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22.09.2017 By: Christian Doepgen

Artikel Nummer: 20159

39-40/2017 Milestones on the path to wisdom


Minor occasion, major impact. Frequently the reason for important changes or decisions in business life are based on nothing more than a misunderstanding, coincidence or simply the right desire at the right time.


Now where did I get this insight from? We have only just learnt all too clearly from the example of the railtrack blockage in the German town of Rastatt that it does not have to be hurricane, a terror attack or force majeure that can interrupt the supply chain. A series of geological as well as construction risks unfortunately became reality concurrently, rather, making the route unusable for some time. Even if the actual trigger to the closure – the ominous drilling machine that drilled the hole that caused the subsidence under the tracks – has long since moved on, the effect will remain with us and keep the flow of goods impaired for a long time. Apparently the incident is set to occupy the German courts too. The good news is that the route is now set to re-open on 2 October (instead of 7 October as originally planned).


Talking about good news – one positive example for the adage cited above was revealed a few days ago at the anni­versary celebrations of the German company Fr. Meyer’s Sohn (FMS) in Hamburg. The success story of the medium-sized enterprise with a 120-year tradition and a global reputation in the paper logistics field, amongst others, is based on the willfulness that a beautiful young lady displayed in 1897. Her grandson, FMS partner Hans Peter Müller, told the assembled guests the story of how little his grandmother appreciated the rural environment in the town of Tangermünde, on the river Elbe more than 200 km from Hamburg. The family enterprise – a huge sugar refinery – was then based there. The family council decided that a forwarding business would be set up in Hamburg, which would manage the export of sugar to England – and provide the lady with the desired urban life. In the course of the following decades the original family enterprise in Tangermünde moved into the second tier, but today the Hamburg-based logistician Fr. Meyer’s Sohn is one of the few with a truly global position. A most interesting flower thus bloomed from the bud of willfulness.


It remains to be seen whether the adage also applies to the planned takeover of Ceva Logistics. The enterprise, founded in the Netherlands by TNT and Eagle Global Logis­tics (EGL) ten years ago, has already set many a wedding date in the past – albeit unsuccessfully. Now Geodis is said to be seriously interested in acquiring the firm, and is said to already have the required capital to pay for the deal ready.


Here’s to your decisions of the next two weeks being based on mature consideration and kind fates. In the end we may be saved by lucky ­coincidence.


Yours sincerely,


Christian Doepgen




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