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7 Top Code of Ethics for Successful Logistics Providers

Often mistaken and inter-changed with the Code of Conduct , the two are in fact 2 separate entities that form the foundation of how a company conducts itself and its business with all those it interacts with.

Let me start by defining the difference between the Code of Ethics and the Code of onduct.Broadly speaking, A Code of Ethics (can also be a Value Statement) is a guidance or mission statement of the principles of behaviour to be expected which directly affect the decision making process and the Code of Conduct  or a Code of Practice as it can also be known as, details this, and is essentially a document that lays out the expectations in the behaviour expected of both the Employer and Employees.

Logistics is a complex business framework involving planning, organising and delivery of a product from its origin to its final destination in a manner that is time-efficient and cost effective. The logistics firm like Nunner is hired by customers essentially making them the ‘middle people’ that are relied upon by their clients to ‘deliver the goods’ in a manner of speaking!
So, all we have to do at Nunner is have a customer come to us, they give us their specification of the product requiring transportation and we ship it to the destination, right? Wrong.

Although each document/statement is unique in what it portrays, they all have the common goal of outlining the expectations the company, their employees and all stakeholders they interact with in terms of their behaviour and decision-making and is a guide to the basic common principles of business etiquette.

There are so many complex processes involved, especially for global organisations like ourselves – we have to be aware of the laws, particularly the customs laws of the countries we cover to ensure we conduct our work to the highest standard. In order to do this, we have a code of conduct in place and our Values Statement serves as our Ethical statement to the Code of Conduct.

In this blog I will put all this together and will look at my top 7 Ethics that are integrated in our Code of conduct thus ‘Nobody goes further’ than Nunner.

Ethics Principle 1: Honesty
Logistics is a global business and language. Often coupled with Integrity, honesty really can be discussed as an entity on its own first as it is the foundation that features in a number of the other ethics purely and simply because without honesty of what you stand for and how you deliver your service and promise you will not be able to establish a positive name for yourself within the global community.

So, what exactly should you expect a Logistics provider in terms of ‘honesty’?, what does it mean in terms of our slogan ‘Nobody goes further’? – I believe, honesty is part of the jigsaw of various ethical standards that will help develop a company’s reputation and promote it to expand as transparently as possible. The aim of our slogan is to encapsulate how we intend to offer our services to customers in a few short words. We have chosen this so the first 2 words a person thinks to expect from us is honesty and integrity. In particular, honesty involves the following key competencies you should expect a good Logistics Provider to adhere to as a minimum:

  • Communicate and present information truthfully and without deceit.
  • Offer complete transparency in their knowledge of their expertise and the law (particularly anti-trust laws) of the countries they operate in as the customer hiring their services will have an expectation that the Provider is operating within the law of each and every country they operate in, particularly Customs Laws.
  • Ensure all data and information is recorded accurately, in a timely fashion and adheres to data protection and confidentiality laws.

In a nutshell, to be a successful and leading Logistics company, you really need to be able to rapidly grow within the global market because as technology is advancing more and more, the world is becoming ‘smaller’ in terms of consumers being able to afford to look internationally to source  and supply their materials and services at competitive prices and quality of product and service and you need honesty and trust to remain effective. Any undermining of honesty will lead to a lack of trust. This follows neatly into my next chosen Ethic, Integrity.

Ethics Principle 2: Integrity
Professional Ethical Standards Integrity aims to promote is the conducting of Business with honesty and truthfulness. Where honesty finishes in terms of what we say we will do, Integrity picks up and defines how we uphold honesty through our actions. The key difference I believe to exist between the two is whereas honesty cannot guarantee integrity, integrity can however guarantee honesty. Integrity are the ground rules to demonstrate what is set out in our Code of Conduct and form the rules to our decision making which will ensure that all stakeholders expect a certain standard

Some of the principles of integrity that you can expect demonstrated from a Logistics Provider are:

  • Being Responsible: Act with honesty, integrity and consistency at all times even if it were to not benefit the company’s profit margins.
  • Fairness: ensure you treat all employees, customers and stakeholders with fairness and respect. This not only is a basic moral and ethical standard we would all expect with anyone we deal with but from a business perspective, it will help build strong relations that are absolutely essential in developing a reputation within the field of Logistics Providers.
  • Periodically and continually review code of conduct e.g. through training programmes so as to ensure all employees continually uphold the values as outlined in the Code of Conduct and Mission Statement.
  • Admit mistakes! It’s all well and good when things are moving along nicely, exactly as planned but what happens when mistakes happen? Integrity lies in the admission of where a mistake has happened. Ironically, mistakes can enhance a company’s integrity by showing your not afraid of working in the real world where there’s always a risk of that happening. It also provides an opportunity to improve your product / processes.

At Nunner these are our guiding principles that are discussed in detail in our Code of Conduct and I believe should be the minimum integrity principles in order to be in business. Honesty and Integrity are the fundamental and most important qualities of great Leadership….

