Feature / 20 Mar 2022

The geometry of getting stuff done

Guest Contributor Greg Newbold encounters Trevor Stamp’s dual-triangle approach to logistics, parenting and the Rugby Town Under-10s.

There’s less than two minutes left in the game and his team has a final corner kick with which to try for a win. This is the point where Trevor Stamp’s Under-10s will either run the play he’s taught them - or not.

Stamp likes working out ways to deliver stuff. Standing on the edge of the soggy football pitch, he’s seeing the supply chain requirement: transport package (ball), through a chain of efficient steps (kicks and headers) to its required destination (back of net). He knows you need a plan and a process. He also knows that anything can happen when you’re in the middle of the action.

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More than 30 years in the logistics business have taught Stamp many lessons. It’s one of the things he loves about the business, and he’s been particularly engaged by the ruptures and wrenches caused by Covid.

“I’ve learned more in the past two years than in the past ten because of the range and volume of challenges and opportunities we’ve faced,” he says, then adds: “Logistics is always being shaken by new technologies, new markets and new business models.”

Right now, Stamp, GAC Dubai’s General Manager of Contract Logistics, is sharpening his Business-to-Customer processes to cover the Covid-driven shift in consumer demand towards the critical ‘last mile’ in the delivery chain.

“There is always something new,” he says. “A challenge or opportunity pops up nearly every day.”

Belted Black!
Stamp holds a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. This makes him a little scary. Six Sigma is a powerful and demanding method for achieving ever higher performance standards in the service of a ‘value’ target. A ‘value’ target, as the name suggests, is something worthwhile, like reducing pollution or raising customer satisfaction. Originally developed for manufacturing processes, the method has particular potency where supply chains are concerned. Stamp is terribly good at Lean Six Sigma and the belt helps. “The Black Belt gives me the ability to start a constructive conversation with customers and industries who use Six Sigma,” he says. “We start on the same page.

"More broadly, Lean Six Sigma is a signal to all our customers that we want to be the best at what we do for them. - but even so, it’s just one side of the triangle."

Trevor Stamp

A geometry of effectiveness
Stamp indeed has a triangular approach to getting stuff done. He has his experience: he’s seen and learned a lot over his 30 years in logistics. He has Lean Six Sigma bringing in a disciplined, ordered approach and mindset. And he has his coaching work with his Under-10s and his many warehouse teams.

“With coaching, I get a charge out of seeing someone succeed and develop” he says. “I enjoy finding the way to help lift performance, making them better, whether it’s football or warehousing. And I know I cannot succeed without my team – nobody succeeds at anything without their team.”

"…nobody succeeds at anything without their team."

Trevor Stamp

Stamp’s triangle #1

Experience Six Sigma Coaching
These three elements are Stamp’s internal triangle. They represent what he’s bringing to the table.

More Geometry
When it comes to parenting, the focus for Stamp and wife Daniela is their three-year-old, Ethan. Every parent can recite a favourite logistics nightmare, either endured or imagined, stemming from those toddler years. The parenting challenge calls forth another triangle in Stamp’s operating geometry. Here, we’re talking about people, those who manage or care for them, and the processes they use. This triangle isn’t as hard and fast as the first one. It’s softer and more nuanced. It holds touches of Stamp’s mother and her Human Resources background. In the case of young Ethan (definitely a value target) it’s one person - with two managers? And the processes?

“I generally defer to Daniela,” says Stamp. “She’s effectively the CEO. But those three sides - people, management and processes - are keys to effective action and good results at home, in the warehouse, on the football pitch - wherever you have a group of people that wants to get something done.”

Stamp’s Triangle #2

Management People Processes
These three elements are the external touchpoints that Stamp works with to achieve results.

A restless industry
Stamp has loved logistics for a long time and the romance continues. He relishes the paradox of an industry that runs on strict and repeatable processes but where no working day is the same. One of Stamp’s early managers dubbed him a ‘crisis manager’ – always wanting more, never comfortable where he’s standing, always looking for a new challenge or opportunity, forever wondering how to turn a 100-pallet contract into 200.

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"This is a big opportunity and we’re going to take it."

Trevor Stamp

Realising the big opportunity will require new thinking and new tech. Stamp has managed all sorts of warehouses including ones with automated systems and no people. “We’re not at that stage yet,” he says. “But now is the time when these leaner, more intelligent warehouses are going to come to the fore.” The rewards are there for those who can find the right wave to catch. “The juiciest growth opportunity for us right now is working with our retail customers in the youth/sports fashion areas. These seem to have the biggest growth plans with our customer base or require new customers in this area.”

Stamp’s previous management position with DHL was a proving ground, and it gave him the confidence to push ahead with his plans for GAC. “DHL has a strict methodology, and it tests your capacity to be centimetre-perfect day after day. It tests all your experience and all your people skills. And it has set me up so that I can run the whole show in Dubai for GAC.”

Back on the football pitch, the Under-10s are wet and cold – and winners. lt doesn’t happen every time they go out to play but the team spirit is strong. The players have been both nurtured and challenged by Stamp’s dual-triangle approach. They’ve caught the bug about getting better, being disciplined, and trying new things – together. Warehouse teams in Dubai are catching it too.

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