How did you get involved in logistics?
I was introduced to the Logistics discipline in 2003 when I was assigned to a project which was initially to coordinate the move from one warehouse to another. On a field trip to the USA, I saw first-hand the integrated approach of supply chain planning; both domestic and international freight scheduling and inventory replenishment to meet budget requirements. A number of factors worked together which allowed us to advance the initial project from just a warehouse move to the creation of a Logistics division combining three functional areas into what can be considered one of the early Logistics Division in Barbados.
We now had a new warehouse location called a Distribution Center with the in-house Customs department, receiving department, pricing, replenishment, dispatch and domestic delivery now operating under one management team.
The success of the overall project to the organisation was the positive contribution the Logistics Division made to the increase in sales and the reduction of carrying-stock.
In 2011 we formed Caribbean Trade Logistics Adviosrs Inc. (CTLA Inc.) in response to a number of international brands who were now entering the Barbados markets and who were accustomed to such services.
What were the challenges associated with creating a sector?
The challenges were changing the mind set of our team so that they could begin to see that their contribution is integral to the success of the supply chain and logistics process. Their vision now had to be more outward looking and meet international standards. Traditionally their roles would be more backroom so we had to energise them so they could provide a consistent service to our clients who are relying on them.
Local companies are now exploring the concept of contracting third party logistics firms therefore you have to be very professional and show both current and prospective clients the benefits of out sourcing these services.
What is the competitive advantage that CTLA has on the island?
We provide logistics as a service and is a one stop operation allowing our clients to select from a menu of services fitting their needs and requirements. Our clients are able to acquire customs brokerage services, local and international freight and transport services and all relevant services associated with the importation of cargo at a transactional level verses a fixed cost basis. We are finding more firms are embracing the scalable model which will adapt to their seasonal requirements.
Can you see Barbados becoming a logistics hub?
Barbados has many advantages which would lend to a natural development of being a logistics hub; the stable and reliable voyages and flights from major ports around the world, plus steady telecommunications and a highly educated workforce. This vision for Barbados to become a logistics and transhipment hub must be articulated and agreed as a national goal and we must create an enabling environment to achieve such. The benefits will be tremendous.