TAPA RECOGNISES THE REAL ROMANIA

Mention Romania in the context of cargo crime and many supply chain security professionals’ thoughts will immediately turn to the threats posed by organised crime gangs and the now infamous ‘Romanian M.O’ method of stealing goods from moving trucks.

 

 

In reality, the thousands of professional Romanian companies, trucks and drivers delivering products safely across Europe face the same challenges and risks as their European counterparts, both in Romania and across the continent. In other words, it’s wrong to judge an entire national industry on the basis of the criminal activities of a minority of individuals. The same stereotypical view could just as easily be applied to almost any other country in the world today.

In recent months, TAPA EMEA has been seeking ways to actively engage with members of the Romanian transport and logistics industry to promote the value of joining the Association with the support of Bucharest-based Ionel Popa, General Manager of the private security company, WindOne. In the last two months, this has included giving TAPA presentations at the Expo Tranzit, Transport 4.0, and Ziua cargo conferences.

Ionel is a clear advocate of the benefits TAPA can offer, stating: “I strongly believe that every Eastern European professional in the supply chain world - irrespective of whether they’re drivers, managers, company owners, etc. - should be aware of the TAPA values and practices, about the security risks on European roads, about other challenges in this common market, and the best practices and newest technologies in this industry. In the end it's about getting involved in something that is addressing them. They should see TAPA as a family they can belong to. Good people and professionals should be together in fighting organised crime, no matter if they are Romanians, Germans, Polish, Dutch, Italians or Hungarians etc.”

He adds: “It is also incumbent on TAPA to move closer to its audience. We can have the best standards, professionals, training sessions and practices in the world but these need to be properly understood and embraced across the entire industry. I had the great pleasure of talking about the TAPA Standards, certifications, industry challenges and statistics at three local conferences and the feedback was tremendous. I think people can identify themselves with the entire TAPA commitment, work and concept. I believe we will see more and more Romanian Logistics Service Providers going for TAPA membership, training and Standards, and we will see customers demanding TAPA Standards in their tender documents.”

Loredana Dan, Business Development Manager, of International Alexander represents one of the companies Ionel is talking about. International Alexander joined TAPA EMEA in February this year and is already making a positive commitment to realising the benefits the Association offers. Vigilant invited Loredana to tell us more … 

Please introduce us to your company?

International Alexander Holding is an independent transport and  logistics company founded in 2003 and under 100% Romanian ownership. We employ almost 1,000 people in Romania, Hungary, Serbia and Germany and currently operate a fleet of over 400 of our own trucks and more than 450 trailers, 7.5 tonne trucks and vans for express transports. Our core  business consists of road transportation (FTL, LTL, express, groupages, distribution) and additional logistics services such as warehousing, inbound/outbound activities within  customers’ factories, Air & Sea Departments, and Service & Recovery.

What prompted you to join TAPA?

On one hand, our management team considered that TAPA membership will increase the overall experience and satisfaction of our customers with International Alexander. On the other hand, our top customers from the automotive industry, electronics, FMCG and other industries expect us to be up-to-date and aligned with the best-in-class standards and approaches in the supply chain world. As such, joining TAPA was a natural decision to make.

What are your initial impressions of the Association?

I think it is very important for the transportation industry to understand the importance of security during transport and logistics operations. TAPA’s mission and values ​should be embraced by any company in the supply chain field. It is highly important to acknowledge that TAPA is a non-profit organisation which provides the highest quality security standards and know-how, developed and supported by trusted transport and logistics security specialists. For us, the IIS information sharing process is very important as we are always trying to be proactive in planning our activities and be precise in our services promise to our customers.

From my perspective, the world of supply chain, with all its related services, has to go in the direction of providing better quality and security to its customers, and this will be a key differentiator in the coming period. Opening up to new trends and taking a proactive approach often makes the difference!

Do you intend to adopt TAPA’s Security Standards?

Whether you are talking about your personal or professional life, the good things happen when you make one step at a time and focus on building a strong foundation for the steps to come. As such, our vision and decision was to go for TSR Level 3 certification, considering the fact that our fleet consists mostly of soft-sided trailers. The next step would be TSR 1 certification as part of our strategy to develop a new business pillar related to high value goods.

In terms of warehousing, we are building our own A-class warehouses in Timisoara, Sibiu and Bucharest, which will have the FSR requirements as part of the development process and, later on, the FSR Level A certification. Our existing Arad warehouse will go for FSR A certification later this year too.

Also, we are planning to consider the PSR requirements for all of our owned parking locations.

 

How would you describe the pre-certification process?

We started by becoming a TAPA member, followed by conference and training participations, the appointment of our internal auditor and completion of the TSR exam,  implementation of the TAPA requirements in our internal procedures/processes, technology alignment and our application for TSR 3 certification. Also, in parallel, we initiated the high value fleet construction by ordering our first TAPA TSR 1 compliant trucks and trailers.

I would not describe this pre-certification process as a difficult one as long as you have the company management’s commitment, the right people by your side during this entire journey, and you are making one step at a time.

The pre-certification process itself is helpful for every employee, from the drivers to the top management. Each employee and department is part of the process and only a complete and engaged team will be able to correctly apply the processes in order to achieve the positive long-term benefits. By having these common goals clearly defined, the team members are getting the chance to develop themselves.

 

What is your message to other companies considering joining TAPA?

The message for all small, medium and large companies is to adhere to a well-organised, procedural way of working and to get involved in this professional association that can really make a visible contribution to their operations.