"Companies need to outsource such integration process to reduce time and costs. Our strengths lie in our knowledge of systems and complex trade requirements, and that we are able to work across many different platforms."
Can you tell us about the recent developments at BDP?
In 2017, BDP opened new offices across the globe, including Hyderabad and Vadodara (India), Paita (Peru), and Copenhagen (Denmark), and in 2018 we expanded to Nairobi and Mombasa (Kenya), a second office in Cairo (Egypt), and most recently, in Dublin (Ireland).
We continue to leverage our expertise in handling specialty shipments and dangerous goods to expand our reach to customers in other pivotal industries such as life sciences and healthcare. A key to BDP’s success is our unwavering focus on our customers’ needs when identifying new markets and frontiers. With such a clear objective, we evaluate the markets based on the needs or anticipated needs of our customers instead of economic ‘hype’.
How is BDP incorporating digitization into its operations?
At BDP, we have always focused on ways to simplify and streamline processes, making our customers’ supply chains seamless. We integrated a transportation management system to help our customers manage their businesses with maximum productivity and efficiency. We have also provided complete end-to-end visibility to our customers for over a decade with our BDP Smart® technology. BDP Smart® is a market facing visibility tool that aggregates data, tracks our customer’s inventory, and provides instant traceability including documentation timeliness, amongst others.
With blockchain technology being a major discussion point across industries, we are ahead of the curve so to speak as BDP Smart has employed facets of this technology for years (email and documents elimination, paperless documentation, track-and-trace, etc.) As BDP Smart® continues its evolution, we believe that the next-generation version of BDP Smart® is well positioned to serve as a key decentralized application (Dapp) on the global logistics blockchain. It will continue to be the front end and the customer’s point of access to this new world order. We envision a world whereby shippers will use BDP Smart® to digitally sign their blockchain bills of lading over to designated consignees. Carriers will be offered transparency to key data elements through public and private keys to improve on-time performance and ultimately achieve improved efficiency.
In an industry that has been relatively slow to embrace digitization, what do you believe is preventing its adoption?
Technology is readily available now but few have the inclination to adopt it as yet. For the lack of integration, it simply comes down to a lack of standardization by those entrenched players. That's why the industry is behind.
Collectively, an intervention from a government is necessary. In Singapore, this is not an issue but elsewhere in the ASEAN region, this is a problem.
It is important to have an integrated approach as a logistics company. Are companies more willing to outsource their technical systems to you?
BDP offers much value to the chemicals space especially during such current times of spinoffs and mergers. These mergers run into difficulties when leveraging their IT systems. This is where a company like BDP comes in. We handle these processes differently but under the same ownership of a company. Companies need to outsource such integration process to reduce time and costs. Our strengths lie in our knowledge of systems and complex trade requirements, and that we are able to work across many different platforms. As such, our customers have entrusted us to utilize our vast experience to manage the intricacies of their evolving supply chains.
Companies can utilize “outsourcing” in a variety of ways – one of which can be a method to reduce overall spend. As a company, we deploy certain facets of our internal processing as a way to manage costs. We have three Excellence, Process & Innovation Centers (“EPI Centers”) located in York, Pennsylvania; Prague, Czech Republic and our largest EPI Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where our team of 330 professionals ensures seamless data flow and order management for our global customers.
In an ever-changing regulatory environment, how are you seeing this impact your operations?
The entire work environment is going to be more regulated than ever. BDP is not spared either. Fortunately, our legal and compliance team work closely to support our tactical operations team well. Through highly informed and objective decision making on the regulatory framework, our Operations team meets all the regulations, and within the required time frame, as stipulated by the regulators. We often have to take on the role of a consultant other than our usual role as an executor.
Our regulatory compliance expertise is a differentiator for our customers. BDP’s global team is well-versed in the regulations and codes for dangerous goods. As a company, we continue to make sustainability a top priority – our team in Asia Pacific was recently recertified in ISO14001:2015, which reinforces our ongoing commitment to operating in an environmentally responsible manner. We also adhere to the strict guidelines and principles of Responsible Care® while handling the movement of chemical shipments.
BDP also creates customer value by organising and holding regulatory online webinars and conferences for our customers globally to share our knowledge on how to move goods around the world in full compliance with government regulations. In 2018, we have successfully held three Supply Chain Summits in Antwerp, Mumbai and Dubai, with four more sessions in Chicago, Houston, Shanghai and Singapore scheduled for the rest of the year.
What is the key to BDP’s plan moving forward?
We will continue developing new innovative solutions that meet the ever-changing needs of our dynamic customer base. As our customer base expands, so will we. We tap into new markets that can play crucial roles in an evolving global economy. We remain committed to our customers, by providing the unique value proposition we’ve created, based on over 50 years of industry expertise.