Increasing market share and developing technology platforms to become the leading provider of real-time load and safety data per trip are key priorities for logistics operator Crossroads in 2023.
Tasked with delivering this strategy is newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer Pieter Vermeulen, who took over from Arend du Preez at the end of November last year. Vermeulen is well-equipped to take on this mantle. He joined the Crossroads family in May 2016 as a finance executive, before being appointed as a director and Chief Financial Officer in 2017. He has since played a strategic and vital role in the successes the company has enjoyed over the past seven years.
Sharing his hopes and plans for the company, Vermeulen says he is committed to growing the Crossroads brand, establishing it as the leading specialised freight transport operator in Southern Africa. “We are starting from a great position,” he comments. “The company is already a leader in the logistics sector. We are seeking to build on our strengths in the industry. Our strategy going forward is very clear – we want to grow our business, deliver greater operational efficiency and increase the value-add to our customers.”
Part of the plan, continues Vermeulen, is to launch a professional driver academy to improve the skilled professional driver database. “Finding good, skilled drivers remains a challenge and a concern in our industry. With this in mind, we have set out to make a difference and are launching a new professional driver academy in January next year.”
With TETA-accredited training facilities at its disposal, this academy will be responsible for the upskilling of existing Crossroads staff, but also assist in creating a pool of available, professionally trained drivers for the industry.
As a specialised freight operator, adding value to customers in the niche markets they operate in remains integral to the company’s strategy. Vermeulen says that, as customers look to future-proof their supply chains, Crossroads is uniquely placed – thanks to its deep industry knowledge, innovative technologies and intimate customer focus – to deliver the necessary, sustainable and transformational solutions across the whole supply chain.
“We aim to instill a culture of value-add throughout our business, both to our customers and our internal and external stakeholders.”
He says 2022 was not easy on businesses, amidst ongoing global economic pressures. “We continue to see major instability in the volumes from month to month. We are, however, expecting to see this settle down in 2023 – this will allow us to drive our growth strategy.”
An important area for Vermeulen is staff development. “To me, it has always been important for staff to be empowered, irrespective of what role they have in the company. This enables staff to grow and become accountable in their areas of expertise,” he says. “The Crossroads family is blessed with super-talented individuals. I am most looking forward to unlocking the full potential of each of those individuals, as the benefits to the company will be immense.”
He emphasises that, as a business, Crossroads wants to be seen as ethical, compliant and professional. “Transport and logistics are an integral part of any economy. Within our industry, our goal is to be a leading service provider,” he continues. “We are small compared to many of our competitors, but we are large enough to offer the compliance and professionalism required to service large companies.”
Crossroads Chairperson Dr Anna Mokgokong says Vermeulen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in developing strategies to deliver logistics solutions that meet customers’ direct needs.
“The Board came to a unanimous decision to appoint Pieter as CEO. The combination of his experience, drive and culture makes him an ideal fit for Crossroads and our next stages of growth,” she says.
Operating for over 80 years, Crossroads is a key role player in the transport, logistics and supply chain management environment in Southern Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia with an associated footprint in Europe.