Suresh Kannappan

Redefining Logistics Leadership with Analytical Brilliance

Suresh Kannappan

Chief Commercial Officer,

Freight Systems

A mind that thinks analytically and reasons logically supersedes challenges in the logistics industry. Such is the cognitive prowess that defines Suresh Kannappan, the Chief Commercial Officer at Freight Systems. His academic odyssey, commencing with a degree in mechanical engineering, bestowed upon him a robust foundation in analytical thinking and logical reasoning. This engineering mindset, cultivated during his formative years, uniquely equips him with the skill to deconstruct complex logistical challenges into manageable components.
The journey doesn’t halt at mechanical engineering; it seamlessly advances into finance. Pursuing a master’s in finance and an MBA, Suresh gains a strategic lens through which to view business operations. The financial acumen acquired becomes a cornerstone for him, enabling a nuanced understanding of budgeting, financial planning, and resource allocation— essential aspects of effective commercial leadership.
What distinguishes Suresh is the harmonious integration of these disciplines. This dual educational background imparts a holistic approach to problem-solving. This holistic perspective becomes indispensable in the dynamic and ever-evolving logistics sector, where adaptability and logical reasoning are paramount.
As Suresh transitions from operational roles to a decade-long focus on commercial leadership, he emerges as a guiding force, instrumental in steering Freight Systems’ commercial endeavours within the logistics industry. TradeFlock interviewed this expert to learn more about his journey. 

Could you detail your CCO responsibilities in the logistics industry?

As the Chief Commercial Officer, I oversee profit and loss for India and Sri Lanka, leading commercial operations for both countries. Managing sales and commercial teams, my role extends beyond conventional management. It involves setting stringent budget targets, actively mentoring and coaching, fostering innovation, and empowering individuals for peak performance. I play a pivotal role in cultivating a future business growth pipeline, anticipating and shaping market trends through a strategic lens. This multifaceted position requires a visionary approach for navigating the logistics industry’s complexities, including understanding geopolitical factors, regulatory landscapes, and emerging technologies. My strategic foresight ensures sustained growth and positions our organisation as a leader in the ever-evolving logistics sector.

How does your market intelligence excel in sales, customer service, and mentoring?

Market intelligence is my linchpin in sales, customer service, and mentoring. It goes beyond a mere skill— it forms the core of my approach. In an era of information abundance, understanding intricate market dynamics is non-negotiable. My ability to not just comprehend but anticipate trends and proactively provide solutions is the cornerstone of our competitive edge. This nuanced strategy involves presenting solutions before customers realize their needs, fostering a profound appreciation for our services. Continuous immersion in the logistics landscape sharpens this intelligence, empowering strategic sales and proactive customer partnerships. Mentoring, for me, is about instilling a continual learning mindset and integrating market intelligence into our organisational DNA.

How do industry and customer adaptability pose hurdles in logistics?

The logistics industry grapples with a dual challenge: embracing technological advancements while coaxing a traditionally rooted customer base into a paradigm shift. While the industry strides forward in integrating cutting-edge technologies, convincing a customer base, often led by seasoned professionals, to abandon conventional methods remains a formidable hurdle. Bridging the gap necessitates great efforts to align customer preferences with the evolving technological landscape.
Despite commendable progress, a significant portion of our customer base remains anchored in traditional practices, requiring a balanced introduction of advanced technologies. Overcoming scepticism towards digital solutions and shedding the industry’s traditional image demands nuanced approaches. Continuous efforts are underway to demystify technologies by emphasising tangible benefits and fostering a culture of innovation. The challenge persists, emphasising the ongoing need to harmonise industry evolution with customer adaptability. 

Reflecting on economic downturns and Red Sea crisis, share your key insights, tech impact, and solutions.

In times of economic turbulence, our classrooms become a breeding ground for resilience, efficiency, and a proactive outlook. The recent geopolitical tensions surrounding the Red Sea has brought about a cascade of obstacles, manifesting as delivery delays ranging between 14 to 20 days. Furthermore, capacity constraints have led to an alarming 80% surge in surcharges, while insurance premiums have witnessed a notable 20% increase. As a global leader, we have risen to the occasion, responding with a strategic approach focused on adaptability and resilience. Embracing technological advancements lies at the core. Additionally, we advocate for the Sea-Air option, a game-changing solution that combines the speed of airfreight with the cost-effectiveness of sea freight and have explored alternative routes. Our ability to swiftly adapt and forge new paths is a source of great pride for us.

What aspects, personally and professionally, fulfill you as a CCO?

My role brings both professional gratification and personal pride. Professionally, steering commercial activities in an industry vital to global operations is rewarding. Managing profit and loss requires financial acumen and a strategic approach to ensure sustained growth. Personally, fulfillment stems from contributing to an industry that influences various sectors. Recognizing the supply chain’s role as a linchpin in daily life adds a profound layer of personal satisfaction. In essence, being a Chief Commercial Officer isn’t just a job; it’s a responsibility and privilege, intertwining professional achievements with personal pride in shaping the narrative of global connectivity.
















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