INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
2020, the Year of a Startup, ChainCargo
Giovanni Gubbels of ChainCargo tells us about sustainable road transport.
On the left is Giovanni Gubbels and Jeroen Kemp on the right.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Giovanni Gubbels: All our colleagues and families are doing well and healthy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded ChainCargo.
Giovanni Gubbels: My partner Jeroen started with a web hosting company when he was younger and studied Logistics. After his study, he worked around the whole world as an independent consultant to implement warehouse management systems and redesign warehouse operations.
Coen started in hospitality and revenue management, where he found his way to logistics through organizing logistics fairs. I got caught up in logistics from the early start, where I started working on Schiphol arranging import & export air & ocean. Where after I had the possibility to set up several warehouses within Europe and ended up as an integrator in a commercial position. In those 7 years, I have seen a lot of opportunities to optimize, collaborate and innovate, but nothing changed or was really slow. This caused me to decide to quit my Job the half of 2017 to work on the ideas I had to create a more sustainable supply chain, and this resulted in the start of ChainCargo in late 2018.
How does ChainCargo innovate?
Giovanni Gubbels: ChainCargo focuses on a data-driven supply chain, where we started in Road transportation. We want to provide small carriers with additional software for free to reduce their manual work and help them to get a higher bottom line result.
In return, we gather the data, and with this data, we want to dynamically optimize the routes and utilize the capacity on existing rides.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Giovanni Gubbels: Initially, we started with urgency shipments, which is mainly in the B2B. We saw a significant drop in volume when the pandemic started as there was more understanding for delays which meant no SLA restrictions in case of late deliveries. This was actually (not business-wise) something good because what is better than no emissions because of no shipments. For us, it meant expanding services, where we planned to enter the FTL market by the end of 2021. We moved it because of the drop in urgency shipments to half of 2020. By adding this service, we continued the growth we had originally planned.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Giovanni Gubbels: We make difficult decisions every day; you deal with partners, customers, and all kinds of other parties. But more importantly, we work with people, adding the pandemic to that, working from home and the first experience as an employer, made decision making even more though.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Giovanni Gubbels: The most important tool, in general, is proper communication. We stay in close contact and talk daily with our people via phone, teams, or organized events with all the restrictions in place. Empathy and vulnerability is important skill to be able to know what’s really going on in your team.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Giovanni Gubbels: We see the traditional players as our main competitors as they slow down the process of innovation and digitalization.
Your final thoughts?
Giovanni Gubbels: The pandemic made us all think differently and made us rely more on technology, and showed us how vulnerable we still are. That’s why we believe that collaboration and constant innovation will make a real difference.
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