The promise of customer commitment

Adarsh Hegde, the joint MD of Allcargo Logistics, gives us a peek into his day-to-day life and explains why he enjoys working in the logistics sector

Q. Congratulations for being felicitated as the Dynamic Logistics Professional of the Year at the Maritime And Logistics Awards (MALA), 2016! It must have been an exciting journey for you given that you are a part of Allcargo since its inception. Today, Allcargo is a global company. How would you describe the journey?

Answer: The journey with Allcargo has been phenomenal. From a small office to a global company, I would say, it has been a great learning experience. In a way, we’ve not only seen Allcargo go through a transformation, but also witnessed the industry change significantly. It feels great that we, as leaders, are driving the industry to quite an extent.

Q At the MALA 2016, Allcargo was named the Logistics Super-brand of the year and Heavy Lift/Project Mover of the Year. What are the milestones or achievements that you are particularly proud of?

Answer: One has to take pride in every day and every decision because that’s what gradually converges to make a great organisation. It gives me immense joy to see our people’s hard work getting recognised in the form of improving customer satisfaction levels and industry awards.

One milestone that I am particularly proud of is the addition of ECU Worldwide to the Allcargo family. Both emotionally and strategically, it was a unique milestone – not just in my professional career but for everyone associated with the company; especially for Chairman Dr Shashi Kiran Shetty and other board members, who spearheaded the decision which catapulted the Allcargo Group to a global company. Today, we are one large family, operating across geographies and serving clients.

Q You were recently elevated to the post of joint MD. In the new role, what are the challenges and opportunities that you foresee?

Answer: It’s an incredible opportunity to be given this key role, especially since we are in the next phase of our growth, and I am thankful to the board for this. I look forward to taking the company to new heights.

For some time now, global trade and the shipping industry have been going through tough times. Consolidation in the sector has caused freight rates to fall. This is the time when one has to strategise and look for newer opportunities. Our prime focus remains on mobilising our people while keeping customer commitment intact and continuing to deliver our best services.

Like with any other industry, there are global as well as region-specific challenges. For instance, some countries have flexible laws and some don’t. Despite the hurdles, we’ve been able to establish a strong foothold in several regions with the help of our partners and our people. As we move forward, we’ll continue to do the same thing.

Dr Shashi Kiran Shetty has been my mentor. It is difficult to emulate his qualities, to strive for perfection and excellence in every task, however small. However, his qualities keep all of us motivated to never be satisfied with the second best and that shows in our levels of service delivery.

Q What are the big changes that you have seen over time in the logistics business?

Answer: One big change is that we are in the age of digital automation and disruption. Our company’s aim is to integrate smarter technologies in day-to-day operations for greater ease of business. Our vision is to create a sustainable business environment. Automation has certainly brought in efficiency within the industry. Turnaround times have reduced and geographies have come closer. Going ahead, this will only benefit the sector. Disruption and innovation will play a key role from here on and as a group, we are all constantly working on it.

Q The rebranding of ECU Worldwide was a huge initiative for the group. What did the effort entail?

Answer: The ECU Worldwide rebranding initiative was a step towards consolidating our global presence. It was a huge drive implemented across 160+ countries and we used a 360 degree marketing approach to communicate about our reenergised brand with our customers. The initiative has been very well received. To keep the buzz alive, we also launched a unique customer connect activation programme called Funtainer. This activation campaign will see a 20ft container travel to major cities in the world, where we have our operations and bond with our customers and reiterate our commitment to bring them the best service.

Q What is it about the industry and your job that excites you?

Answer: I am a people’s person. A big part of my job involves meeting customers, mentoring our team, reviewing progress, suggesting mid-course corrections and establishing a platform for innovative strategies to meet targeted goals. It is these meetings and the perspectives that I get to hear from people that make my job exciting.

The sector is dynamic and diverse, and has its own set of challenges, providing more room to think differently and innovate, which is very exciting. Our work is very fast paced; most of us have to multi-task, absorb and process a lot of information quickly, and make decisions that keep both the organisation and our clients’ objectives and priorities in focus.

Q How does a typical workday for you look like?

Answer: I travel a lot and business trips take up to 10 to 15 days in a month sometimes. When I’m home in Mumbai, I’m up by 7 am and try to put in an hour of walking or jogging along the Carter Road in Bandra. I’m in office between 10 to 10.30 am. Lunchtime is flexible depending on the day’s schedule. I leave office normally between 8 pm to 9 pm, and then catch up on the news or sports channel before going to bed around midnight.

Q Which countries do you travel to frequently? Can you share an interesting travel anecdote?

Answer: The world today has shrunk to a global village. I remember back in 1994, I was travelling with my colleague in Europe. We landed in Brussels and drove to a small town in Netherlands. We were both tired and hungry. As soon as we reached our destination, the first thing we did was to enter the only restaurant we saw open. The menu was in Dutch, so my colleague asked the server to get something in chicken, like a curry and rice. The server seemed to have understood and readily nodded his head. When we started eating, my colleague immediately said this does not taste like chicken. We called the server to clarify about the dish, but he could not understand us. Finally, I pointed to the dish and made clucking sounds trying to imitate a chicken. He immediately responded by making quacking sounds to tell us that it was duck! My colleague was stunned, but I couldn’t stop laughing.

Q How do you unwind to end your day? Any particular hobbies or interests that help you balance the stress of work?

Answer: Both my daughters are studying outside of Mumbai, and staying on campus. I try to speak to them every day, from where ever I am, and it helps me to unwind. I also love watching cricket, whether it’s a rerun or a live game.

I love reading but my reading time has come down due to lack of time. These days I am inclined towards Indian fiction, such as Chetan Bhagat, where the style is light and relates to our day to day life.

In non-fiction, I enjoyed Robin Sharma’s ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’, which I thought conveyed the development of character and discipline, very well. It also had an inspiring message that one should live life freely in spite of working all day. I am currently reading ‘The Rise and Fall of Nations’ by Ruchir Sharma.

Quick Bytes

Joint managing director since 1 July 2016
Been with the company since 1993
Responsible for business strategy and growth
Plays a key role in group governance
Oversees CFS & ICD, Project Forwarding & Engineering solutions, E-Commerce Logistics, Coastal Shipping, and Contract Logistics