Meet Our People: Customs Support Managing Director Switzerland - Bertram Beck
In our series #WeAreCustomsSupport, you will meet the people behind Customs Support. We value our colleagues and the work they do. In this series, we will interview the people who are always ready to assist you with importing or exporting your goods without worries. Next up in this series is Bertram Beck.
Who are you?
My name is Bertram Beck, and I am 63 years old. I live in Germany with my wife, just three kilometers across the Swiss border. Many people that work in the Basel area live just across the border in Germany and France. I have been working in logistics for over 40 years in different logistics positions. In all those years at large and well-known logistics companies. For the past twelve years, I have been the Managing Director of Balimpex. We offer both customs and logistics services, so next to supporting companies with their imports and exports, we also take care of transporting goods into and from Switzerland. Next to all this we manage several warehouses in logistics hotspots for our customers.
What does a Managing Director do at Customs Support?
Well, I’m responsible for all Customs Support business in Switzerland. I manage the company, and I am responsible for business development and key account management. I’m not a traditional Managing Director who only delegates. The people of Customs Support Switzerland don’t work for me; I work with them. I like to be involved in operational discussions and love to dive into the details. Sometimes this can be difficult for my team because I want to know everything. However, it enables me to support them to the best of my abilities. We have a young and enthusiastic team, and I share my knowledge and experience with them as much as I can.
What does a typical working day look like?
Typical? Ha! My days are very diverse. I support the operational team by answering all their questions and helping when facing challenges or issues. The same goes for supporting customers. Also, I spend part of my day analysing daily business to make sure everything runs smoothly and of course to look for improvements in our processes. Frequently I visit the different offices across the country to meet the teams and to hear how I can help them and how we can improve as a team. Visiting customers is also an essential part of my routine.
What do you like most about your job?
What I like most is enabling others to be successful. This could be an IT problem, but it can also be operational. I like analysing our performance metrics with the team and finding improvements or solutions to issues for one of my teams or customers. I like solving problems so we become better and better!
What is the biggest challenge for you?
What is most important to me are my employees and teams. I want them to be successful. Many have worked here longer than the twelve years I am here, and I want them to be able to keep doing what they love doing. It means growing the company, and that can be challenging. We tend to accept new customers and divide the work within the team. Then, if the processes are clear and everything runs well, we look into expanding the team if necessary. It means we all go an extra step, but we also grow sustainably.
What do you do when you are not in the office?
I love sports, and I’m a 0 or 100 kind of guy, which means my biggest challenge is always to pace myself. I love being outdoors. We live close to the Black Forrest, and I enjoy hiking through the woods with my wife. Walking in the forest clears my mind and recharges my batteries. It’s so peaceful. I also read a lot of books, both fiction and non-fiction. It could be science fiction or crime novels, or Thomas Mann or books on history. Depending on my mood, I pick up a different book. I also love spending time with my family, brother, and sisters. We meet several times a year. And if you ask my neighbours, they will probably tell you I like Guns N’ Roses!
Why Customs Support?
Becoming a part of Customs Support has been a great move. I love how it gives the people in my team the possibility to pursue an international career. I’ve worked in large organisations before, and it is different from the relatively flat organisation that we were, but there are many advantages. With colleagues in so many countries and customs expertise in many industries, you can always find someone with the proper knowledge. With this combined knowledge and presence, we create a network effect across Europe, and we can serve our customers even better.