Leading ladies of logistics
Two women, who are leaders at Dachser South Africa, discuss their contribution to the logistics sector
Sera Fineberg, branch manager for Johannesburg, has been with the company for 26 years. Retaining satisfied clients and acquiring new business is her driving force.
“My overarching objective is to show profit for our shareholders, and this comes with a multitude of tasks, which see me working closely with the various departments, communicating constantly between management and operations … and sometimes even pulling a rabbit out of a hat! It is a very challenging position, but extremely rewarding when you see the results,” she comments.
For Fineberg, the most rewarding aspect is witnessing her teams successfully turning difficult situations into positive outcomes. “Signing on new clients is always a great achievement, as is feedback from existing clients on work well done. This makes everything worthwhile,” she says.
However, that doesn’t mean she can rest on her laurels… “Our industry is constantly changing and one of the greatest challenges is keeping on top of this, as well as ensuring that we remain at the top of our game and one step ahead of our competitors.”
Fineberg concludes: “The freight industry is a very tough, fast and stressful one. It is most definitely not for someone looking for an average nine-to-five job, whether they are male or female.
“While I would still say that we are operating in a more male-dominated environment, throughout the years I have seen more and more women stepping up to the challenge. Women are playing a vital role in the running of freight companies, with many of them taking up top management positions.”
Marli Wilson, operations manager at the Cape Town branch, has been with the company for 16 years. She gains a sense of pride being be part of an industry that, literally, moves the world – as logistics permeates every industry and business sector worldwide. “That’s despite it being a fast-paced and stressful industry that keeps you on your toes,” she’s quick to add.
Wilson is certainly kept on her toes. As operations manager, she is responsible for all departments. “I liaise with clients, overseas offices and agents, as well as our staff on a day-to-day basis. I negotiate rates with airlines, shipping lines and haulers and I am in charge of national dangerous goods and all airfreight rates for import and export,” she explains.
Wilson also handles human resources for the Cape Town branch, where she has grown the staff complement from four to 51. “It is amazing to look back at all the hard work and dedication. I am proud to say that we have grown into a wonderful team that we view as family.”
Wilson explains that while her job is challenging, it’s not without reward. “The freight industry plays an important role in everyday life. We therefore deal with a lot of different factors that include labour unions and strikes; fuel shortages; and the effects of nature, such as ports being wind-bound and flooded.
“Not one day is the same, however, and there is something new to be learnt every day, even for those who have been in the industry for many years,” she smiles.