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April 2016 – GONE INTO IT

An Interview with Teresa Gottbrath

Ms. Gottbrath, you have been working for Universal Transport for several years now. Could you tell us something about your career in the company?

In the year 2007 I started my apprenticeship at Universal Transport. During the following three years, as is customary at Universal Transport, I have rotated through several different departments of the company. Intermediately, I also worked four months at the Romanian subsidiary. That period had a big influence on my international mindset. After the apprenticeship, in the year 2010, I was employed in the sales department. There my main role was the acquisition of new customers. In the year 2014 I started studying „International Logistics management“ at the Deutsche Außenhandels- und Verkehrs-Akademie (German Academy of Foreign Trade and Transport) in Bremen. Universal Transport has supported me during my studies, so that I was able to focus solely on them.

Could you give us a sketch of the structure and the particularities of the studies?

The DAV places very great emphasis on a practical education. That is where one learns to see beyond one’s own nose and to break up with long-established patterns of thought. Frequently you work in individual responsibility. Furthermore, besides the professional competencies in the field of international logistics management the ability to work in a team is trained, since many projects are worked on in groups. To give one example:

For our final project we developed an assessment system for apprentices at Universal Transport. This system complies with the different criteria of the apprenticeship and rewards the apprentices for good performance. This could be good grades as well as a good performance in practice. In doing so they can earn points. In order to implement a relation to our branch, we named these points „tons“. The „tons“ should represent incentives for the apprentices in order to develop their full potential. For the reason that these incentives should not be purely academic, the „tons“ can be can be converted into financial bonuses. The aim of the project is to to increase employee loyalty. With a final grade of 1,1 (on a scale from 1 to 6 – where 1 is excellent and 6 very poor) our project then also was awarded as the best and most innovative final project. At Universal Transport its feasibility is currently examined.

You finished your studies at the end of March. Now you are working again for Universal Transport. What are your new tasks? And how does the knowledge gained during the studies help you with them?

After my studies I immediately returned to the office at Universal Transport. Now I am responsible for the integration of the Züst & Bachmeier Project GmbH (Z&B), acquired earlier this year, into the Universal Transport Family. My key tasks in this respect are to prepare a successful implementation of a fast and successful communication between the colleagues and to co-ordinate the different contact persons. Here I benefit from the knowledge acquired during the studies as well as the solution-oriented thinking taught there. The aim is to maintain the independence of Z&B and simultaneously benefit from the advantages of the Universal Transport Network. For Universal Transport the integration of Z&B represents an extension of the portfolio for international offers. Z&B are pros in the area of overseas heavy load transports, which is to the benefit of Universal Transport. As a result we can create meaningful synergies and provide our customers with an even larger network.

Last but not least: Unfortunately, women are still a minority in the logistics branch. How do you cope with the many male colleagues?

At the beginning this was really something one needs to get used to. The men within the logistics business, especially in the heavy-load sector, are pretty rough – this probably goes hand in hand with our work I guess. The conversational tone is very straightforward and hefty. But you very quickly learn to value that. Co-operation is facilitated, when problems are addressed straight and can be solved immediately. The focus is on the job, not on sensitivities of the colleagues.