Sam Loke was already heading up a logistics company from his Thailand base when the opportunity to join Denmark-based global logistics company DSV Solutions arose in 2018.
Although he had already explored the many facets of the industry in his previous roles, he felt drawn to the opportunity by the company’s ambitious rapid growth plans.
“It had recently acquired UTi Worldwide and was about to acquire CEVA Logistics back in 2018,” he tells The CEO Magazine. “When I spoke to the CEO during my interview, I also realized the company was ambitious in technological enhancements as well as investing in property strategies and people. So the company was very dynamic in its ambition to grow and to enter the top three in the market.”
Prioritizing growth and development is an ethos Loke shares with the company. Over the past five years, he’s introduced a number of initiatives and strategies, supporting the company to expand beyond automotive logistics into other industry verticals, such as the consumer, retail, chemical and high-tech sectors.
DSV is focused on four key pillars, the first being its people. Loke says over the past 10 years, digitization and the use of platforms have become the norm and as such, DSV is upskilling and training its people in these areas to improve their productivity.
“We are also recognizing the talents from different groups, such as Millennials, who are different to manage, as well as changing our operating format in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he explains.
“We are also looking at how we manage working hours and overtime so that we can construct a good work–life balance for our staff.”
Transparency is the second pillar. As a public company in Denmark, it must be open about its operations, KPIs, productivity, business practices and financials, according to Loke. More recently, in light of ever-growing demands for sustainability, the company has also committed to transparency about its carbon footprint.
Productivity, the third pillar, focuses on upskilling, automation and consolidation of assets to ensure less waste and more output.
The fourth and final pillar is scalability, where DSV is prepared to invest and grow with its customers in terms of operations, technology and sustainability.
As is the case for most businesses, sustainability has become more than a buzzword; it is now something consumers routinely demand across a company’s operations if they are going to engage with them, something Loke recognizes is particularly relevant to the logistics supply chain industry.
“We must recognize that we are responsible in terms of sustainability because we are the major contributor to transportation and consumption of materials,” he reveals.
“I would like to pitch that all logisticians further embrace digitalization technology, to help us find and monitor solutions to maximize sustainability.”
DSV is addressing this in a variety of ways, including measuring and reporting on the company’s carbon footprint and setting targets to ensure it is reduced. Technology is at the heart of Loke’s vision for a more eco-friendly company.
“We have converted warehouse and office lighting to LED lighting where possible,” he says. “We have installed solar panels in our headquarters and warehouses, and we also do a lot of recycling and reusing.”
DSV already has electric six-wheel trucks on the road with more to come, although the transition to an electrified fleet will be gradual while Thailand brings in adequate vehicle charging systems.
While mergers and acquisitions are a core part of DSV’s vision, and it will continue to grow by acquiring new companies, Loke says the company will work to further embrace digitalization to increase efficiency, drive automation and contribute to the company’s growth.
He believes its approach to working with others, such as long-term partner Total Logistics, is instrumental to its growth.
“We approach our customers with a consultative mindset,” he confirms. “I often tell my staff that we are not just a logistics provider. We are doctors for our customers, diagnosing our customers’ logistics requirements and needs and prescribing the best solutions to help them.”
This approach extends to its vendors, with Loke giving the example of warehouse landlords or developers.
“We have worked together with them to construct the most effective logistics warehouse. We share technology and building requirements from overseas, so that the Thai vendors or landlords can improve themselves,” he points out.
“By collaborating with these strategic vendors, we are also able to reduce costs and achieve better returns that are shared with vendors and our customers – and ultimately, continue to grow the business.”