Field Trip_ Maritime Industries_ 20100423

Posted: April 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: maritime industries | No Comments »

On 23rd Apr, UMN team made a third field trip. The aim of trip is to learn more about Ningbo Maritime industries and investigate the routine duties and working conditions of the involved labours. About the observation spots, we chose two companies as they are in different roles and with different environmental cultures within logistics industries. Group A including Ned, Angela, Yulin visited Ningbo branch of CMA, one of world’s largest shipping companies; Group B, Mukda and I, visited one local logistics agency named Ningbo Maoyu International Freight Agency. To briefly compare two companies, the former is obviously bigger in size and more cosmopolitan of corporate culture; CMA is a shipping company providing carrier service for transporting goods and Maoyu is a forwarding agency which in fact doesn’t have cargo but only work as a coordinator linking and smoothing the communication between shippers, carriers and other relevant links within the whole logistics network.

As located in Ningbo, Maoyu starts its business on the base of geographical advantage with local foreign trade economics and maritime economics. For one end, it has a big market of exporting customers; for the other end, the Ningbo port brings about a plenty of shipping companies to forward the products internationally. Maoyu as well as most logistics agencies find their business opportunity from connecting these links, so the communication efficiency is one of the most important tasks for them. As for routine duties, the different role in company has different job. For example, sells men to find customers, buyers to compare and negotiate forwarding prices with different shipping companies, and then, after order is placed, the documentation specialists to deal with booking, cargo trailer, customs declaration, commodity inspection and etc.

Because Maoyu is not a big company and quite a free styled privately-owned enterprise, the working environment is casual and eased. No formal dress is requested and non business talk is fine as well. Meanwhile, there is no KPI (Key Performance Indicators) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) to systematically measure the employees’ performance but only depending on customer numbers, profit margin, workload and working behaviour. The only visible measurement on site is clocking machine. Though the physical environment seems quite informal here, the working pressure still exists everywhere. For sells man, they have to keep good relationship with existing customers and search for new ones; for buyers, they have to negotiate lower prices from shipping companies so as to compete with other forwarding agency; for documentation specialists, their job is most detailed and trivial, so intensive concentration and well-organized personality are requested. For all of them, working over-time or working outside workplace is quite normal.

Besides with social ability, computer skill is also a very important way to increase communication efficiency. Instant massager like MSN or QQ are used to not only timely report updated information to customers, but also track and trace shipment from carriers. Other software like Cargo2000 as an internal data system and communication platform can help keep the orders systematically and follow up the processing more easily.

From the field observation of Maoyu International Freight Agency Ltd, we learned that such a small but well functioned company can also do a good job in connecting logistics network and keep every shipment forwarding smoothly. The only product provided by this freight agency is service. The service suppliers themselves is also another type of logistics, more preciously, the logistics of communication. While cargo is forwarding the goods between disconnected destinations, the labour of freight agency is shipping the communication within disconnected links in maritime industries.

Below is a short video recording the working state of a documentation specialist

(while keying in the information to data system on computer, she is calling for the update on QQ)


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