.
Furthermore, Swartz said she does not believe in intense training programs that would attract the younger generations into the industry. ‘It really comes down to finding a business that is willing to invest in our youth through hands on experience. Couple of courses along the way of course, but there’s nothing like being amongst the action to grow and learn. Unfortunately we are all so busy of late resulting to the following generations not being given the opportunities as we were once given,’ Says Swartz.
We can’t know everything
Going forward, Swartz called for more collaboration among key suppliers. “Everyone is now too busy to stop, teach, talk, learn. At times you feel judged if you don’t know the answers. It’s ok not to know everything, who does? How boring would your working world be if you had all the answers. Defeats the purpose to grow and learn more. I thought the saying always was….you learn something new everyday,” Swartz said
Project cargo, freight forwarding, project logistics are a challenging, flooded market with many competitors within. Planning and logistics should be way up on the list of things in the supply chain. “Our clients aren’t always good planners either so when it comes to time sensitive movements, it becomes challenging when logistics are the last thought in the supply chain resulting to the pressure being put on ourselves,” notes Swartz.