The Business Year

Javier Echenique

SPAIN - Transport

Javier Echenique

Managing Director Iberia, ID Logistics

Bio

An industrial engineer from the Polytechnic University of Madrid with an MBA from ESADE Business & Law School, Javier Echenique was director of human resources at ID Logistics in Spain from 2006, when ID Logistics landed in Spain, until 2015, when he was appointed Managing Director. He has developed a long career in the logistics sector in companies such as Tibbett & Britten, Exel Logistics, and DHL, in which he has held various responsibilities, both operational and management, with clients from various sectors.

One of the leaders in logistics in Spain, ID Logistics is working on various innovation projects to improve logistics processes and develop more efficient operations.

ID logistics, with a presence in Spain since 2006, has become one of the leaders in logistics here, with more than 1.15 million sqm in Iberia. How has the company evolved since then?

We launched in Spain in 2006 and set up our first operations base in Valencia. We focus mainly on what is known as contract logistics, which essentially involves large warehouses. In 2006, we started out in Valencia with a single operation involving the retail sector. We then continued with additional contracts up until 2012. In that same year, the group acquired CEPL, a company focused on cosmetics and unit picking. This was a significant milestone for us here in Spain. Then, in 2016, we went on to acquire Spanish company Logiters. The company was a market leader in pharma, consumer, and retail. This acquisition also allowed us to entry into Portugal.

Globally, ID logistics recorded 7.1% growth in 2020 compared to 2019. What factors propelled this growth?

At a global level, several factors drove our growth. First, many new customers have put their trust in us. In addition, the e-commerce and retail sectors have seen significant growth. This is especially true for the food sector of retail, since the closure of the Horeca channel has redirected consumption. Generally speaking, these factors have influenced the growth of the company at a global level. That said, some sectors, such as automotive, have been negatively affected. The same can be said for the textile industry, though to a lesser extent. This is due to the fact it has been more adept in handling the switch from brick-and-mortar stores to e-commerce.

How important is cold storage for ID Logistics?

We currently have five main cold storage operations, as well as a number of small-scale undertakings. These five customers are located in Madrid and Zaragoza where we freeze and refrigerate products. One of these customers is the Auchan group, with whom we recently signed a deal for two new operations in Zaragoza as well as overseas.

How did you manage your relationship with your clients during COVID-19?

This pandemic has no doubt accelerated our digital transformation. For example, we have created new customer communication channels via platforms such as Power BI in order to offer immediate, round-the-clock visibility of our operations. This has forced us to digitalize administrative processes, not only via these platforms, but also in terms of transport.

ID Logistics is developing various own innovation projects to improve logistics processes, such as collaborative robots, software improvements, QR codes, IoT, and blockchain. Can you describe them?

These projects are split into three main groups. The first relates to the digitalization of data and administrative tasks. We have been working with software robots, intelligent business platforms, and demand forecasting tools for the last two years. A number of our digitalization projects are also related to processes. They encompass the automation of logistics platforms and robotization. This essentially involves replacing manual processes with robotic process automation, enabling a flexibility that large, automated processes or large automated machines cannot provide. This is particularly important for e-commerce. Finally, we have artificial vision, which helps us drastically reduce the time spent on calculating inventories. It is also used for label reading to improve quality levels and can even help to reduce training times. Again, this is particularly relevant for e-commerce where the reduction of training times is a priority to adapt quickly to short-terms picks.

What are your goals for 2021?

We will maintain sustainable growth, help our customers in both their digital and business transformations, and continue to make strides in innovation and digitalization by creating more efficient operations, adding value to the amount of data we manage and passing on that value to our customers so they can use it to improve their business. For the next five years, the other focus will be on corporate responsibility in terms of human capital and reducing our environmental impact proactively.

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