Navigating through choppy waters of logistics
The Fast Logistics Group, led by the Chiongbian family, is no stranger to crisis.
Tracing back to its beginnings with William Lines, the most profitable shipping company during its heyday, Fast Logistics has survived through many challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic being just the latest.
And the group is determined to overcome the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns on the logistics sector through the leadership of William Chiongbian II, grandson of the founder of William Lines and president and chief executive officer of Fast Logistics.
“With 48 years in logistics, we have seen Philippine logistics from its beginnings to what it is now, a strong backbone of the fast-growing Philippine economy. Our business has evolved with the changes in the industry, and we see the significant increase in goods moving through the supply chain,” Chiongbian said.
Fast Logistics, reputedly the country’s largest logistics firm with the biggest warehousing footprint and largest fleet, considers itself fortunate that amid the pandemic, it was able to maintain operations, especially as the need to get essential goods—vaccines and medical equipment among them—flowing around the country to get to where they are needed the most became paramount.
It believed it was its responsibility to keep the nationwide supply chain intact despite the most restrictive lockdowns. Good thing then that business continuity is embedded in its culture given the group’s experience in navigating through crisis, from superstorms to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and now a pandemic.
“What also helped us face the challenge of this disruption is our focus on people, processes and delivering customer success. The pandemic just accelerated what we have identified as key priorities based on the needs of a fast-growing economy, with or without a pandemic. In 2020 and 2021, we doubled down on our investments in technology, e-commerce and cold storage,” he said.
Chiongbian said that during the past 18 months, Fast Logistics saw an increase in competition in the logistics field, but many of these are in the business-to-consumer segment, which has different needs compared to the large, fast moving consumer goods sector that it has traditionally served.
“Our experience and financial stability provided us with the reliability required by this segment. The pandemic forced businesses to streamline their operations, and being able to plug in our service platform to provide reliability helped make our relationships with our customers stronger,” he said.
And this closer relationship with customers, in turn, helped it keep its position as one of the leaders in the field.
“We always focus on supporting our customers to get ahead of their competition. And when we do that right, we in turn get ahead of our own competition,” Chiongbian said.
Fast Logistics also ramped up investments in technology amid the devastating pandemic, implementing innovations built on best-in-class industry practices for transportation and warehousing, as well as smart solutions that support vaccine delivery efforts.
By developing robust apps for monitoring and scheduling, as well as safe supply chain systems for business continuity, the company was able to keep essential goods moving.
“The pandemic has accelerated 10 years worth of digital transformation into just one year. Businesses that did not consider accepting ways of working digitally are now doing it as part of day to day operation. And that’s why more than ever, I believe tech is the way forward for Philippine logistics,” Chiongbian said. INQ
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