With the growth of the Indian economy, there has been increase in the importance of transport and logistics. This sector has always been crucial for the country’s infrastructural and economic development. The Indian logistics market has observed its way forward from old-fashioned traditional transport companies to a much grown and full-fledged logistics service provider by offering various supply chain services. The growth in this sector is primarily dependent on the growth of goods across different sectors within the country and goods traded with other countries.
The transportation and logistics industry, like any other industry, is currently facing multiple challenges; and like all challenges, the situation offers both risks and opportunities. An entirely new set of technologies, market players, customer expectations, and business models have arrived to address these challenges. Some could even be evolutionary, others more radical and groundbreaking depending on the kind of challenge at hand.
Challenges In The Logistics Sector
There are several challenges and it majorly comes down to the fragmentation of the startup logistics sector and the inability of technology alone to resolve issues faced by these companies.
A number of such logistic startups failed because they did not take an overall view of the sector. Just adding a thin layer of technology does not solve the deep-rooted problems such as non-availability of drivers and fragmented truck ownership. The challenges faced by logistics startups are majorly capital investment, training the teams in core logistics, strategic location of warehouses, research and development, frequent technical upgradation, third-party logistics, amongst others. Lack of digital presence and training is also the biggest challenge which today’s transportation and logistics companies are facing.
Technology – It Is Not The Only Solution
There are always two sides of a coin. The intervention of technology can benefit logistics companies, whether it’s a startup or an established company.
It vividly improves productivity, end-to- end visibility, warehouse and yard management, fleet management, escalates customer account management, fuel and sales management costs, assimilates off-road and on-road movement of consignments and vehicle, improves relationship and accessibility, ensuring real-time tracking and tracing, condenses labor and increases transparency and accountability within the organisation.
Though technology is important in today’s tech savvy world, for a logistic startup to succeed, it is very important that companies should build customised solutions for all clients. Technology alone will not solve all issues.
Execution Is The Key
Coming up with great ideas is not a big task as every year millions of entrepreneurs come up with great ideas. And every year countless hours are spent in creating and re-creating detailed business and strategic plans. Most of the time this effort goes waste as entrepreneurs fail to follow through on their own well thought-out plans.
One of the books, “Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan says,
The key to proper execution lies in three core areas: people, strategy and operations. Without a careful and planned approach to execution, strategic goals cannot be attained.
Thus, only a great strategy in place, cannot suffice in meeting the desired goals.
Customisation Of Services As Per Customer Needs
Industrial customers like individual consumers are now expecting to get shipments faster, more flexibly, and with more transparency at a lower price. There is no surprise, that across the industry, both profitability and operating models are under pressure and strain. And the speed of revolution and transformation for large manufacturing and retail customers may turn out to be faster than for end and private consumers.
This explains that different customers, whether it’s the B2B or B2C, have different needs. And thus, it is very important that the company transporting goods, products or even services customise their solutions as per customer needs.
Training And Employee Benefits To Blue Collar Employees.
It is very important that the blue collar employees at these logistics startups are offering employee benefits and receive sufficient on the job training like the other regular employees.
Offering benefits and training not only makes these blue-collar employees more efficient in what they are required to do but also makes them more loyal towards their employers.
Processes Should Be In Place
The processes one develops to run a certain product or service is very crucial. If it is not followed to the core, it can at times backfire. The processes that are made to follow are meant to develop products and services that create ideal value for customers.
In order to be innovative, you can use market research, customer surveys and other forms of feedback to anticipate and identify improvements in your product and service portfolio. Involving your own employees, customers, partners and suppliers in the development of innovative products, services and experiences is very crucial.
The process needs to be created as per the customer and should be followed to the T.
Communication And Tracking
For a successful logistics and supply chain management, communication and a good customer support team are essential and significant. Services offered to customers depend on proper communication amongst the delivery teams for a smooth process.
With technologies like automated updates, reporting and tracking facilities, it is very convenient for firms to let end users know about the status of the consignment at any point in time and provide hassle free experience throughout the shipment.
The main growth driver in the logistics sector is majorly the success of ecommerce and startup sector.
The right balance in adopting a good technology platform and with strong execution systems, logistics start-ups can start being profitable and run successful businesses.
[This post is authored by Abhishek Nehru, CEO of Brring.]