Martynas Sarapinas: A Visionary Tackling Digital Challenges and Driving Technology to New Fronts
by Analytics Insight
20 April 2022
Girteka Logistics It is Europe’s largest full truckload company with 20,000 employees and dedicated truck drivers working non-stop, handling around 1 million loads per year for major trademarks in Europe, the Nordics and Russia. When COVID-19 hit Europe, one company stood out as ‘delivering excellence’ and that’s Girteka Logistics.
Girteka Logistics provides quality services to various sectors such as FMCG, Food & Seafood, Electronics, Consumer Goods, Pharmaceuticals, Retail, Automotive and Industrial Products with an extensive network.
A Transformational Leader Beyond The Odds
For Martynas Sarapinas, who joined just two years ago as CIO and Member of the Executive Board, the main challenge was ‘Achieving Excellence’ while facing an industry that has been heavily scrutinized against the worst of the COVID-19 fallout and the turbulence it causes. The company needed a quick strategic axis for a more innovative and sustainable business model, a stepping stone towards mastering the digital edge.
Martynas, with the strategic goals of driving business growth using technology and leadership through the execution of strategy and organizational portfolio; sponsor and catalyze a group-wide digitalization program; lead operational excellence capabilities to create a culture of customer focus; Leading the Global Business Services installation for the group.
Martynas brings broad technology and transformation leadership experience from key positions in finance and technology companies. Previously he held positions such as First Vice President at Danske Bank, MobilePay (MobilePay is considered the #1 app in Denmark and the #2 strongest brand in customer experience in Denmark) and strategic transformation roles at Barclays Bank PLC.
He holds an MBA in Finance and Business Management, along with several executive education programs at Oxford Saïd Business School and the Kellogg School of Management.
Success Story of a Business Genius
Martynas was born into an enterprising business family. He shares that since childhood, he has watched his parents devote a lot of time to various business activities. At the age of 13, he started his own business with the dream of buying a bicycle. It was a very successful commercial business that continued into his late teenage years. He developed his love of dynamics, business, the power of the network, and discovered this further while studying for his Bachelor of Business Administration studies and MBA.
Martynas specialized early in STEM and economic sciences. Having excelled at school as well as at university, he was encouraged by many professors to explore various fields and subjects. Awarded by a highly respected professor, Eliyahu M. Goldratt’s book “The Goal” created a deep obsession and a new passion for change management, project management and organizational transformations for Martynas.
He started his professional career at Barclays Bank Plc as a Project Management Assistant. Its further development did not take long, and at the age of 27, he has already accumulated extensive experience and earned all possible certifications to lead the transformation in the industry. He shared that some of the projects he was involved in really changed the rules of the game and shared that he was grateful to the leaders, mentors and coaches who stood by him during this period of exponential growth.
According to Martynas, life always has a way of presenting us with incredible challenges and she embarked on a very promising Danish initiative, Mobile. “These 5 years have been another important chapter, both in terms of business and growth for me as a leader. It’s like MobilePay popped up and was the #1 app in Denmark for several years, with up to 80% market penetration and the #2 strongest brand in customer experience (after LEGO) in Denmark. It was also a company that built the new face of finance for many private sector and SME businesses. During those years, I elevated my leadership to CIO in terms of agile leadership paths, high-performing teams, the ability to drive exponential growth for the business and handle uncertainty on another level.”
Not surprisingly, in Martynas’ words, he was completely and utterly ready for the journey with Girteka when the opportunity to take on a transformational challenge of his life occurred.
Developing Effective Strategies to Overcome Enemies
Martynas classifies their major challenges into three main categories.
Martynas cites the saying, “All strategies are of no value without practice,” citing the phrase, “We had really poor abilities to execute strategy, and we really needed to ‘sharpen the saw’ and recreate it practically from scratch while we were doing it faster than ever before we could quickly get the low-hanging fruit. . ”
In addition, he notes that when the utility type is a business (logistics and transportation), it is a struggle to have a good return on investment to keep everyone happy. This internal struggle can be dangerous if there is a lack of determination and determination to strategically manage finances. As a result, all technical infrastructure from the starting point fell short of expectations and it is not possible to accelerate digital transformation unless they manage IT, the SLA area that needs to be adjusted with the future in mind. This caused him to hurriedly throw himself on a “fix IT” journey.
Finally, he mentions the third category, ‘culture’. Culture is the king of change and if not managed well it can consume leaders, strategies and any initiative. There is room for improvement in this area where Girteka and all of the company’s customers and partners are placed at the center of everything.
