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August 2, 2022

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Meet the Logwardians - Assaad

This week with Assaad, Implementation Manager at Logward, we take a look at what it means to work in a software company in the supply chain industry. We also find out more about his specialized professional background, his meticolous and eclectic personality, and his history-rich country.

Hi Assaad, thank you for this chat! Firstly, can you tell us what did you do before joining Logward?

I worked for ten years in the façade/building envelope industry, which is a very niche area within the construction industry. We were responsible for the envelope of the building; in simpler words: contractors made the cake, and we made the frosting. I assumed several roles in my journey from being a Senior Project Manager in a big size vertically-integrated company to the Operations Manager of a medium-sized company executing projects mainly in the Middle East and Africa.

Before joining Logward, I worked as a Consultant Engineer, for producing 16,000 square meters of steel structure in seven different Spanish factories for the construction of Hamad International Airport.

Why did you choose to join Logward?

I find software and supply chain a great combination for someone who, like me, is passionate about operations and is highly novelty-seeking. But also in my personal life, I like to learn new things and have different interests. More specifically, about Logward, I like the flexibility it offers, meaning building innovative solutions while exploiting the deep expertise of Leschaco, our investor company. We operate independently, but we also benefit from their history and knowledge.  

What I also like about Logward is its people, there is a lot of diversity, both in terms of expertise and culture. This is very similar to my MBA experience, and I embrace diversity because of the added value it creates.

Lastly, I really appreciate the company culture: flat hierarchy, mutual respect among employees, and humility in c-level positions. This is coupled with strong leadership, accountability, and responsibility, and this combination is what allows us to get things done.

Given your experience, what are the main differences between working in construction and logistics technology?

The first big difference that I see is the bargaining power of the stakeholders involved. In Logistics, some stakeholders (for example carriers) have a huge power that often leaves smaller parties with no choice. This industry is also very subject to macro-economic dynamics; therefore, very unstable. On the contrary, in construction I never sensed this big difference in bargaining power. There is, of course, some pressure from the customer, but once the contract is signed, and if each entity fulfills the job and commits to the scope, there won’t be any big surprises. A further difference is the scope of projects: in construction a project could take longer than an implementation project at Logward.

Another big difference between the two industries is that software is evolving at an exponential speed. This definitely allows for a lot of creativity, although it can sometimes become overwhelming and messy. On the other hand, construction is an established, mature, and well-standardized industry, which also means that it is slow when it comes to digitization.

Also, logistics is part of every industry, including construction, but not the other way around.

That’s quite a few differences. Tell us, what transferrable skills did you acquire in your previous jobs that bring value to your current role at Logward?

One very important hard skill is project management, so the planning, follow-up, and execution of a project. This means understanding and translating customer requests into manageable pieces of work, prioritizing them, and finding the right people to perform them.

[Assaad’s pitch: “By getting from point A to point B in the most efficient way, I am the best friend of your bottom line.]

Another hard skill is being able to dive deep into projects and pay attention to details. This means analyzing data, creating models, identifying pain points, and improving processes.

A useful soft skill that I acquired is leadership without authority: I can orchestrate many stakeholders without being too pushy.

So what does a typical day look like for an Implementation Manager?

My day is based on four activities: planning, communication, execution, and reflection.

Regarding planning, I check meetings/calls in outlook and prepare beforehand. I believe in the preparation, as I come from an industry that is very demanding and requires this. For customer calls, I always prepare at least one day in advance. Another reason for preparing is that I want to make the most of my calls, even internal calls. And I also take notes for learnings. For better planning I use Microsoft To Do and a funnel to narrow down the most urgent tasks of the day - first things first.

Communication is a very important part of my day, both external with customers and internal with Logward engineers.

Execution refers to project management: follow up with stakeholders, ensure the timeline is respected, and assign tasks for the next week in Jira. Execution also means building models, analyzing supply chain processes, checking data, cleaning data, designing customers data in the Logward app, preparing presentations for customer meetings, and building use cases for engineers to improve product features.

Lastly, I always take some time at the end of the day to reflect and learn from mistakes, sharing best practices within the Implementation Team. These meetings also allow us to improve and establish processes.

How does Logward’s implementation process look like?

The implementation process starts with a deep understanding of the customer’s business model and supply chain to identify pain points and areas of improvements so that we can determine which features solve those issues. Sometimes we create models or bring up new ideas to the Product Team. The Implementation Team at Logward is a bridge between the customer and Logward’s software developers. Implementation also reflects the image of the company since we work directly with customers, so I would consider implementation as the part of the marketing and sales funnel. We’re the last step in converting sales opportunities into customers. Implementation is also based on operation excellence and assertiveness, because otherwise, the implementation cycle (and its costs) would never end. Finally, implementation is the engine of the company.

Use three adjectives to define an Implementation Manager at Logward.

Structured, resilient, and creative.

Outside of work, what do you like to do in your free time?

Here in Germany, I like cycling. It’s always the best activity and fastest mode to discover a city from a different perspective. And it is also good for calves and hamstrings!  

I love photography, mainly of hidden gems in cities, but also landscapes, streets, and buildings. I like visiting museums, my favorite art is from the Renaissance, Baroque, and Impressionism, and I love history as I come from a very culturally and ethnically diverse country. I like to read/listen to business topics in the FT and the Economist.

Astronomy also fascinates me. Understanding the universe, black holes, and the science behind energy and gravity in space.  

I also play guitar, jam, and prefer to play my own solos rather than "covers".  

Hamburger Rathaus
Photo by Assaad of Hamburg's city hall

What do you like about living in Hamburg now?

Hamburg is a very metropolitan and beautiful city. It’s bicycle friendly. It has beautiful landscapes, lovely lakes, great shopping, nice port area, and warm, beautiful sun (when it is not cloudy). German language has never been a barrier since most people speak English. The city is also very peaceful at night, has a good transport system, and is clean.

And why should we visit Lebanon?  What are your favorite things about your homeland?

Lebanon is the Switzerland of the Middle East! For many reasons:  

It is a small country with mountains and sea very close to each other - in 1 hour drive you can go from 0 to 2000 meters of altitude. In May, sometimes you can ski in the morning and have a swim in the sea by the afternoon.  

Another reason is the lively nightlife, especially in Beirut. Lebanon has a rich culture and history. It inherits the Phoenician culture and Byblos is the eldest city in the world to be inhabited continuously by the same population. The biggest roman temple ever (Baalbek) is also located in Lebanon like the eldest and greatest trees in the world (cedars).  

Finally, I won’t even start talking about the Lebanese cuisine!

Rapid fire:

Phone calls or texts? Texts

Test the waters or dive in the deep end? Test the waters

Art museum or history museum? Art museum

Hot coffee or iced coffee? Hot coffee

Logic or emotion? Logic

Logward is a Hamburg & Bangalore based logistics technology company.

We build software, move containers, and change mindsets.

If you have any questions or just want to say hi, reach out to mail@logward.com. Or you can book time with one of our logistics experts here.

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