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Imagination is of the essence

Total Freight Management, which is headquartered at Zurich airport, Easyfresh Network Member for Switzerland

The owner-managed specialist provider Total Freight Management, which is headquartered  at Zurich airport, is coming of age in 2016.

A lot has changed in the (logistics) world since the ITJ last visited founder Jean-Claude Rossé (see ITJ 39-40 / 2008, page 40). Rossé still has the appropriate recipes for business success, as he told ITJ editor Andreas Haug recently.

Mr Rossé, your baby is coming of age this year.  In its childhood and youth, Total Freight Management tried out many different things, didn't it...?

Though TFM  was born  as a  «normal» freight forwarder, we strived to garner niche contracts from the first day onwards. We never believed that out future lay in stand­ ard business options.  The question  was only, how we could differentiate ourselves from our competitors. So we decided to initially listen exclusively to the needs ex­ pressed by our customers, and to respond to them a little faster and more flexibly than our rivals. It's  a simple recipe, really, but implementation is a whole different kettle of fish. We needed a lot of discipline, and naturally had to invest a lot of time.

One of the results was our «TFM Time Critical» option, which laid the basis for our success. We did indeed try many different things over the years: we launched a global retail courier with a hub in London - TFM had an office in England at that time; we entered the field of spare parts / exchange logistics for PDAs and recall campaigns; we set up a technical courier, which saw us carry out measurements for customers with special instruments and exchange the equipment, if necessary. These forays re­ sulted in today's four main specializations: aviation, e­commerce, IT service parts and reefer logistics.

How big is TFM, now that it is grown up? We currently rent a 218 sqm office, and a 294 sqm warehouse for our small parts logistics solutions, at Zurich airport. Ex­ ternal centres are added as and when they are required; in Switzerland we currently operate facilities in Bülach, the Embra­ port bonded warehouse and Rümlang. In Geneva we manage our own spare parts logistics services, analogue to our options in Zurich. Ten employees serve the entire country 24 / 7 / 365 from these locations

Please give us some business figures. All I can say is this - we're pleased that we've never registered a decline in sales in 17½ years in the business. We've always grown. This applies both to the volumes we handled as well as to our revenues. Our ebit even improved  overproportionally, as our gross profit margin is above the industry average, on account of our activities that deviate from the usual standards. We're very satisfied.

A   fast pace typifies your business.  How have the demands you make of your logistics partners changed since we last spoke in 2008?

Our niches allowed us to generate very good margins for many years. Today there are more competitors in spare parts logistics for the aviation and IT industries. More rival means more pressure to perform well- and this with falling prices.

We react by seeking new niches and by developing innovative products. The tendency is that everything has to be done even faster. But ever cheaper too? Not necessarily! Imagination is of the essence! New ideas are often welcomed.

The CEP segment proved difficult to inte- grate into your organisational structure. How are you doing in e-commerce?

We were lucky enough to start our activities very early on and to offer pioneering work in terms of process engineering and data integration, at a time when these f ields were still largely dominated by the major courier f irms. We specialised in fully­automated, tailor­made import customs clearance of mass shipments destined for the Swiss market, where we are a market leader according to the off icial customs statistics. Last year we increased the number of e­commerce declarations we carried out by another 62% .

Time­critical imports from distribution centres into Switzerland by lorry as well as by aeroplane are another aspect that we manage ourselves. It goes without saying that we operate in a very volatile and turbulent market; but at least experts are predicting continued rosy growth for the e-commerce segment overall.

What have the effects of the strong Swiss franc been over the past year?

We've ascertained   that there is extremely strong demand as well as a very active consumption pattern in Switzerland. Online shopping from suppliers abroad became even more attractive after the artificially inf lated franc / euro exchange rate was dropped. This trend was additionally supported by dispatch free of charge to Switzerland, an option that more and more foreign online retailers offer under certain conditions.

We recently ran a report on your latest niche (see ITJ 43-44 / 2015, page 7). You're   referring to Easyfresh, a  global network of reefer experts with extensive perishables handling know­how as well as their own cool chain infrastructure. When Easyfresh asked us to be their exclusive representative in Switzerland, we decided to further expand this field together. We'll present these developments at Fruit  Logistica in Berlin at the beginning of February.

 

 

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