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The Hoggett Bowers 2 Minute Interview: Perry Neumann

Perry Neumann, President Cluster Russia
Perry Neumann, President Cluster Russia + CIS, Kuehne+Nagel LLC

Perry Neumann has been active in the logistics industry for 38 years and has been working for Kuehne+Nagel Russia since 2006. As its Managing Director he is responsible for the activities of the Russian country, while at the same time he acts as President for the Cluster Russia + CIS.

Kuehne+Nagel Russia was founded in 1992 and today employs approximately 1,500 employees at 25 locations in 15 cities, including 254,300 sqm of logistics warehouse space. In addition, they own subsidiaries operating in Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.

What challenge did you tackle and overcome in your business this week?

One of our long-term key customers was confronted with short-term issues due to the current Covid situation. In a demanding internal process to align on terms and conditions, we were able to support them, finding a solution to their challenges and to continue our successful partnership.

Which ongoing business challenge is occupying your thoughts this week/month? 

Returning to our offices and safeguarding our processes in a post-Covid future are challenging topics, especially considering the actual government requirements in Moscow, which cumber a soon return to normal office working.

Best thing about working from home/remotely?

I am able to save every day at least 3 – 5 hours commuting between my home and my office, besides gaining substantial additional spare time due to the suspension of business travels and dinners.

Never before in my life have I had the opportunity to spend a couple of months 24/7 with my wife and our three little children. Moreover, working from home makes it easier for me to focus on certain difficult tasks and strategy development.

Worst thing about working from home/remotely? 

Our business is all about providing services and is therefore driven by people. Although remote work (and even remote “social gathering”) operate excellently within our company, it’s quite different without the physical socializing that comes with normal office work. And the same goes, of course, for meeting customers and suppliers in person.

What is the most significant change to the way you work as a consequence of the lockdown?

Although video conferencing is nothing new with Kuehne+Nagel, its frequency and importance these days are completely different. We were lucky to rollout Zoom globally last autumn, and meanwhile it has become my main communication tool besides emails. Even conversations which used to be done by phone have now switched to video conferencing to a large extent.

What change are you most likely to keep and what will you definitely not continue, post lockdown?

I will definitely reduce my quantity of business trips and will also demand the same from my team. Furthermore, we will increase the percentage of permanent remote work, maybe on some sort of rotation principle. Distance socializing I will try to limit to my private contacts abroad.

Who or what has inspired you this week? (They don’t need to be famous)

Not limited to this week alone, I’m very much inspired by our entire organisation and my team. It’s incredible how motivated, disciplined, ambitious and positive everybody remains in this difficult period.

Best programme/film you watched on TV/streaming this week?

I have watched the documentary series “History 101” on Netflix. These are history mini-lessons consisting of archive footage, facts and graphs that cover various topics. It is highly diverting.

Are you doing more or less exercise than a typical week when you commute and if more, what?

Much more. I re-started morning workout, walking and riding bikes with my family and enjoying our swimming pool more than ever.

What are you consuming more of (that you should not be) now you are not in an office environment?

I admit to having improved my oenological knowledge about good wine. In this “further education” I had the privilege to be taught by my wife, who has a sommelier licence as her hobby.

Any words of wisdom?

Let me quote one of the smartest brains of our century. Albert Einstein used to say: “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”. I fully support this statement.