5 Things to Consider When Planning Transportation in 2024. A Conversation with Katarzyna Sutor-Selvaraj, Financial Settlement Specialist, about Finding Balance Between Daily Responsibilities, Travel, and Passion for the Far East

What is “Top-grade transport”?

A series of 5 interviews that will provide you with essential knowledge in a nutshell over the next 5 months. Insights from 5 experts in the transport, freight, and logistics industry will help you plan safe transportation while optimizing costs. What to consider? What to pay attention to? Welcome to the reading!

Katarzyna Sutor-Selvaraj – an expert with over 18 years of experience in banking, sales, and customer service for financial institutions in global markets. Over the years, she honed her skills in business planning and awareness shaping to better optimize settlement processes. Now she applies her knowledge and experience as a settlement specialist at New Wave International Cargo.

Privately, she is a lover of socializing, hosting gatherings, and cooking for loved ones. The initiator and organizer of all family and friends’ events. She loves to dance because it makes her feel truly free and happy 😊

NWIC: Kasia, you work in a department where you skillfully combine the world of settlements with Indian culture, which, as it turns out, is significant because privately you have a husband who comes from India. Are there traditional Indian business values that can be beneficial for effective management of settlement processes, and if so, how can they be integrated with current practices in the financial settlement department in the domestic market?

Kasia: Hmm… I would definitely start with the fact that Indian culture itself is highly diverse and can be extremely different depending on the region you visit. India is a country of religious, linguistic, culinary, and also behavioral amplitudes. Recently, I had the opportunity to embark on a month-long journey into this previously unknown, colorful world, where I carefully observed daily life – including professional life.

I went to get married, and I came back with a substantial baggage of new experiences!

My husband and I, hailing from the Chennai area, attended a meeting with our “India Team” in his hometown, where NWIC recently opened its another office. I was incredibly warmly welcomed hearing “you’re halfway ours!”. While I knew something about the customs in his area for 6 years, such a welcome from newly met people in a European company couldn’t be expected.

As for the financial settlement system itself, its main difference is that it is complex and includes many taxes, such as GST (Goods and Services Tax), import duties, and various state taxes. It is certainly less automated and more reliant on manual processes, which requires a precise knowledge of local regulations. Interpersonal relationships and hierarchy play a greater role in management there. Decision-making processes seem to be more centralized, and there is a greater respect for authority. Values such as collectivism and cooperation are deeply rooted. Regarding accounting and accounting practices, Indian Accounting Standards (Ind-AS) apply, which are based on IFRS but may have some specific differences.

Personally, I believe that the only international business language is respect, understanding of our differences, and their acceptance, and the carriers of all positive emotions are simply smiles and kindness, which in an international environment at work is a recipe for all minor misunderstandings resulting from cultural differences. Integrating traditional Indian values, as I mentioned earlier, with European practices in managing settlement processes can benefit both parties. This way, we can create a more harmonious and efficient work environment that combines the best elements of both cultures.

Kasia: Can I add something else?

NWIC: Of course

Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank my colleagues from the Indian office, who are not only a group of wonderful, experienced professionals but also kind and helpful individuals. I am very grateful that NWIC has given me the opportunity to use my experience in “numbers”, business sense of the region, and love for India and allowed me to combine passion with work, where I create and become a part of an Indian project.

NWIC: Now more generally – how can we effectively manage transportation costs to minimize the negative impact on the company’s budget while maintaining high service quality?

Kasia: A good practice is, for example, continuously building and expanding the portfolio of service providers. If we limit ourselves only to cooperation with a narrow group of them, it is very possible that we will miss significant market innovations that our current contractor, for example, does not use, and continuous implementation of changes, and thus striving for cost process diversification, significantly affects their reduction due to the multitude of choices. Of course, each cooperation with new entities must be carefully considered not to affect the quality of services provided. On the other hand, long-term and trusted suppliers also mean lower risk in terms of receiving payments for the service performed on time, allowing to maintain financial liquidity at the right level to meet all required payments to subcontractors or employees. In my opinion, on such a dynamic market, there is no golden key that would ensure 100% certainty. Each action requires great caution, but also balance and the ability to assess properly.

