Christian Stocker, CEO of LEMAN USA shares thoughts in Loadstar Premium
By Alessandro Pasetti, source: theloadstar.com/market-insight-qa-with-christian-stocker-leman-has-ma-and-more-in-its-sights/
A market veteran with over two decades of freight forwarding experience, Christian Stocker, the regional chief executive of Denmark-based LEMAN in the US, was recently interviewed by John Delgado, founder of Seattle-based Search Logistics, who kindly agreed to share with Loadstar Premiumsome of the key topics that were discussed.
You can access the entire article HERE
The group, which operates under the LEMAN Holding A/S umbrella, turns over about $360m, with the US responsible for about one-third of sales and growing annually at a 19% clip, based on its latest financial figures for 2018.
Here is an excerpt of the key topics that Mr Stocker was willing to touch upon, spanning the company's growth story, its culture, M&A, and more.
How long have you been at LEMAN and in the freight forwarding industry?
"I started in the freight forwarding industry back in Basel, Switzerland, in 1989. Over the past 30 years I had the privilege to work for some of the largest logistics players globally. I learned the industry handling air and sea operations, before spending more than 10 years running sales and marketing in Brazil, Mexico and Eastern Europe.
"I was based in different countries in Europe, North and South America. My first assignment as a country manager was in Mexico, in the boom days of the mid-2000s. I then moved into a regional role overseeing Latin America and finally got the fantastic opportunity to take the helm at LEMAN USA as CEO in September 2017."
What excites you about LEMAN's current growth trajectory?
"LEMAN is renowned for a top-notch customer service experience. We are on an exciting journey of growth, expansion, modernisation and innovation that is quite unique in the industry. I’m extremely blessed to be able to work with an incredible team. Starting with our owner, to the LEMAN group management and of course all the brave women and men that represent LEMAN USA. Business has been growing steadily and we expect to continue this trend."
What is of paramount importance at LEMAN?
"Our level of customer service is special and recognised by our clients and competitors. We operate in a tailor-made and personalised way. These are all qualities that have been become rare in our industry over the past years as standardisation has been diluting the importance of personal touches.
"We are at a size that allows us to be agile, dynamic and seize opportunities quickly. How would I describe our corporate culture? LEMAN’s DNA and culture is built around our customers and our people. Our five core values are: quality, commitment, focus, solutions and responsibility are driving our attitude towards our staff, clients and partners. From day one when I joined LEMAN I was stunned how deeply engrained these values are and how personal people take their jobs and the well-being of the company."
LEMAN is running a contract logistics division in the US. How is your outlook for this business unit?
"Very positive. We had a strong start this year. We landed some new contracts in recent months and recorded healthy growth. We are also currently implementing a brand new WMS [warehouse management system]. This is really exciting, will add depth to our service offerings and give us the competitive edge to achieve our growth goals."
How does LEMAN fit in the current M&A landscape? What do you make of M&A for asset-light players in the 3PL world?
"Our growth strategy incorporates both organic growth as well as M&A. We have been quite active in recent years in the Nordics and the UK and grown our business substantially and successfully through strategic acquisitions. We will continue on this path in the years to come. We are very opportunistic in our M&A approach and look for companies that fit our culture and align with strategic objectives."
How is the US freight forwarding market doing, in your view?
"From a volume perspective the first five months in 2019 were soft. The trade conflict with China clearly left its mark and importers are very cautious as they are trying to deal with the tariff increases. We expect the growth on the Transpacific trade over the next months to remain flat. However, we see new pockets of opportunities opening up in other markets such as Europe, the Middle East and Latin America as companies start to shift their procurement focus. Overall we have been successful growing our business in specific vertical markets and on our core Transatlantic trade lanes. We are looking to the future with optimism."