Ethics Principle 3: Leadership & Respect for others
As stated above, honesty and integrity form the foundation of successful leadership. But a strong leader has many many more characteristics. Going back to our slogan, ‘Nobody goes further’, we have further expanded it to include further to ‘Nobody goes further geographically, provider of solutions and services’. The confidence I have in this is a bold statement stems from a long line of strong leadership that has allowed Nunner to be a Logistics market-leading company to the extent that we can make our slogan detailed like this to embodies specific services and characteristics of the company as we know we can stand by its deliverance. With that illustration of strong confident leadership let’s explore some of the other qualities and characteristics that are needed to become a successful Logistics Provider leader

  • Respect of others by setting a good example – A leader may be at the top of the corporate ladder and therefore how they treat their employees and stakeholders will dictate the respect they will receive and how people working for them will view the company. Their commitment and integrity can depend on it so it is imperative that Leaders / managers are aware that their response and attitude is reflective and filters down and set the standard by way of leading by example.
  • Effective Communication – you may be a great leader with expressing and impressing your opinion on others, but a truly great leader will be tolerate and open to accepting and listening to constructive criticism, regardless of the person’s rank. The difference between a leader and a great leader is that a great leader will view it as a way to look at improving the business thus seeing the greater good and welcome appropriate challenging rather than resent it and feel they need to make their position clear.
  • Team building – a good leader will emphasise and ensure that team gets together outside their work environment for team building exercises. It’s the ideal way to get to know your employees as well as them getting to know you a little more informally and without the ‘boss’ tag – there are studies and opinions that show how this leads to improved production and commitment with a lower staff turnover over long periods of time. A great leader recognises the long term benefits of this short term investment.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, however it demonstrates what can and should be expected from a business leader.

Ethics Principle 4: Accountability
Accountability is another core ethic / code of conduct that a successful Logistics business (the organisation, its employees and all stakeholders must adhere to – without accurate record keeping and each stakeholder having their own high standards of ethics to be able to be accountable at all times, a business would just not hold the trust or integrity it requires to function and grow in a very competitive environment.

To be a market leader, I believe the following are essential:

  • Transparency – with record keeping and communication. Not only does this need to be in line with the company’s Code of Conduct but also in line with all laws in which your are conducting business.
  • Accuracy and Timeliness – this is essential as a fast moving and growing business will mean that records must be kept properly but also made as soon as possible so there is less risk of a record being forgotten / inaccurate with it’s information.
  • Finance – Of course, there are a lot of transactions taking place many times in an hour let alone a day and there must be clear audit trails of all transactions and money exchanges that take place.

Any discrepancy in accountability jeopardises a Company’s integrity and their standing and reputation amongst their stakeholders as well as other Logistics Providers.

Ethics Principle 5: Openness
Again, this is very much an ethic that overlaps with accountability but the difference here is ensuring that information is relayed openly and clearly when it matters. It may be that you have a very robust and precise Terms of Conditions, Code of Ethics / Code of Conduct etc where you have specified exactly what your business offers, but when you are discussing specific business with a customer it is imperative that you ensure the customer is aware of the relevant terms and conditions etc. to their needs of the service they require from you. If the openness and transparency are not there and a query comes in after contracts are signed, you may be able to claim that all the information they required is actually present in the small print, and you will be right, but from the integrity and trust perspective in particular, it will not work in your favour when building your credibility with not only your customer and therefore risk future business dealings with them but also within the other companies when they switch to other Providers.

Ethics Principle 6:   Fairness
Following on from identifying Fairness as part of Integrity, Fairness is fundamentally a moral ethical duty to be fair when conducting business and we must be fair regardless if this will place constraints and restriction on our judgement and actions.

In logistics, we work with many international and national suppliers tin the movement of products on behalf of customers.  To ensure our moral code is above reproach in terms of competition and ensuring we are within the antitrust laws so that we do not have unfair advantage over our competitor.

By acknowledging and incorporating antitrust, anti corruption and  Bribery laws into our code of conduct, any employee, customer or stakeholder will be able to feel reassured that fairness is at the heart of our business.

Ethics Principle 7: Selflessness & Non-judgement
The Professional Ethical Standards to promote here are our conduct in how to challenge and allow for the reporting of improper conduct confidentially, without bias or undue consequence.

Encouraging our employees, particularly new employees, to familiarise themselves as part of their induction with our Code of Conduct is absolutely essential The reason for this is to not only make sure they understand how the company operates but also to protect them, their needs, work-life-balance attainment as well as their stance if they ever find themselves in a compromised situation such as coming across Bribery or antitrust, in a non-judgemental, non-intimidatory as well as encouraging manner. This may not sit well on the outset if responding to this will look as though the company name can suffer but if we keep to our principles of integrity and honesty, we will ultimately come out of it stronger because it will show our steadfastness in being truthful even in the face of adversity.

But, selflessness is not just about that. It’s about creating a nurturing environment, where employees of all grades come first – there are open and fair opportunities for self-growth and promotion opportunities. It is not the CEO’s at the centre of the attention but everyone else!

Conclusion : Theses are just a few  of the important ethical values  of Nunner which we believe helps us become a market leader of Logistics Providers. I think you will now see how our slogan, ‘Nobody goes further geographically, in service delivery and looking after all it’s stakeholders’ is not a slogan that we chose because we like the sound of it, but because we believe in it and work hard to maintain its ethical value and integrity  – to find them all please see the link to our Code of Conduct.

Regardless of who you work for, although the entire point of a Code of Conduct and/or Code of Ethics document is to cover all the aspects of good ethical practice within a company by each employee, customers and stakeholders, if in doubt, always ask prior to acting!

Erwin Cootjans, CEO