Last December, The Emirates Times published on its website an interview about the Project Cargo Industry and Erhardt Projects’ role in it, made to the CEO of the Company, Igor Muñiz.
We share here the highlights of the interview
REVOLUTIONIZING THE CARGO INDUSTRY GLOBALLY
Q.- What is the idea behind your company?
A.- The idea behind Erhardt Projects is to revolutionize the design and execution of maritime and/or multimodal transport operations of on/offshore modular cargoes and/or oversized and super-heavy parts on a global level, by providing the different agents involved (ship-owners, stevedores, surveyors, forwarders, special carriers, manufacturers, specifiers and end customers) with:
- A collaborative space that facilitates the contracting and coordination of each operation,
- A new operational standard to streamline and enhance the efficiency of execution of this special type of operation, eliminating waste, reducing risks, optimizing execution times, minimizing costs, and ensuring continuous traceability throughout the chain.
- A high-performance dynamic based on a methodology with teams of highly qualified professionals capable of generating added value in today’s uncertain situation.
- Intelligent data to facilitate continuous evolution of operations.
The ultimate purpose is to facilitate the cultural and operational transformation of the project cargo sector, helping to adapt it to the current environment and to new ways of doing and generating business, and creating environmental and social value.
Q.- What are the objectives of your company?
A.- To help our customers generate more value for their own customers through our solutions and services, and to help them digitalize their supply chain for their project cargo logistics through our NETERH platform, thus helping them to stand out in their markets.
To that end, we launched on the global market in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic, with a repositioning as a “niche business” supported by a “boutique & unique” strategy that combines 4 main assets:
- Our own Transportation Engineering Department, which is highly specialized in customized, all-round solutions for complex operations;
- Our Chartering Division to act as independent specialists in the global maritime market;
- Our Integrated Logistics Department to cover turnkey projects; and
- Our Digital Solutions Area to digitize the end-to-end supply chain and enhance customers’ experience with the company, providing new services to customers through disruptive technologies that drastically change the way the project cargo sector operates.”
FOCUSING ON THE CHALLENGES
Q.- What keeps your company moving forward even during challenges?
A.- Effective leadership based on 4 pillars:
- Having a Clear Strategy
It is very important to have a clear strategy and roadmap suited to the challenges of the current environment, the challenges of the markets in which we operate, and the changing needs of our customers. This enables us to stay focused and continue to move forward as planned, and to cope with those unforeseen events that arise on a day-to-day basis, which are key to our evolution as a company, as contemplated in the strategy.
- Flexibility and Agility
Equally critical is the ability to continually adapt processes and work teams so as to provide an agile, personalized response to the needs of our customers any time and anywhere. Our market has become spot. Urgency has become a regular event and demand is immediate. Flexibility and agility are a MUST in our business.
- Team Involvement
Without a team, it is not possible to move forward in any way. People are the cornerstone of our business. Without their knowledge, experience, performance, and commitment there is NO BUSINESS. Therefore they must be fully involved in the project, and my work as a leader is to inspire and support them to achieve their goals, which, added together, will achieve the expected results and assure further progress in the consolidation and growth of the company.
- Transformational Leadership
In the current environment, in which the only constant is change and flexibility and agility are MUSTs, the leadership style must encourage change, the creativity of individuals and teams, and continuous improvement as keys for adapting and surviving among the competition.
Under this style, teams need to be guided with inspiration and motivation, their intellect and development must be developed, and they must be allowed to take risks even if they make mistakes. Above all, everyone feels listened to, respected, valued and supported.
TECHNOLOGY AND DIGITALIZATION
Q.- How do you think technology is bringing about changes in companies? Do you think it is helping your company to grow?
A.- Technology is a powerful driver of transformation. Depending on what it is used for and where it is used, it can transform the value chain of companies, their value proposition or both, thus causing a profound change in their business model. Technology is not a TREND. Nor should it be implemented for its own sake. It must be an instrument at the service of the company’s strategy.
This is how we see it. In our case, it enables us to have end-to-end traceability of our value chain, providing it with the efficiency, flexibility, and agility we need and completing our value proposition with digital solutions and services that provide our clients with real-time traceability of all the critical processes involved in their project cargo logistics.
Undoubtedly, technology is contributing directly to our growth in the market and accelerating our current internationalization by helping to standardize processes and provide smart data use so that key information is available in real time to make agile, safe decisions from the strategic, commercial, and operational viewpoints.
Q.- How is your company adapting to digitalization?
A.- As I mentioned earlier, digitalization is one of the pillars of our strategy and is in the team’s DNA. We digitize to adapt more easily to the current environment, to give immediate responses to our customers, and to provide them with more value.
I am fortunate to have a restless, aligned, dynamic, proactive team who are and/or feel digital. Their lives are digital, so they cannot conceive that their work should not be digital too.
We are also a young company under construction, a spin-off of the business group to which we belong. We are creating a culture adapted to these times, combining different generations to add the good things from each one to the mix and taking advantage of the simplicity of the current tools for the management of the company.
PATHWAY TO INNOVATION
Q.- Do you use innovative ideas to be unique?
A.- Our strategy is “boutique & unique” because that’s who we are. We explore, research, connect internal and external knowledge, devise, and try to respond to our clients with innovative solutions and services differently from how our competitors would do it.
Q.- We have noticed that several companies in the logistics industry encounter complications with paperwork and other issues with transferring cargo from one place to another. Do you also face such challenges?
A.- I have been in this industry for the past 25 years, and I can tell you that we have been managing the same way for the last 0-45 years.
Since I joined Erhardt three and a half years ago, we have designed and built a platform with different digital solutions to transform how cargo is handled in our company and the industry globally.
In our logistics operations there is a lot of paperwork, but also a great deal of email traffic between all the agents involved in the operations and in the commercial activity. This makes it difficult to filter for the critical or most important items at any given time.
Our platform significantly reduces the number of emails exchanged, and each email message is directly associated with each operation, with everything centralized in a single space to eliminate unnecessary email chains. The same goes for paperwork. Documentation is uploaded through a link and attached to each operation automatically on the platform.
On the platform we have detailed solutions, from contracts to procurements. This makes us unique with our customized services, bringing value to a whole new level.
We have become one of the leading companies in the Middle East and have even been awarded large-scale contracts within the last few months. We will soon be opening an office in Saudi Arabia. As discussed ear
Q.- Lastly, would you like to say anything else to our viewers?
A.- We have had the opportunity to develop our company in an amazing region. I think it’s an honor to be in this industry. We aim to be a company that does things uniquely. We also want to take the heavy cargo industry to the next level. If anyone needs any support or guidance in this niche, we are here fr them.