Maria Torrent-March, Europa Logistics Director shares her journey and thoughts on the future of the warehouse sector.
From Barcelona, Maria joined Europa nearly 16 years ago, climbing the ranks to be promoted to Director in 2016. She oversees the award-winning Warehouse division operating dedicated warehouse and logistics space in Birmingham, Dartford and Corby – customers include a number of e-commerce and blue-chip online retailers.
Maria is a shining example of how women can succeed in the logistics industry. She said: “Europa is certainly leading the way for the logistics sector in giving opportunities to employees who show promise – gender doesn’t come into it and never has. What I love about the business is that every time I have been ready for the next challenge, I’ve been given it, hence why I have stayed here for more than a decade.”
When choosing her career path, Maria said the logistics industry appealed to her most because it is such a diverse business area. She said: “I joined Europa’s tailored management programme where I quickly gained experience in all parts of the business to successfully become a Business Development Manager. I loved being able to apply all the knowledge learnt from the management programme to design optimum solutions for our customers, most of the time for their whole supply chain, not just one service element.”
Maria worked in this role for a year before being promoted to Logistics Administration Manager at one of Europa’s warehouse facilities, working with the team to provide a multitude of warehousing and logistics services for market-leading trade sector brands and blue chip customers. In this position she was responsible for £5m worth of contracts and was in charge of HMRC bond and excise regulatory compliance, MHRA and Home Office processes and customer service, again developing her skill set and broadening her horizons.
She comments: “When Andrew Baxter bought the business I was keen to see what vision he had for the future and thrilled when I heard his ambitious plans. He encouraged me to leave operations and to gain further commercial experience.
“I took the Head of Sales role for the logistics division and after some time off when I had my first child I returned to work and a year later was offered a promotion to Logistics Director. I’m a very vocal advocate of promoting logistics as a rewarding, challenging and exciting career path for women and men of diverse backgrounds and I’m proud to work for a business which makes that a priority too.”
As part of her role, Maria is continually focused on driving change, always looking at the latest innovations and how they can benefit Europa’s operation. By working very closely with customers, Maria is able to understand their current requirements and future goals, to design an operation that is fit for purpose for their current needs and is also future proof.
With the pandemic resulting in an e-commerce boom, the past year has been a challenging time for the logistics industry. Maria said: “We’ve had to be resilient and quickly adapt to clients’ needs during a time of unprecedented increase in demand for e-commerce – it has certainly been a challenge. Now we are looking to the future, focusing on introducing processes which can improve efficiencies.”
Maria believes automation is the future of the logistics industry. She explains: “Automation requires a substantial investment but the long-term operational costs are lower than manual labour costs and it counteracts the current issue of staff shortages within the industry. In addition, there are multiple sustainability benefits.
“Most importantly, the introduction of innovative technology will allow the industry to provide a streamlined service, giving logistics providers the ability to better plan and predict the flow of goods, assisting the industry in the ever-growing demand for e-commerce and support consumer requirements of next day deliveries.”
Europa Worldwide Group has six divisions – Europa Road, Europa Air & Sea, Europa Showfreight, Europa Warehouse, Europa Contact Centre and Continental Cargo Carriers.