In October of last year, Michel van Roozendaal was appointed President of Kalmar Mobile Solutions, having previously worked as the President of MacGregor since 2015. Born in 1963, Michel holds a Master's degree in Aerospace Engineering as well as an MBA from INSEAD. He currently lives in Singapore.

Michel brings to his new position a long experience of leadership positions across a range of different industries with a focus on innovation, automation and digitalisation. Moving to Kalmar from his previous job at MacGregor felt like a very natural move.

"This is a fabulous opportunity to be part of an industry that is so vitally important for global trade," Michel notes. "I sincerely hope that I can contribute with the experiences I have gained over the last years."    

Global connections

Since a young age, Michel has felt a strong connection with ports and the shipping industry. A Dutch national, he grew up in Rotterdam and remembers cycling to school amidst the hustle and bustle of what was, at the time, the largest port in the world. Although he chose a different direction for his studies, eventually landing his first job as an aerospace engineer at the European Space Agency, he kept his interest in ports and global maritime logistics. 

"Having this exposure in my youth certainly gave me an outward-looking perspective, a sense that people, countries, and markets are connected via ports," Michel recollects. "Later on, having seen many of these countries, I also gained a sense of how global trade lifts people’s prosperity and perspectives in life. So it has been great to work at Cargotec where our jobs are all about enabling sustainable cargo flows across the world."

Moving towards the future

Kalmar is leading the drive to what the company has termed the New Era of Logistics, a convergence of fully electric operations, digital services and robotisation that will enable completely new types of solutions for the global logistics industry. In his new position at Kalmar Mobile Solutions, Michel is particularly inspired by the progress that Kalmar has made in developing its electric portfolio of container handling equipment. 

"Eco-efficiency is a big topic in our industry, and electrification is incontestably the way forward. Our customers are expecting electrification and governments are simultaneously pushing for it on the regulatory side. It will not take long before an electric portfolio will match and exceed the capabilities of traditional equipment. Moreover, the great thing about eco-efficiency is that it's almost always aligned with bottom-line profits through reduced energy consumption."

"The great thing about eco-efficiency is that it's almost always aligned with bottom-line profits through reduced energy consumption."

As further focus areas in the New Era of Logistics, Michel is equally excited by the possibilities of new digital services and Kalmar's recently announced robotic mobile equipment portfolio.

"Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to see how electrification and digitalisation have transformed many other industries, and now it's our turn to take the leap. Electrification is not just about eco-efficiency, but it's also the key to unlocking tremendous opportunities in automation and robotisation. These new solutions will give us the possibility of dramatically improving the occupational safety of our industry, while increasing productivity and helping optimise operations on a larger scale."

Focusing on the right things

Now, many years later, Michel again lives in a great port city – though Singapore has, in turn, had its position as the world's largest seaport overtaken by Shanghai. "Living in Asia does give you a sense of the speed at which change happens and things move forward," Michel notes. "It also instils a sense of urgency. If you don't move fast enough, somebody will overtake you."

"Lean is not just about efficiency in manufacturing, but having a perfectly customer-focused attitude."

As a team leader in diverse industrial companies, Michel has been particularly inspired by Lean methodologies, which he intends to bring to the foreground at Kalmar Mobile Solutions. "People sometimes think Lean means taking away resources, whereas it's actually about eliminating waste", he points out. "And waste in this context means any action, product or feature that is not valued by the end customer. In other words, we need to be asking ourselves constantly, is this process or design that I'm working on meaningful for the end customer? So the crucial thing to understand is that Lean is not just about efficiency in manufacturing, but having a perfectly customer-focused attitude."

Michel notes that embracing this approach has given him a focus on and a drive for performance, but he has also learned that performance can only be achieved when teams are aligned and committed.

In his new position, he is looking forward to meeting as many of Kalmar's customers and channel partners as possible. He has also been selected to lead the Ports business of the future company created by the planned merger of Cargotec and Konecranes in 2022. "A key part of my job is learning about our business from our customers and resellers, engaging in dialogue to stay informed of what the market wants and needs. So again, linking back to the Lean philosophy, I see my job as doing my best every day at what is right for our customers. It's really as simple as that."