In the August / September 2017 issue, Ideal Trasporti Logistica was the subject of an article in the magazine AZIENDE IN MOVIMENTO, below we report the complete article:
The essence of transport and logistics, at least with respect to specific types of goods, can be grasped first with the senses that with the brain. It is definitely the sense of smell to play the lion’s part. I realize immediately when, in an hour of chat with Filomena Mezzomo, director of logistics (as well as the holder) of Ideal Transport Logistics (ITL), the term “fragrance” is pronounced at least a dozen times. In some cases to describe a convivial climate to be breathed, in others the fragrant impact that is emitted when opening a temperature-controlled semi-trailer, in others still to describe the added value of a load of aromatic plants. On the other hand, here we are in Fondi, the town in the province of Latina where one of the main Italian and European fruit and vegetable markets is located. So it must be normal for those who spend a lot of time in close contact with fresh fruit and vegetables to develop a special smell and be able to mark the time that passes in relation to the scents and colors of the products that pass before you. Then, however, these goods must be moved. And often transporting fruit and vegetables – by passing the rhyme – can become a tough race. Because, as Mezzomo explains, “in this type of segment everyone can enter and, unfortunately, the customer does not always select based on quality”. As a result there is a risk of being in the docks of a paradox: “Who operates in compliance with all the rules is put out of the market by those who wander around saving costs”. To avert this risk you must find those who appreciate the punctuality of the service, the opportunity to know at any time the position of the goods, the ability to find a solution to every logistics problem and to organize the loads in the best possible way, as do in the company Dario Tullio . But above all – underlines Mezzomo almost opening the lungs – you have to find customers who appreciate that feeling fresh when they receive the goods and understand that if a zucchini with the flower has arrived at its destination as it was just because it has traveled the right temperature”. So, aware that it is not always easy to find the “right” customers, a little more than five years ago the ITL diversified going to beat even another road in search of competition at the maximum decline and margins with decent percentages. This path has led to the movement of ornamental and aromatic plants, a market made lively by a demand that moves above all in the South-North direction, to arrive in France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. To satisfy it, however, no error is granted. «Because – as Filomena explains effectively – if a courgette is badly managed, it changes its appearance more or less visibly. The plant, on the other hand, is alive: if you treat it badly it can even die and at that point you have finished working “. What does “badly treat a plant” mean? “Let’s say rather than treat it well,” Mezzomo points out, “it means keeping it at a temperature of 12 degrees, granting it adequate ventilation, letting it light up as soon as you can. And this is also a detail to keep in mind: if you get to the drain and wait, you still have to open the doors and let the light enter the semi-trailer ». In addition to the attention to the goods-plant, there are those related to handling. The trolley of plants, in fact, can also be discharged by the driver only by arranging the cart on the bank. “But, as I always say to my drivers – underlines Filomena – we must always remember that” the cart has wheels “: it moves and therefore must be positioned and managed carefully. Also because until it touches the ground it remains under the responsibility of the carrier ». Further difficulties are related to the inconstant performance of the market. Because, of course, the plants follow a seasonality and their transport then follows a peak that begins in February and ends in June. How do you cope with it? «At the beginning – confessed Mezzomo – we tried to change the activity accordingly and to hire seasonal staff. But then we immediately realized that, in a logistic activity that requires particular attention, it is not possible to squeeze a training investment after a few months and then re-train other people after a short time. In this way the risk of making mistakes and losing customers’ credibility became too high. So we preferred to always keep the same people, also involving them in other transport activities. In the end the message has passed: everyone recognizes the privilege of keeping work, they are more gratified and therefore work better. I like it when new employees, as soon as they enter the company, confess to others that “they smell the fragrance of the family”. Just as it causes me satisfaction to think that there are drivers who have been working with us for more than twenty years “. But obviously the motivation of people must be integrated and supported with other factors. First of all with technology. The one that takes the forms of satellite localization systems, «fundamental in an activity like ours – specific Mezzomo – in which for a load it arrives to make even 24 deliveries. During these steps it is very useful to allow the owner of the plants to view at any time the exact point where they are “. Or even the one expressed by the loaded bags like TimoCom, decisive for finding a return journey from abroad when you can not find it through your company channels. However, giving a strong boost to the productivity of individual trips was a careful assessment of the equipment. Take, for example, the semi-trailer. The one to transport plants may have thinner walls than those used in other sectors. In this way, gaining a few centimeters of space you can load 43 trolleys instead of 38. So, the first investment made by the Lazio company was to get these trailers with higher load capacity. Then there is the problem of bringing back these trolleys, also because they often belong to the client. But 43 carts scattered in the cargo area, although dismantled and compacted at the end still steal useful volume. That’s why at ITL they thought it best to have a special set of supports, which would be enough to contain them all, and thus free up the load space directly from the refrigerator manufacturer (Lamberet). In the end, thanks to these measures and the many attentions mentioned, ITL has succeeded – as Mezzomo emphasizes – “to always have some new customers every year”. The margins as mentioned have improved and turnover, step by step, has exceeded € 4.5 million a year. Because it will be true – as the ancient Romans said – that “pecunia non olet”, that is, “money has no smell” or perfume. However, in the end, the work that can be done without it has not been invented yet.
