I would like more drive, so that employees in the company treat their work not just as an obligation that must be fulfilled, but so that we resemble a kind of sect of madmen who believe in what they are doing.
Kirill Yuryevich, when did you realize that logistics is your vocation? How did your professional career begin?
It all happened by accident. I worked as an IT-specialist and was looking for an opportunity to go to work in a foreign company. It was back in 1992. I applied to a recruitment agency and was informed that right now there was a vacancy for a director of informatics and logistics at the «Hilti» (a construction organization). And if I understood very well what the informatics was at that moment, I didn't even know what the logistics was. But at that time, understanding the basics of computers and the ability to speak English well were absolutely key advantages, and therefore I was immediately taken to this position. And then it has gone! I have a large master class dedicated to my life path, how I went through various twists and turns, and from time to time various institutes invite me to tell students about it.
STS Logistics has a reputation for actively implementing digital technologies in the enterprise. Which areas of operational activity are now maximally automated, and in which areas still mainly use a human labor?
Digitalization is a whole world, and from my point of view, our company is now only on the first stage of this world, we are trying not even to automate, but simply to digitize the work of our employees. What we have been doing for the last three years, in fact, is creating an internal ERP. This is when employees enter information into a single system so that it does not have to be brought there several times. And this is not something that is a breakthrough and changes the world, it is just the digitization of the work of employees. Because it is possible to build bricks in the information base, optimize work, integrate with the personal accounts of our contractors, pump large amounts of information, analyze BigData and draw conclusions based on everything. We are still on the start position in it. Nevertheless, now we have almost completely managed to introduce all our activities into a single digital database (TsOB). And at the moment, we are launching more and more products in this data center, it remains only to start foreign economic activity there. After that, we will be dealing with such conditionally "delicious" things as process optimization and personal accounts. There will be a lot of interesting things!
As for manual labor – there are a lot of things that can be done better and faster than we are doing now. But often you are faced with a situation when it is elementary cheaper to do with your hands than to use automation, robots. For example, it is no secret that in our company about 60% of employees are warehouse employees. They work in the WMS (Warehouse Management System) information system. These people receive a task on the screen of the radio terminal and go to perform it. Even today, there are robots that can provide horizontal movement of cargo around the warehouse and perform other elementary operations. That is, we are at the initial stage of robotics, when, from the point of view of the information process, it is already quite realistic to replace human personnel with robots, but we do not do this for one simple reason – people are cheaper, but in the process of scaling robotics will become cheaper and in the future five years we will be able to reduce the staff at least twice simply due to robotics.
It is known that in 2020, STS Logistics did not reduce people, despite the difficult economic situation in the country. Due to what it turned out not to go into a deep minus and save the frames?
It was a big complex decision, because already in March last year we understood that the pandemic is a large-scale event. We had no idea how long-term, we thought that from three months to six months. And it turned out that for more than a year people have been wearing masks and observing other restrictions. At that moment, we developed three scenarios. All of them were associated with the loss of revenue and with the redistribution of work. It was obvious that, depending on which scenario we follow, such measures will have to be taken. And if we had followed a tough scenario, we would not have avoided staff cuts. But the situation has turned out for the better for us. This was partly due to the fact that many of our customers are grocery retailers and discounters selling inexpensive food products. Therefore, March 2020 was not unprofitable for us. On the contrary, it was the second New Year, because everyone was buying buckwheat with stewed meat and all this had to be loaded and exported more. And this foresight of the situation, calculating and building scenarios, allowed us to redistribute work between people, partially abandon outsourcing services and, as a result, we retained the staff, the wage fund and did not lower anyone's salary. Everyone paid on time and avoided large-scale cuts. This is a managerial success.
Which business direction currently focuses the maximum amount of resources and for what reason (innovation or the most popular)?
We are engaged in complex logistics of 3PL. Our task is to move goods from door to door, taking into account all the intermediate stages. These are international transportation, customs clearance of goods, domestic transportation, warehouse operations, and so on. Depending on the needs of our customers, we quickly rebuild our customer flows and business processes. For example, now the multimodal and warehouse business is in great demand. Against this background, we are launching additional warehouse operations. It is good when customers make orders for turnkey work that is not related to individual transportation and operations, but rather complex solutions.
