The local office of TDG, a pan-European supply chain provider, beat off four shortlisted competitors to win the award for Best Third Party Logistics Provider in Ireland.
The award came from the Global Institute of Logistics, an independent forum for the industry that is on a drive to encourage its members to set up effective benchmarking to help clients realise the benefits of outsourcing elements of their supply chain, such as warehousing and transportation.
According to the Institute, TDG stood out in Ireland because of its transparency in the measurement of key performance indicators against service level agreements, demonstrating tangible benefits of the outsourcing model to its customers.
Brett Gourlie, business development manager at TDG Ireland, said that the local environment offers plenty of opportunities for an outsource provider: “Ireland is an export/import driven environment and as such the economies of scale are not always provided by the local players.” He does, however, acknowledge that there is still a big challenge for TDG in Ireland.
“Traditionally, Irish business would not look to outsource but they are coming round to seeing the benefits. It is improving but it is not as prominent in some sectors as it is in the UK. Indigenous businesses are heavily weighted to assets and manpower and they have their own problems with regard to developing the outsourcing function.”
This view mirrors Deloitte’s recently published global benchmarking study that identified a tendency among Irish organisations to put important information in ‘silos’ rather than concentrate on effectively managing an end-to-end supply chain.
Gourlie says that there is still a need to explain what outsourcing involves: “The process is not a six-month process. It can take 18 months to two years depending on the nature of the business. Traditionally it starts with sections, transport or warehousing or bits of both – then you would look at the broader supply chain to maximise competitiveness.”
On the wider relevance of supply chain management to the Irish economy Gourlie recognises the tax benefits for companies like TDG setting up in Ireland and the work of agencies like the National Institute of Transport and Logistics but says there is still work to be done. “From an operator’s point of view there are a number of elements that could be enhanced to ease the movement for freight.”
On the positive side, he sees that Ireland’s high-tech image is fuelling advancements in the supply chain: “The sophistication of the IT and pharmaceutical sectors would have driven the provision of high value IT solutions. These are now feeding into retail, FMCG [fast moving consumer goods] and the industrial sector.”
TDG Ireland employs over 410 staff operating from 12 locations around the country, including Dublin City, Cork, Dundalk and Lisburn. Blue-chip customers include leading FMCG brands as well as companies from the retail and pharmaceutical sectors.
By Ian Campbell
Pictured at the presentation of the The Global Institute of Logistics Award for Best Third Party Logistics Provider in Ireland 2004 were, left to right, John McCormick, managing director of TDG Ireland and Kieran Ring, CEO of The Global Institute of Logistics