Moving bananas in a digital age
Kuehne + Nagel’s integrated IT systems
Rule number 1 when dealing with bananas: Do not store them in your fridge or the skin will turn black. Especially in Europe, we might want to take note of this advice, since bananas have already come a long way until they arrive at our doorstep. Although they are the most traded fruit worldwide, transportation and storing of this commodity is sensitive.
Robert Mant, Vice President Global Reefer Sales, has been in the fruit transportation business for 27 years. His job at Kuehne + Nagel is to look at the requirements of customers in the perishables business on a global scale. Not surprisingly, then, Robert is well aware of what fruit producers and customers are looking for in a logistics partner. He follows up on their changing needs and shares this knowledge with our global network of experts. “My goal is to leverage our global network of KN FreshChain professionals across the world to achieve the best results for the customer.”
Initially, Robert was at the other side of the negotiation table himself, entrusting bananas and pineapples of a previous employer to Kuehne + Nagel. His experience on the customer side allows him to place himself in the customer’s shoes. “What I already learned back then is, if something is promised by Kuehne + Nagel, it will be delivered. That’s crucial in this business. And as a customer, it gives you peace of mind.”
This positive experience, along with Kuehne + Nagel’s renowned in-house perishable expertise, operational excellence, and IT capabilities, steered Robert’s decision to join the company almost two years ago. In the digital age, with real-time data increasingly gaining importance, those IT capabilities have become a big selling point.
“The customer, especially in the fast-paced perishables business in which timing is essential, likes to know exactly where the cargo is. When will it be shipped? When will it arrive? Are there problems on route? One of our biggest assets are our integrated IT systems which provides this transparency to the customer.”
Even Robert himself has been amazed by Kuehne + Nagel’s deliberate strategies and advanced digital solutions, exclaiming that “the company’s capabilities are far more than I thought they were before I started working here in 2017”. And part of this strength lies in its people: “Working here has been very eye opening and positive. The group I belong to in Bremen is a tight-knit management team, but we’re part of the huge seafreight teams we have all over the world. Each and every person matters to create the best possible customer experience.”