President's Column

The purposes of strategy

A strategy creates a framework for executing tactics. In the case of GAC and Delta 21, our tactics are the many time-tested processes, procedures, attitudes and approaches that we employ when serving our customers. Things like going the extra mile, working with vetted partners, rigorous documentation and timely communication. Over the years, the strategic framework for our tactics has shifted in line with the Group’s needs and ambitions, dealing with big picture matters like Global Reach and Global Values.

Now, with Delta 21, the strategic framework focuses on our need to equip ourselves physically and mentally for the challenges of the 21st century. What are our core strategic challenges? In no particular order, they are the impact of digitalisation, the pace and volatility of global markets, and the demand for greater efficiency in how we use our human and financial resources. These challenges call on all of us to be both smarter and wiser in how we run our daily operations, from our company teams to our corporate boardrooms. Our lead story here summarises the journey so far.

Cost Optimisation

Our customers want everything to be cheaper, quicker and better because that’s what their customers want. This means we must constantly manage our costs. Under Delta 21, we have a Cost Optimisation Programme to help us do this. In Phase 1 of the programme, cost savings in the order of USD 7 million have been identified. And that’s been achieved without the support of some regions and companies. I urge all regions and companies to see this programme as a fresh opportunity to make sure their resources are being used as efficiently as possible. Our continued success depends on this.

Who sells

I’ve seen some early drafts of our new corporate ad campaign. There isn’t a barge, ship, truck or hardhat to be seen. It’s a different approach to catching a customer’s attention and it is indicative of the approach we must all take towards sales in these interesting times. I sell. So do you. With every contact you make with a customer, supplier, official or colleague you are selling yourself and your company. You are demonstrating the qualities that give customers peace of mind when dealing with GAC. Our Group Marketing Team is there to support our sales efforts so for best results, build and maintain strong working relationships with our sales managers and directors.

Moving to HOYER ground…

As an example of a 21st century business relationship, consider what we’re doing for HOYER. HOYER is a leader in bulk liquid transportation in tanks. It’s a specialised field and GAC has been working successfully with Hoyer since early 2016 in the Middle East, South Asia and West Africa to get its tanks shipped, landed, emptied and returned. While running these operations, we have also introduced a Corporate Academy course to help our people gain the specialised know-how needed to serve the customer. This is Delta 21 thinking in a nutshell. More details here.

Women at work

Among the core strategic challenges I noted above, I maybe could have included feminisation of the workforce. This is a global trend. These days, more women graduate from universities than men and they are bringing their smarts and credentials into the workplace from the frontline up into the higher levels of corporate management. In this light, consider the 4thoughts of Shehara Jayawardana who is Group Joint Managing Director of the McLarens Group, our partners in Sri Lanka. Ladies and gents, you can feel the heat of Shehara’s commitment here.

2017 so far

The year has been good so far. We’re seeing black figures more than red, though our traditional troublespots continue to challenge us. What is important now is that we push on with renewed energy. The northern summer vacation period is finished and there is business to be chased and won. I wish you all a flourishing finish as you head towards December. Oh, and support the Cost Optimisation Programme. It’s critical!

Bengt Ekstrand
Group President