The Way to Success: Specialists, Scandinavian Business Model and Satisfied Needs of Customers

2020.07.01

Next year, UAB Baltic Transline is going to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Having 8000 clients and more than 1320 employees, once a small transport and freight forwarding business, it has now grown into one of the largest logistics operators in Europe. The secrets of a successful transport business are revealed by Mindaugas Veselis, the CEO of this Lithuanian capital company.

For the Lithuanian transport sector, the last decade of the previous century and the beginning of this century were especially hard. The market demonstrated numerous changes of various intensity. Firstly, the economics went through vast restructuring that had an effect on the logistics and transport sector as well. Afterwards, Lithuania entered into a stagnant phase of preparing for the membership in the EU. Fortunately, it did not last long, as, after the accession to the European Union (EU), the country’s economy gained momentum. 2005 marked the beginning of the full membership, i.e. the period when the sector started developing, and our influence in Europe began to grow.

Growth Factors

That was how many logistics and transport enterprises could expand their activities and strive to become the leaders of their market. Baltic Transline has been one of them. During the first 7 years of its operation, the Company was able to expand its fleet of trucks from several to 80 vehicles and maintain its financial independence.

“One of the reasons, why our Company was able to reach the level it is at right now – the possibilities and markets that suddenly became open to us after joining the EU. When we started competing with European carriers, gaining strong position in the market became inevitable, and there was only one why to do it – by reaching a certain standard of prices and quality of the services we provided,” – elaborates M. Veselis.

At that time, it seemed significant to allocate the services of cargo transportation and freight forwarding to different business segments and to promote specific services to target customer groups. Baltic Transline was able to successfully apply certain globally known sales and marketing tactics.

“The main factors that have helped us to reach the current level are the concept of quality applied to our services, a top-notch team, its engagement as well as hard work, orientation towards the right goals and the right strategies, implementation and development of our internal procedures and an ability to properly assess our clients’ needs,” – the CEO of Baltic Transline indicates, sharing his experience.

Timely Response

According to him, constant lack of definiteness is a typical prerequisite for those working in the transport sector. If the demand/supply ratio reaches critical condition, it does not last for long. Constant planning and thorough observation of the surrounding environment and the entire business sector enable to respond to the changing condition and situation in the market promptly and efficiently.

Thus the Company’s decision to invest in the development of its fleet of trucks and reinforce the relationships with contractors and clients was made just at the right time. Due to this, the Company was able to expand the assortment of its services by adding new types of cargo, start working with new routes in Western Europe and Scandinavia, improve the quality of its services and concentrate on the optimization of costs.

“It was the huge contribution of our commercial executives to looking for new opportunities and the high-quality implementation of certain changes in our internal procedures that have helped the Company to avoid crisis and expand its business. By applying the most effective and suitable solutions and providing our clients with additional value, we were able to remain the leaders of the transport sector, even when no changes in the prices occurred,” – M. Veselis explains.

The Most Important Investment

When asked about the value of a transport company, businesspeople usually start considering its economic indicators – what is happening in the bank accounts, how much is the vehicle fleet worth, the number of clients or agreements concluded. These numbers are easy to determine and assess, and they can be really useful – for instance, in terms of your credit rating. However, another aspect that highly contributes to the company’s worth – its people – are often neglected. Employees make up an investment that generates a return that exceeds the realm of simply performing one’s daily duties. All other obstacles aside, the greatest challenge in the transport sector is creating jobs that would satisfy loyal specialists and make them stay.

“In transport business, the biggest difficulty is to assemble and maintain a team of motivated and ambitious specialists. To create jobs that would motivate people to pursue the Company’s goals, at the same time striving after personal improvement or career advancement, – says M. Veselis. – We want our people to become better, share their experience with their colleagues and acquire new knowledge while attending various courses and seminars. We want them to feel professionally satisfied and unlock their true potential.”

Appropriate Business Models

In their activities, UAB Baltic Transline applies the Scandinavian business model. The organizational structure and the business methods of Scandinavian companies compel admiration of the entire world. Such companies do not have business gods with inflated egos. Heads of enterprises believe in democratic management and respect for all of their employees, in spite of their positions or the level of knowledge. CEO offices and clearly defined boundaries between the administration and the specialists do not exist.

“Our heads do not work having barricaded in separate offices, and this ensures close communication. We include our employees into the process of making decisions, so they feel responsible for finding timely and appropriate solutions,” – M. Veselis explains.

“In our Company, we work hard to maintain a business culture, based on equal rights and democracy. And this approach to its staff is what makes Baltic Transline different from other enterprises in the country. The only resources that truly matter are human resources, so, in our company, mutual respect, close communication, an ability to understand one another and the value that our staff creates for the business, are especially appreciated,” – the CEO states.

In the Scandinavian countries, the so called human capital is understood as the starting point of the company’s possible success. This attitude has created a dialogue-based management style and led to the equality of all Baltic Transline employees.

Gift to Your Team

The rapidly growing group has recently moved into a new office in Kaunas – a gift given by the Company to its team. “As we have been steadily growing for the last five years, and the needs of our staff have changed accordingly, we aimed at creating an attractive and modern working environment – that was the reason we kept looking for a spacious office that could comfortably accommodate an exponentially growing team of specialists. While searching for the right premises, we prioritized comfort in terms of their location and the possibilities they provide to create an environment that would satisfy the Company’s needs,” – claims the CEO of the corporate group.

Now the bureau in Kalantos 49 Business Centre hosts more than 300 employees of BTL Group that previously worked in different offices around Kaunas. The interior design of the new premises oozes industrial style and comfort, as employees have not only working spaces but also relaxation, communication and collaboration areas at their disposal. The overall office space rented is 2500 square meters. It is dominated by open spaces, natural lighting and functional zones that are equipped with humidification and ventilation systems. There are 7 meeting rooms, a conference hall, 3 kitchenettes, a dining room and a 300 m2 leisure area where people are encouraged to rest, communicate or play table tennis – all located on four floors.

A certain playfulness in the office is created by an ascending wooden construction of stair-steps that become places to sit on during events or gatherings. The conference hall nearby provides a convenient space for training, seminars and business meetings.

What is more, the BTL Group employees have a unique privilege to spend time on a private rooftop terrace overlooking the city.

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