It is the 21st of December and for the first time in living memory it appears Christmas may pass without hearing Snoopy’s Christmas on the radio.
Perhaps it is because the public have finally tired of the Welsh Guardsmen, (I quite enjoy the song), but I suspect it may be down to a change in my habits, in the most part abandoning commercial radio for a monthly Apple subscription ($12) that dispenses with all advertising and inane radio hosts, and perhaps most importantly, recognises that the client can actually dictate what they listen to – a complete paradigm change over the traditional model.
As technology changes at a staggering rate, so must the how and why we do things, and unless we have the willingness to embrace change, we’ll quickly fall by the wayside, too far behind to ever catch up, “May the Devil take the hindmost”.
We’ve done our bit for technology this year as we do every year, continuing to invest heavily, especially in work flow processing software, new equipment, training and so on. Our “server room’, once full of expensive and complicated machinery and masses of wiring is now nearly empty with much of what we do now apparently stored “In the “Cloud”, a concept I’m still trying to get my head around.
2017 was a year of change for us, and over the past 30 plus years, we’ve seen plenty of those, perhaps a better word may be “endured”. In 2012 we sold and moved from our massive facility in Pavilion Drive, having realised that much of what we were so busy doing simply was not worth the effort, exacerbated by suffering the death at work of one of our people.
We intended moving into a purely office based operation, but at the 11th hour we had a change of heart based around our long serving logistics team, instead amicably parting company with our biggest (and least profitable) warehousing account, and moving into a smaller warehousing facility.
Five years on it was time for us to again move, and to again part company with our biggest (and least profitable) warehousing account – hmmm, perhaps there is a trend emerging.
We’re now in what will be our final home – and we’re here for the duration! Our warehousing operation is very much in full swing, and as usual, tends to operate at well beyond 100% occupancy.
DGM also operate from the site, with two purpose built training rooms and masses of onsite parking, continuing to provide a complete end to end service for the forwarding and related industries.
So, besides the expense and huge effort required in moving 5000 mixed pallets of all manner of product, what else has 2017 served up to us? As usual, people have been the biggest influence, some standing head and shoulders above their peers, performing at a super human level, others disappointing, over promising and under delivering, and as they now appreciate, (no longer being with us), passengers don’t fare well on a purely freight environment.
We’ve seen the benefits of several long term projects come together – having invested huge amounts of time, effort and resource the results are pleasing, perhaps a reminder of the old adage, “The harder we work, the luckier we get!”.
We were very encouraged and humbled at the universal reaction from clients as Chris made her final call to each prior to officially retiring on Dec 20th after 21 years’ service – she has been a stalwart, well liked and respected by clients, suppliers and peers alike, and has set a high standard for us to maintain into the future.
For the most part our existing clients appeared to have prospered in 2017, with many of the new clients who came on board having expectations of service over price, an area that few of our peers can compete.
Having said that the election brought with it a very mixed bag, an environment where a disparate 2nd, 3rd and 4th place became winners, and 9 years of stability, growth and a strong balance sheet were “put on hold” in favour of ideology and the desire for change. Whilst business confidence has hit new lows, time will tell how things pan out, the more experienced amongst us knowing that these come in cycles, and historically once the kitty has been emptied and credit exhausted, the wheel will inevitably turn once more as the economy seeks financial prudence.
We’re well placed to deal with whatever comes our way, with the depth of experience and financial stability to help flatten out the highs and lows of what may become a volatile economy and market place in the next year or two.
As always, we’ve drawn heavily on those experts in their field to add value to our clients, and by and large these relationships that have endured as much as several decades continue, inevitably based on good business practices, and the ethics and values of the founders. We’ve built on this list over 30 years, and it is a long and notable list, a veritable who’s who of good buggers who’d knock themselves out to help out under any circumstances, typically locally owned, and not the “fair weather friends” found in a corporate (multi-national) environment.
Unfortunately we’ve come across those who have disappointed us (and hopefully themselves), those who really would struggle in a “Money back guarantee” environment – unethical, immoral and incompetent. I’d be pleased to provide a list (and fortunately it is a short list) of those individuals and companies we’d never deal with again. I’d be pleased to share this list on a one on one basis – believe me, these rogues, shysters, charlatans and incompetents know who they are, some big names amongst them, corporate names that should be very ashamed of themselves, their people and their practices!
So, what will 2018 bring? Inevitably there will be up’s and down’s – freight rates will almost certainly increase across the board (which, when space is in short supply is a very good thing), the “lowest common denominator”, especially regards skill within the industry, will continue to fall (fortunately we buck this trend very strongly), and the economy may suffer.
On the Global stage many pundits predict that the political situation within a dysfunctional world may worsen, with North Korea being front of mind – I’m ever hopeful that eventually things will work themselves out, but being a long way from anywhere, the “Tyranny of distance” that has always been a feature of New Zealand life may prove a very distinct advantage.
As far as Malcolm’s go – we’ll continue on as we always have, “A family company with old fashioned values and state of the art technology”, blending those things that should never be forsaken or forgotten, with the willingness to venture into the unknown (the future), if it means we can better serve our clients.
It is only in being a strong and successful company that we can continue to support those within our community less fortunate than ourselves , something that we are committed to doing.
In closing, we thank our clients for the opportunity to serve, our service providers for enabling us to do so, our people for their dedication, commitment and loyalty, and look forward to doing it all again in 2018.
Whilst it may not be “PC” to do so in some quarters, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and New Year, and that 2018 will bring opportunity, prosperity and happiness.
Malcolm Total Logistics, Dangerous Goods Management and bio-bottle Ltd.