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Ceva says its culture will not change for the worse following its takeover by French shipping line CMA CGM – and, in fact, the company will see improvements.
Managing director Benelux Bart Beeks said the company had a “simple strategic framework”, but it was also “all about values”.
“It starts with trust and respect,” he told delegates at the 3PL Supply Chain Summit in Brussels. “We have a passion for team players – we only work in teams.
“We have the same values for everyone, blue collar, white collar, office management. We want people to be proud to be part of something successful. So we celebrate success.”
He said the key was a strong culture: “You cannot build it in three or six months.”
Ceva had been owned by private equity since it was formed out of the merger of TNT Logistics and EGL in 2006. Mr Beeks said it could be difficult to retain a long-term view and keep a strong culture with a private equity backer whose interest was generally short-term.
“We are now part of CMA CGM, a very strong, centralised French company – although there is always a little doubt over a Dutch-French company,” he joked.
The first task was to centralise and improve IT, he said.
“What CMA did better than Ceva was to have one IT process throughout the world. But all those systems were configured to book containers.
“We have different systems, warehouses – we need a good transport management system and warehouse management software – CMA can’t give us that solution. We need the freedom to build it and develop it, and we need to manage the data. CMA lets us do it.
“We need to make our systems one – we had EGL and so on and a lot of different systems. We made mistakes by not changing it earlier. A global company needs a global system.”
CMA CGM has centralised the companies’ recruitment effort through a global website. Mr Beeks insisted that one of Ceva’s strengths was an “extremely” high retention rate of staff.
“You don’t come here for a position, you come for a career, so you need a growth path for everyone in the company.”
However, over the next few months Ceva could see a significant turnover of people as CMA CGM enforces its own ideas and structure.
Not everyone is losing a job though. When asked why Ceva’s logo had changed, Mr Beeks said: “CMA is a family-owned company, headed by Rodolphe Saadé. He may be the chairman, but his sister does the marketing.
“CMA has allowed us our own identity, but made the logo just a little more corporate.”