LOGISTICS IN THEIR BLOOD
When Barbara Moll sits down at
her desk in the emergency department
of MBS, Anytime, in Cologne
between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., she has already
made at least five phone calls and
answered at least that many emails. She
has the day's orders on her mind. The
63-year-old rarely needs the monitor
that is mounted on the wall above the
team´s heads and helps to keep track in
this fast-moving business. "I'm a control
freak. But not in the sense that I want to
control, but to keep track of everything. I
always know exactly where what is going
on and how."
Barbara Moll is a logistician by passion
and fourth generation. "My father was
a freight forwarder, as well as my grandfather
and great-grandfather, who laid
the foundations with horse and cart," she
explains, before an email rushes in and
requires a quick rethink: Morocco is closing
its doors again because of new covid
cases and cancelling flights ex Germany.
As this is an important market for Anytime,
alternatives must now be sought and
checked, for example via France, as fast as
possible. "I always wanted to be a forwarding
merchant," she says and has to smile
even at the masculine form of the job title,
which at that time quite understandably
also applied to women. Having started at
Kühne und Nagel in 1977, she built up the
German office for a French emergency
provider in Frankfurt between 2007 and
2017. She has been working for MBS since
2017. "An illness in my family was the reason
why I moved back to Cologne in 2017
and the question arose very quickly as to
whether I could build up the emergency
division for MBS," Barbara Moll explains.
She was quickly very successful. In the meantime,
Anytime, as the 24/7 Emergency
Department at MBS is called, has seven
employees. Barbara Moll's desk is right in
the middle of it. Flat hierarchies are important
to her. Vanity does not interest her.
"I like to be in the middle of things. My people
work in three shifts. The business is
tough as nails. You need strong nerves."
Moll has been demonstrating these
for six hours now. It's 2 p.m. and she
hasn't eaten anything yet. "The emergency
business is a face-to-face business.
The customers trust us. They know
us. We know what makes them tick. Our
orders involve huge sums of money
for our customers. If a few screws are
missing and then there is a threat of a
production line standstill, no company
Studentenzeit in Köln (1976).
Student time in Cologne (1976).
wants to risk that. There's a lot of adrenaline
involved in the emergency business."
Barbara Moll is a bundle of energy,
while at the same time she seems
completely relaxed and at peace with
herself. No wonder: she looks back on
44 years of professional experience. She
is also happy to pass on her knowledge
to the next generation.
Max Sommershof, Felix Kaiser and Dennis
Münz are sitting at the desks during
this shift. The mood is good - despite
the enormously tense business. "I
have a really great team here. I prefer
working in a team anyway and this one
is really the best," says Moll and looks
proudly around. The Anytime team is
housed in the air freight department of
MBS Logistics Cologne - colleague Manuela
Thon is based in Frankfurt. Looking
around, it quickly becomes clear:
women are clearly underrepresented
here. "I think it's a shame that there
are so few women in management positions
in logistics. It would be good for
the whole industry if there were more.
I can only encourage that myself. But
of course, you certainly need stronger
nerves and a thicker skin for logistics
than elsewhere. The colloquial language
is rough and even today it is very
difficult to get past the men. On the
one hand, that would get better if we
became more, on the other hand, I also
notice a change in thinking among the
young male colleagues in that respect."
Then she smiles and says: "Some men
think they invented logistics. Women are
then often denied the ability to think logically.
That is still firmly stored in our collective
memory. But women think almost
more logically. For thousands of years,
they have had to manage everything and
reconcile complex structures and processes.
We need to support each other
better. We need mentoring programmes
for young women in logistics. Just like
men do - though maybe not as institutionalised."
She says all this loud enough
for Max and Felix to hear. And they do,
smile approvingly and are visibly proud
of the boss, who moves so much and
is still proactive today in making MBS's
emergency product, Anytime, even better
known and more successful.
She did eat a roll in between before
Barbara Moll leaves the office at 5 p.m.
today. "Today I have to go home early.
I have to go to the cinema with my
granddaughter. Perhaps the little girl
also carries the Kasel logistics gene. Who
My father was a freight forwarder,
as well as my grandfather
and great-grandfather, who
laid the foundations with horse
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