Roland Raith, Managing Director of Gebrüder Weiss Serbia – Only companies with strong will for innovation will remain successful on the market
Roland Raith (Photo: Gebruder Weiss)
Gebrüder Weiss Serbia is currently managing 380,000 shipments p.a. for its clients in Serbia with more than 250 employees located at 3 sites and a total area of 40,000 m². In an unpredictable situation they faced in the middle of March, the only certain solution was to embrace the change and adapt as quickly as possible, Roland Raith, who was appointed Managing Director of GW Serbia in late 2019, says for eKapija. In his interview for our portal, he looks back on the first year, announces new investments in Serbia, but also reveals what the biggest challenges were for the company during the pandemic and what he is the proudest of in the past period.
– From day one, we have taken all necessary measures in terms of protecting the health of our employees and partners, remaining focused on our core processes and flexible in order to provide the best possible service. We have provided an unobstructed supply chain and created a stable support system for our clients, offering them solutions which have enabled them to maintain their business in those difficult times.
eKapija: What were your main goals when you took over that position, and did you manage to fulfil some of them?
– My main goal was to, together with my team and partners, strengthen and further build our position on the market. We want Gebrüder Weiss brand to be recognizable by the values it nurtures: Independence, Sustainability, Commitment and Service Excellence. And, in our daily acting with our business environment, we want to walk the talk.
Even this year, which was interfered with a lot of unforeseeable proceedings, we could manage to fulfil most of our targets.
eKapija: What was your biggest challenge and what are you most proud of?
– In spite of the string of various challenges in 2020, we could continue our way of being a trustable quality service provider on the Serbian market.
I am proud of our employees who have been, and still are determined to go this way. The way they are committed to the company, especially in the times of the pandemic, is priceless for Gebruder Weiss. Thanks to them, our business has been stable since the beginning - we have managed to keep all our locations worldwide fully operational.
eKapija: What are the most significant changes that have happened recently in the transport and logistics sector?
– Due to the global lifestyle changes caused by pandemic, we have noticed that some of business areas have faced lower demand, while others have marked significant increase. Throughout this situation, we have remained devoted to our clients, paying close attention to their needs and doing our best to provide top quality service and support for them.
The market needs, especially in difficult times, reliable and strong partners and we are pleased to see that Gebrüder Weiss has managed to make our service solutions in combination with our company values were very accepted during this year on the market.
eKapija: Did the pandemic speed up the digitalization in this sector?
– Yes, definitely. The industry of logistic and transport is no exception in the worldwide digitalization. In order to make your business competitive, efficient, consistent and of top quality, you have to follow the trends and keep up with the world.
Not only we as a company use the latest IT solutions, but we provide tailor-made IT solutions for our clients’, logistics needs and a number of eServices to help them reach their goal quickly and save time and money. Each of our customers can access a digital platform to keep track of all the relevant information (orders, inventory, order history, etc) and to submit a non-binding transport request and get information about toll fees in the road pricing area.
With a goal to further improve our customer communication, Gebrüder Weiss is taking another big step towards digitalization. We have developed myGW customer portal, a digital platform which brings together all our online services, offering our customers individually adjusted structure and direct access to their relevant data at any time. The platform will be fully introduced to the Serbian market till middle of 2021.
Although this kind of service is very useful for our partners, I have to add that these electronic procedures will not replace the personal contact which is still a key element in our business.
eKapija: How do you assess the market situation in transport and logistics?
– Since June, the market situation is stable again. The trend to B2C and eCommerce will continue. In current situation it is important to be flexible and adjust regularly according the situation on the market. The last months show also, how important is the Transport and logistics sector in general. Companies need a stable supply chain, to be able to stay focused on their core businesses. The next year will be still challenging and only companies with strong will for innovation will remain successful on the market.
eKapija: To what extent are you satisfied with the results that the company has accomplished in 2020?
– In Q2 we had an impact of corona, but we are satisfied with Q1, Q3 and Q4. We were able to gain new customers and reach our budget targets. We started to offer our clients new digital services, which improve our transparency and made the communication with us more user friendly and simpler. We have also strengthened the cooperation with our partners, and we have invested in our employees. All of this combined led to increasing our performance on the market.
eKapija: What are GW plans for the next period?
– We plan to continue to develop our business and keep strengthening the position of the company in Serbia. In our path of further growth, we remain focused on economic, environmental and social sustainability. This is substantial to our quality commitment policy, and we are on global and on the local level, committed to achieving long term success, seeking more environment-friendly transport solutions and contributing to the development of the social environment in which we operate. Our plan is to further invest in 2021, more specifically we plan to invest 350,000 euros in our infrastructure in Serbia.