Ulla Tapaninen Logistics professional of the Year

Finnish Association of Purchasing and Logistics LOGY ry awarded the Logistics Professional of the Year award to Doctor of Technology, professor Ulla Tapaninen. The recognition was announced on February 9, 2023 at the LOGY Conference, an annual logistics and procurement industry event.

The award committee wrote: “”Tapaninen is an advocate of logistics and shipping, who has actively highlighted the necessity of a green transition of transport and shipping for the Finnish national economy and has critically considered the impact of transport support systems on competitiveness. She is a strong opener, debater and influencer in the field of logistics.”

Attached are my notes from my speech at the event:

Many thanks for this attention. It’s great to be remembered for your whole life’s work in front of so many friends and colleagues.

I have more than 30 years of uninterrupted work career in logistics. I have had the opportunity to both study and research at universities and see practical logistics in shipping companies. However, the biggest lesson came from working for a decade in the public sector, in the city of Helsinki. I got to see why so many wishes of business life were not heard in decision-making or the solution models developed at universities were not implemented. How political decision-making works.

It works by discussion.

Dear friends, Anna recently brought up my active role in discussions in the field of logistics. Because only by discussing in public, we hear and learn to understand also those views outside our own field and this room, which nevertheless have a great importance for our future.

Today’s theme has been risk management, about which we have heard very good views. However, two themes have been missing: the green transition of energy and the threat to business caused by public subsidies.

I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone: The fossil fuel-based economy, and from our point of view, transportation, is already a sunset industry. Those companies that try to stay in the fossil fuel path will inevitably lose this game – sooner or later. So – if I know your company doesn’t yet have a strategy on how to transition away from fossil fuel transport – use next night to think about it.

However, the most important risk management measure, which is talked about very little: It is important that we do not base our business operations on government support systems, whether they are tax exemptions or, for example, fuel price support. They might make it easier for a while, but when the subsidies disappear sooner or later, our business operations will not be competitive. Various types of business support are a risk – not an opportunity – for sustainable business operations, because then we hand over the keys to success outside our company.

With these messages, I thank you very much for the attention I received and wish you a successful future in the logistics industry.

Photo: Juha Tuomi / Finnish Association of Purchasing and Logistics LOGY

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