Our foreign economic activity is developing well, when we buy goods abroad in the interests of the client, do customs clearance, bring them to Russia, put them in several warehouses and deliver them to retail outlets. And this is an interesting business, because it allows you not only to perform elementary operations, but also to balance the loads of our resources so that at the right time a certain product in the required volume gets to the right place. Do you know, there is such a thing-7R? This is a rule of logistics. It can be formulated as follows: "Delivery of the right products in the right quantity and quality at the right time to the right place to a specific consumer with optimal costs". Just such complex solutions allow you to build logistics so that everything turns out correctly.
In which regions of Russia and abroad do you see a further expansion of the presence of STS Logistics?
I would like the company to grow not in terms of geographical coverage of everything and everything, but growth due to the focus on specific areas of activity, primarily for Russia, because I see a great unrealized potential here. I wanted to increase our opportunities in St. Petersburg, in my opinion they are clearly insufficient there. We could also be present on a larger scale in the Volga region, particularly in Tatarstan. There is a huge potential in the Far East, which we are not fully implementing now. We need to increase capacity in those places where we are already present. We do not see any development in Uzbekistan or Syria yet. We feel great in the Krasnodar Territory (Rostov, Novorossiysk), we have a fairly strong presence there.
Trends in logistics for the next 10 years – what else is utopia, and without which it becomes difficult to compete already in 2021?
Most large companies have so-called logistics radars. This is a vision of innovation for the near and long term. For us, the primary innovations are integration processes with our customers. For example, with Procter&Gamble, we have implemented an IT solution of the blockchain level, when we form and transmit information using electronic document management. With this Procter solution & Gamble can exchange data with X5, highlighting important information about the product in blocks. For example: revenue from a certain product, the most significant type of product, which product is ending its shelf life, and which product is not in stock (is ending), and so on. A total of 11 parameters can be analyzed according to this solution. Based on the received data, you can select the goods and ship them in batches during the working day. Procter & Gamble sees the status of the warehouse online because we quickly upload information. Accordingly, X5 also sees this and can select more significant goods for shipment now. As a result, the losses of the X5 store from the sale of Procter&Gamble products will be significantly less, the profit will grow.
What qualities of character have become key in your professional career?
Perhaps the most important thing is to maintain calm and confidence in the correctness of your actions. Business, especially in Russia, is associated with countless challenges, both internal and external. Sometimes it seems that you are just sitting on a bomb that is about to explode and only some inner confidence that you can overcome it allows you to live and work on, not to break into a thousand small parts, not to give up everything, not to sleep and not to leave.
Cooking is your hobby. Do you have a special author's dish that you are proud of?
When you give a lot of energy to work, it needs to be restored somewhere. Music, sports, cooking - these are the sources, in addition to communication with loved ones, from where I can draw energy for recovery. I wanted to learn how to cook professionally, so I took two courses of Arkady Novikov and now I cook at the level of a semi-professional chef. At this level, you stop thinking with ready-made recipes. I come to the market, look at meat or fish, look for the freshest and various cooking options arise in my head, with what and how this product can be combined. It's not really improvisation. This is an understanding of what goes well with what. Sometimes these combinations are completely unexpected. For example, you can combine Feta cheese with watermelon and pour Balsamic sauce on top. Try it, the result will surprise you. There is a good book "The ABC of taste". It tells exactly about the combination of tastes, sometimes they are completely extraordinary, but if you understand how it works in general – very interesting solutions are obtained.
Business plans for the 2nd half of 2021?
The second half of the year is always much better than the first, including due to the lack of long holidays. I have a very optimistic attitude for this period. We participate in a large number of tenders, the company is moving forward. I would like more drive, so that employees in the company treat their work not just as an obligation that must be fulfilled, but so that we resemble a kind of sect of madmen who believe in what they are doing. In this case, this is the most correct business organization. This" burning " state is characteristic of startups. But I would like to take the company out of the already measured, established state and stir it up a little.