First Class Global Logistics
From its humble beginnings to its success today, Senator International's core has always been quality customer services and the solutions that provide them.
Freight forwarding is in Tim Kirschbaum’s blood. An industry veteran with years of experience, Mr. Kirschbaum is now the managing director of Senator International, the global logistics provider founded by his father, Uwe Kirschbaum, in 1984. Since its humble beginnings as a Hamburg-based family business with a staff of just nine, Senator has grown into a major player in the logistics industry with a thousand-strong team across offices worldwide.
With its roots in the airfreight market, Senator has diversified over the years to provide international freight, shipping, logistics, warehousing, and distribution services to customers worldwide. As a key member of the global management team, Mr. Kirschbaum directs Senator’s strategic vision and ensures that as the company grows, it always stands by its philosophy and performance benchmark: first-class global logistics.
“For me, Senator succeeds when customers are so pleased with our service that they prefers us - a medium-sized forwarder - to the big-name multinationals,” says Mr. Kirschbaum. “Our key differentiation has always been our personal care to customers and our IT solutions. So, in a world with more automated processes, more focus on KPIs and more IT integration between business partners, Senator’s technology has to be right up to date to help us maintain our success.
“The industry feels a lot of pressure on the margins. The forwarder has to battle to negotiate with customers, and there’s the constant fight to be profitable. Like many, we needed to reduce our costs. Only by optimizing operations with an integrated global system could we offer customers the best services and visibility, while improving our productivity and automation to keep costs down.”
Understanding the burden of building a resource-hungry, in-house system, Senator wanted an integrated and cost-effective SaaS solution that would provide high levels of functionality and global reach.
“More often than not, we meet customers’ needs through using state-of-the-art IT solutions, and the CargoWise One system helps us do just this,” says Mr. Kirschbaum. “Its Web Tracker function has the capability we were looking for—to fulfill our customers’ visibility demands—and the system has vastly increased our automation and integration, even with external solutions outside the system.”
With the new system in place, Mr. Kirschbaum says that the challenge for Senator was working out how to use it to improve operational efficiency without disrupting staff. “The huge levels of functionality in the system resulted in a change to our processes and the way we operated. To make this work, there also had to be a change in mindset for both staff and managers. We wanted our staff members to accept that we wouldn’t be adjusting the system to our processes, but adjusting our processes to the system in order to increase our productivity.
“We’ve been supported very well and, since implementation, our staff have taken to the system. It helps us monitor staff productivity so we can optimize processes, and it helps them do their job more efficiently.”
With more efficient staff, more productive processes, and a greater range of services, Senator can increase its ability to do what it does best: looking after its customers. “We now have functionalities that we didn’t have before that we can turn into direct benefits for our customers,” says Mr. Kirschbaum. “Although Senator is established in all of the main markets, we’re focused on expanding our network, and the operational improvements this system has given us will help us achieve that.”
Despite being a company with a global footprint, Senator has clearly never forgotten its first steps as a small business. Because of this, Mr. Kirschbaum says that quality customer service and support are and will always be the central focus of Senator’s strategy. “I love to move freight,” he concludes. “Even while I oversee the company’s overall performance, my goal is still finding innovative ways to give our customers that first-class service.”