NWIC: How to find a trusted logistics company for my business, avoiding mistakes and disappointments? We asked this question recently to Krzysztof Tarnas, do you have any recipe for success from the point of view of a person dealing with dozens of invoices every day?

Kasia: You know what? These dozen years in sales, customer service, and building relationships for business certainly gave me a broader perspective on taking care of those dozens of invoices as you mentioned. I can put myself in the shoes of both the entity ordering the service and its executor. I will always say that the most important and best way to build trust is daily work and the ability to adapt to often unconventional needs. Therefore, when looking for a trusted logistics company for your business, check the opinions of companies that have already used its services, and it will certainly be easier for you to decide to cooperate. In my opinion, and I will repeat it like a mantra, diversification is the best business planning strategy, and in long-term time horizons, it always pays off “in plus”.

NWIC: Kasia, I think you’ve just unwittingly invented a new abbreviation “LHT” (Long-Term Time Horizons), were you ever a physicist…

Kasia: No hahaha, I probably wouldn’t have found myself in that matter, but I used this formulation because in investment funds, the term “Long-Term Investment Horizons” is used, which I consciously translated into the realities of the logistics industry, and that’s how we found ourselves in this continuum of space-time horizontally haha

NWIC: What new technologies or innovative solutions can help optimize settlement processes in the transport-logistics industry?

Kasia: Certainly, information systems, tailored to changing needs forced by the industry and the generally developing market of goods and services in previously unknown directions, which need to be kept up with. For example, at NWIC, we operate internationally, so we emphasize the right tools that allow us to accurately settle services offered regardless of the client’s location, adapting to their needs.

I am primarily referring to integrated ERP systems, such as SAP, Oracle, or Microsoft Dynamics, which enable the centralization of data and processes related to finance, resource management, logistics, and customer service. There are still plenty of other tools, and in the future, the market will undoubtedly belong to those who introduce solutions related to e-FTI, blockchains, EDI, cloud computing, AI, and Machine Learning. Such solutions and knowledge of differences for many geographical areas will certainly allow for an unconventional approach to transportation planning, which will positively impact the settlement issues for clients. Where there is automation and less human factor, there is potentially less risk of errors and mistakes. Errors and mistakes lead to reputational loss and consequently lower profits.

NWIC: How do changing financial regulations and laws affect the settlement strategies of transport-logistics companies, and what steps should be taken to adapt to these changes?

Kasia: Any change imposed by laws obliges its implementation, e.g., in settlements or payment terms. All new financial regulations and laws require transport-logistics companies to be flexible and proactive in managing their settlement processes. Tracking changes, investing in technology, training employees, and collaborating with external advisors are crucial steps that can help adapt to new requirements. Improving compliance with regulations not only minimizes the risk of fines but can also contribute to more efficient and transparent financial management in the company.

On the other hand, every company, in case of sudden regulatory changes that may have an immediate impact on operations, should have a developed contingency plan. Such a plan should include risk scenarios and corrective actions, which directly affect financial liquidity, e.g., of the company.

Since most of my professional career has been spent in banking, such regulations, procedures, and any changes in them are everyday occurrences for me. Delving into them and staying up-to-date is somewhat ingrained in my professional DNA, and the need to understand every regulation from A to Z is something natural for me.

This curiosity is also reflected in my private life. I like to know and learn, but I also like to share my knowledge, which is why I created a profile on Facebook called “Polka w Sari”, where I share my journey to southern India through the eyes of a Polish woman. If anyone wants to get to know me and my family better and, above all, India, I cordially invite you 😊

NWIC: Thank you for the interview.

Kasia: Thank you


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