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9/5/2013
“It´s all in the mix”

He has served as the new Managing Director for Finance, Legal, and Tax (FLT) at DACHSER since July 1.
Interview-Burkhard-Eling
Burkhard Eling

Burkhard Eling, 42-year-old industrial engineer, is succeeding Professor Dr. Dieter Truxius, who will remain a member of the company’s management until the end of the year, when he will retire. A conversation about being the new arrival at a family-owned business.

Mr. Eling, you’ll be succeeding Professor Dr. Truxius as Managing Director for Finance at DACHSER on July 1. Just how big are the shoes you will be filling?

Burkhard Eling: My predecessor’s shoes are very big indeed. But I had the advantage of a one-year transitional phase, when, with his help, I was able to familiarize myself with the company and the DACHSER network at a really intense pace. Pretty soon it became apparent that we operate on the same wave length. Professor Dr. Truxius had a similar experience as a young man: someone helped him learn about the issues that were important for a company. So now he did the same
for me, and I am very grateful to him.

What did you do during this transitional phase?

During the first sixmonths, I learned the lay of the land throughout the network, spending severalweeks at the various branch offices; I acquired some up close and personal experienceof short-distance transport in trucks and also got to know quite a few storagefacilities. It was and is very important for me to understand the day-to dayrealities of how DACHSER earns its money. I have a great deal of respect foreach and every employee who contributes to the process. Then, in the followingsix months, I spent my time in the head office in Kempten, immersing myself inthe workings of the Finance, Legal, and Tax Department.

You bring your extensive international experience in foreign corporations to the table. As a manager, what is the most exciting thing to you about globalization?

Globalization is happening—whether we want it or not. The markets are moving closer together, information is shared more quickly, connections are getting easier. For me personally, I find the greatest appeal in the “think globally—act locally” approach. In global logistics, we need a fine-tooth comb to look at whom we work with at the local level and how. Therefore, we must also understand the cultural background, different work methodologies, and educational and hierarchical structures. For me, the true artistry lies in consistently finding the best way to move forward together.

What do you think is special about working at a family-owned company?

The big advantage of the family-owned company DACHSER is that—unlike many exchange-listed companies it can develop more strategically and can grow in a healthy way based on a solid financial structure. Besides, we have the flexibility that is necessary in order to thrive in a global setting. Rigid corporate structures that are driven by short-term shareholder value tend to hinder rather than help.

The last few years saw very turbulent events on the financial markets. Given those circumstances, how do you view DACHSER’s equity ratio of 41 percent?

Long-term, sustainable growth is possible only when the financial structure rests on a solid foundation. This is how the market views it as well. When DACHSER financed its Iberian acquisitions by way of a loan from investors secured by promissory note, there was a big run on it. DACHSER is seen as a company that manages money responsibly and, due to its investments, is growing cautiously but very steadily.

More and more frequently, logistics services are associated with increasingly complex challenges and multifaceted service components. What does this mean for the area of controlling?

The key to success isa business operationsoriented controlling structure. Because on the one hand, wehave to be able at all times to provide our decision makers with the underlyingdata and figures that map the complexity of these service components, while onthe other hand, we need to condense them into just a few key figures to supporttheir decision-making process. Additionally, it is important that DACHSER’sControlling knows the particularities of our operational business processesvery well. This is the only way we can provide the analyses and recommendationsfor future action that are truly helpful for the country and branch managers.

What are your medium-term and longterm strategic objectives?

Strategic investments are crucial for the company’s organic growth. This is why I would like to continue to reinforce our controlling systems in order to support this process and advance the company’s interests. This is the reason why we are particularly focused on invested capital effectiveness. Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) provides one such key figure. Breaking down this figure transparently, communicating it to our branch managers, and establishing it as a decision-making tool will help us continue to expand DACHSER while collaborating even more closely.

What is your personal and entrepreneurial motto for your new responsibilities at DACHSER?

I am particularly fascinated by how people of the most diverse backgrounds—French, Spanish, Czech, British, American, Chinese, and German—work successfully within the DACHSER network: the many individual efforts, the expertise, and the experience are all woven together and create a living process that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s all in the mix—that is my personal, entrepreneurial motto, which I experience as a challenge—but also as a source of pleasure— in my daily work.

What is the “combination” you use to lock in the balance between your work life and your personal life?

(laughs) 70 – 25 – 5! I associate what is important for me with these numbers—my work, my family, sports. My family, with my three children, is a precious asset from which I draw a great deal of strength.

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