Consorzio Trasporti Fondi (CTF)
The transport and logistics of agricultural and food products is the active part of the work, the one that organizes itself to provide logistics services in the best possible way. At Ideal Transportation Logistica, however, they added to this activity the one aimed at containing operating costs. Attention, we are not talking about business transfers or the opening of foreign branches, compared to which Filomena Mezzomo says absolutely against (“If you have a problem, the solution should be found here, not elsewhere, otherwise your solution only ends up aggravating the problem who remains “). But the establishment of a special consortium, the CTF (Consorzio Trasporti Fondi), together with two other local companies, SAL Trans and Ital Blocchi. The idea put into practice is as old as the world: join forces to multiply the force. Or, if you prefer, it is the result of an infallible mathematical formula, according to which, as the critical mass increases, the costs decrease in parallel. The critical mass put together by the CTF is about a thousand vehicles, of all types and tonnages. Just enough to be able to sit down at a table to deal with the purchase of tires, adblues or many other work tools necessary for a transport company and be able to conquer more advantageous conditions than those affordable by a single transporter. For insurance, however, the choice was to help create an even larger critical mass, entering a body like Federtrasporti, so as to be able (through Federservice) not only to save on policies, but also to work on awareness programs security and reduction of accident. All things that, on balance, allow to contain operating costs of about 20%. In recent times, then, alongside this activity, the Consortium is developing the one linked to full-fledged training. “It’s a request that comes from the market – explains Mezzomo – perhaps because the companies, after the crisis, begin to understand that even the correct management of the activity, not only raises the quality of service, but also allows you to save on costs ». The president is referring, for example, to the training of drivers and to how the awareness of being in good standing prevents you from incurring sanctions and speaking without fear with the control bodies. Perhaps for this reason too, the training activity is working as a kind of entrepreneurial gym, as a tool with which to bring companies closer to the understanding of business problems and train them to find the related solutions. So the perimeter of the CTF continues to grow, although from this point of view the president is keen to put some stakes. “Being together is important and becomes so much more if we are many. However, aggregation necessarily presupposes sharing and exchange. Who does not share the basic objectives that we have given or who is only interested in receiving without giving anything in return, does not have the mentality necessary to stay in a consortium. The objectives of the CTF referenced by Mezzomo are almost spontaneously “bloomed” directly on the road. Everything happens during the arrest of December 2007, when the time spent together brought people together, making it clear that often the problems were common to all and that it was worthwhile to face them in a collective way. Already then, alongside the purpose of aggregating purchases and containing operating costs, there were those to increase the bargaining force in negotiations with the client and to optimize travel by operating by mutual agreement. “From this point of view,” Mezzomo says with some regret, “we have done too little. We exchange some transport or we help to find a journey not to return empty from abroad, but nothing more. For years I repeat that as from the Fondi market, ten trucks with destination Florence leave, half empty, instead of carrying out the same round of discharges, each one should be directed towards individual areas of the city, so as to travel all full without having additional costs. But here the problem is of mentality: many are wary and do not like to let others know their own things “. But the mentality is like the climate: if today it rains it is not said that tomorrow there is no sun. The president is convinced and is already finding the space to put away the umbrella.