When logistics providers were asked to predict the biggest challenges they expected to face in 2016, “Competitor Activity” came top. At the same time, when asked to list the biggest opportunities available, the possibility of taking away business from existing players also topped the poll.
This sums up the climate within the industry. Those companies whose outdated IT infrastructure means they are unable to meet customer expectations are faced with competitors all too willing to move in on their patch.Conversely, those businesses who have the right systems and tools in place are ideally positioned to take advantage of the shortcomings of others.
Limping on with an outdated technology will increasingly cause you to leak revenue through customer attrition – not to mention needless waste through lost productivity. So is your tech costing you thousands? Here are some key areas to focus on…
Staying ahead: the cost of not utilising your business data
Do you have accurate and up-to-date information on contract fulfilment times? What are the choke points in your distribution chain – and what are the specific problems that tend to arise? Just how effective are your current partners of choice in fulfilling their contractual obligations? Who are your most valuable customers in terms of profits generated? Are you currently handling any contracts that are actually unprofitable, once all factors are taken into account?
Especially when it comes to setting your pricing structure, the ability to harness all of this business-critical data is crucial.
Those of your competitors who have the technical ability to do this will reap the benefits:
- prices will be pitched to balance the fine line between competitiveness and profitability
- critical issues will be identified and dealt with before a major problem arises
- the company will have the ability to identify clearly which type of customers to move in on in order to maximise profitability.
To avoid losing out in each of these areas, your tech must enable you to access all of this data, interpret it, spot trends and put it to work. In 2016, this shouldn’t mean juggling various different spreadsheets; think instead of a system that incorporates all departments of the business and that’s tailor made or adapted to meet your specific needs.
The need for virtualisation
The fact that your workforce is scattered is no longer an excuse for them being out of touch with you or with each other. No matter the nature of your logistics business and the geographical area covered, it ought to be possible to put together a reliable environment with predictable connectivity.
Updates, tracking and monitoring should be seamless – ideally utilising a user-friendly interface that new starters and temporary employees can get to grips with easily.
Not investing in this and instead having to frequently explain away minor supply chain problems will eventually cause those customers to jump ship.
Whereas in years past it was enough for customers to be told what was happening on a contract, these days, they expect and demand to see for themselves what is happening.
A failure to deliver on transparency is a guaranteed way to leak customers. To address this, consider carefully whether your existing system allows customer access to order tracking – but in a secure environment that minimises the risk of a potentially damaging data breach.
So do you have what it takes to avoid losing revenue unnecessarily? Make sure your software and network infrastructure is not your weakest link when it comes to staying ahead of the competition.