Questioned during the confinement, various supply chain players testified on the Voxlog site about how they were engaged and reorganized during this complex period. After several months of crisis, they now evoke their vision of recovery in testimonials collected between 11 and 18 May. Today, GT Logistics, Viapost and Dachser have the floor.
Eric Sarrat, President of GT Logistics :
GT Logistics, fortunately, had started the year very well. The 2020 budget was predicting a good year, and January and then February confirmed our forecast. The cash position was at a record level, employee shareholders had seen the growth in the value of their shares. Profit-sharing and incentive payments for 2019 were higher than shareholder dividends.
The two months of the health crisis broke this fine momentum. Sites closed or severely disrupted by the lack of industrial production caused a 40% drop in sales and significant losses. The company's strong exposure to the aeronautics and automotive sectors forced it to make a long recovery and led it to deal with overstaffing at certain sites.
On the other hand, we appreciate the strong diversification of our customer base, which remains an opportunity for a resumption of business. This diversification will be pursued and accentuated in the fields of healthcare, pharmaceuticals and food processing. Finally, the strength of GT Logistics remains its unique and innovative human capital that we will enrich with our management practices.
Gilles Vincent, Managing Director of the Logistics Business Unit and Christophe Baboin, Managing Director of the Transport Business Unit of Viapost :
At Viapost, the crisis has been a real test of the resilience of our organisations; the relevance of our business model, which is highly automated and able to operate with a reduced workforce; the solidity of our relations with our network of carriers; and the social climate of our company. The continuity of our activities has been possible thanks to the exemplary attitude of our operational teams and staff representative bodies. But also thanks to customers who have trusted us to accompany them on their exceptional and urgent order preparation and road transport needs.
This very particular period allowed us to verify the validity of our strategy, oriented towards our B2B order preparation and small goods sorting activities. In the coming days, we will focus on catching up on the backlog of orders and relaunching our development projects and ambitions.
Frédéric Dumort, President France & Maghreb of Dachser :
Thanks to the strength of our organization and the commitment of our teams at Dachser, all our transport and logistics locations have remained open during the confinement period while maintaining a high level of safety. It seems uncertain to predict the exact scenario for a resumption of operations, and the last few months have called for the utmost humility in this regard.
Nevertheless, since the beginning of May, we have seen a gradual but sustained recovery in activity. We are adapting our transport plan and the organisation of our teams on a daily basis. In addition to retaining our existing customers, we are benefiting from the confidence of new customers who have been victims of service failures or opportunistic rate increases.
We are already seeing changes in certain selection criteria in calls for tenders. Environmental aspects and CSR policies are being reassessed upwards, and the sustainability of the proposed transport solutions is becoming fundamental.
I am thinking of the hypotheses of relocating part of the production in Europe and around the Mediterranean basin, favouring ecological criteria, proximity, agility and customer experience over cost considerations. I am thinking of the willingness of our prospects and customers to envisage partnerships based on service providers with integrated networks and control of their production resources. I am thinking of the need to rely on a strategic partner to structure its supply chain in view of the challenges at stake. In this respect, the capital structure of service providers is an essential element, especially when it comes to working on high-impact projects.
For my part, I have three strong convictions at the end of this health and soon to be economic crisis: the first is to avoid any degree of certainty about industrial and logistical developments and to focus on observation. The second is based on the assurance that our teams will emerge strengthened from this experience. The last is that our combined solutions will enable our customers to optimise their logistics performance.