Addressing the Qualifications of CIOs
Martynas believes the role of the CIO is crucial in modern times, and it’s impossible to imagine a Fortune 500 company without a CIO, CTO, or CDO as the key executive on the key decision-making team.
In a fast-moving, customer demand-driven, and ever-changing environment brimming with opportunities and significant challenges, to manage and embrace change at a rapid pace, here are some of Martynas’ qualities every CIO needs:
- Business Intelligence – Understanding the business to its core and industry so one can gain insights and bring opportunities, communicating with the board and other CxOs to bring initiatives that help identify innovative revenue streams.
- Customer advocacy – Listening to the market and acting fast is essential for any successful business. Speak on behalf of customers and discreetly across the board if needed.
- Cheerful technology and business. “The role of the technology leader is not to develop a digital strategy or vision, but to embed digital in business strategy,” said Larry Quinlan, Deloitte’s global CIO. Quoting this, Martynas says, CIOs cannot abandon the technology roots that drove them to senior executives with the skills needed to transfer external pressures to their business stakeholders.
- Emotional and leadership acumen – In short, global hybrid work, different management techniques, agile leadership and everyday understanding of your employees are essential to being a manager, not just a manager.
Embracing Industry Insights to Drive Innovation
Martynas mentions a few key challenges in the transportation industry that are well outlined in the 2018 BGC report (link, https://www.bcg.com/publications/2018/why-road-freight-needs-go-digital-fast).
- High Fragmentation, Low Transparency
- Under-Use of Assets and inefficiency in costs
- Legacy Client Interfaces
Martynas explains these through fintech-like client interfaces in the marketplace, new ways to close gaps in visibility, work with the platform, build ultra-wealthy light business ideas, partnerships, and use AI and RPA to improve asset utilization at a much higher level than in the industry.
Speaking about innovation, Martynas said, “To innovate, you need to understand where your own and industry perspectives and technology connects the company’s strategy and capabilities. We have chosen to make changes in all the areas mentioned earlier. So far, we have planned 75% of our European operations with AI and that is our As we see it, the beginning of the revolution. As freight company No. 1 and dreamer of Top#10 Logistics, we see this as a key operational advantage. Over time, we have created new interfaces between customers and ourselves, and this translates to €340 million through digitally enriched orders from customers. “We have generated more than more than 60 percent annual growth. We also run more than 100 robots and will soon be investing even more in different forms of automation.”
Artificial Intelligence Will Open a New Era in Technologies
Martynas truly believes this is the world’s most important tipping point where AI will open a new era of technology to work with. In addition, he compares the impact that the internet had in those days.
He emphasizes that technologies such as IoT, smart enterprises powered by data, RPA, SAAS with Cloud computing and others are fundamental to understanding not only CIO leaders but also business leaders. All businesses are largely technology businesses as customers demand, and this requires upright learning and adoption of business lines to suit ever-changing realities.
“Cybersecurity is a field in itself. My former leadership mentor had a good saying. Like a snake… you can play with it, but one day it might kill you too. Martynas, CIOs need to understand that it doesn’t matter how well you do for customers and business, security is not something you can compromise on.
Towards the Future with More Flexibility and Sustainability
Martynas reveals that logistics and the entire supply chain will be fundamentally redesigned in the next ten or twenty years. Many businesses have learned the lessons of COVID-19 the hard way, and greater flexibility and sustainability will be tied to the industry’s new design.
This leaves opportunities to improve the eco-footprint and sustainability per service design, as well as bring electrification of logistics assets and reduce this 72% carbon emission contribution number to a much more manageable and acceptable level. “Customers will not live up to their expectations, which will translate into unprecedented demands for same-day delivery, carbon-neutral service. We will need to adapt and lead the next decade. The Uber type of experience will emerge, where ultra-wealthy light business models will gain against the old-fashioned asset-heavy ones in the market. That doesn’t mean assets will be out of the equation, but from an investor perspective, financial investment will support new agile business models that, when the time comes, can easily scale and fit into the comfort of the market.”
Ground Rules for Emerging Managers
Martynas mentions three important tips for emerging CIOs/technology leaders/managers:
- To understand the sector and business in which it is involved, to lead and not be a follower.
- Never let go of the core technology roots that have brought someone to where they are now, investing in building a core business and leadership mindset to be a T-shaped manager at the decision table.
- Having a high ethical and leadership perspective and combining them with your own values so you never have to fight yourself and create positive synergies with yourself.