The transport and logistics industry is replete with complexities. Multiple supply chains, high operational costs, and the pressure of aligning with the complex business processes of its clients, the industry has its hands full. In order to successfully manage the various challenges face by them, the transport and logistics companies are utilising digital technology and tools.
The top challenges in the transport and logistics business
One of the most pressing concerns for transport and logistics companies is the problem of trucks returning from a location with empty backloads. With the high transportation costs, this puts a dent in the profitability of the entire operation and cuts into the overall revenue of the company. With drop in revenue companies may be forced to increase its prices which can further hit their business adversely. Therefore, companies need to find prospects at the location of the truck and fill the backload on its way back. If carried manually, it is a highly time consuming process which drains an organization’s resources as well. This inefficiency can also impact the profits.
Secondly, transportation companies often deal with a variance in the contractual volumes promised to them and the actual volumes they receive. This issue can be sorted if all the stakeholders have sufficient visibility on the agreed upon volumes and the actual volumes.
Thirdly, transport and logistics companies generate business by submitting tenders with the client organizations. The process of tender submission is arduous and costs money. Before a big tender is submitted, the company has to invest in learning about the prospective client, its needs, and its ways of working. With due information, the applying company can make an accurate assessment and manage their bid accordingly. Therefore, logistics companies spend countless manhours researching the client.
Also, maintaining customer relationships through their life cycle is an important element that directly impacts a company’s revenue. When marketing and sales departments fail at identify their existing customer’s needs, they also fail to answer them. This leads to customer attrition and subsequent revenue loss for the company. Therefore, companies have to invest in a strategy to effectively handle client accounts.
Finally, companies often deal with the dilemma of being overly dependent on their sales personnel for maintaining customer relationships. Sometimes customer interactions happen with the sales executives and there is no centralised system to record such interactions. When the said sales executives leave the company, the customer information is also lost. This kind of dependence on people leads to loss of critical customer information which can help the company serve them better. This translates into customer attrition eventually. Companies should, therefore, invest in centralised systems which can store client information and interactions.
How CRM can solve the above challenges of the transport and logistics industry?
The answer to all the five issues stated above lies in the effective use of a tailored customer relationship management tool which specialises in handling transport and logistics processes. CRM software can effortlessly handle the myriad challenges of a transport and logistics business. It can –
Reduce incidences of empty backload for returning trucks
CRM systems provide location-based features that can readily find prospects on the truck route. The company can then build a list of prospects on the truck route and target them with promotional offers to reduce the chances of an empty backload. On receiving the responses, sales personnel can create a pricing quote for the customer and send it using the CRM tool in a matter of minutes. The entire process of tracking prospects to sending the interested ones a pricing quote is largely automated. It saves a significant amount of time, reduces staffing costs, and improves the profitability of the operation.
Track the actual volumes versus the contractual commitment
Because CRM can effectively track the real business volume and compare it with the committed volume, it becomes the eyes and ears of logistics operations. With regular dashboards and reports, it can give clear visibility on every customer’s business volumes.
Assist in tender management
CRM serves as a centralised collaboration tool keeping all stakeholders in the loop while managing the entire bidding process with its in-built scoring mechanism. It lends objectivity to the process of bid management by providing its recommendations on the basis of factors such as relationship strength and the operational scope of the project.
Manage customer’s share of wallet
CRM system acts as a ready-reckoner for sales executives to further explore business opportunities with existing clients. It does so by analysing customer information to understand their needs and then matches the right products with those needs. CRM provides visibility into a client’s product consumption and helps the sales executives in identifying the next range of products to cross-sell. In this way, it increases the customer’s share of wallet.
Retain customer relationships
With a centralised CRM platform, companies can store and organize entire customer data in one place. They do not run the risk of losing out on crucial customers every time a salesperson walks out. In a high employee attrition industry like logistics, it reduces the chance of losing touch with customers and helps the new salespeople to get onboard faster.
Irrespective of the size of a business, transport and logistics companies need to align their internal process with the external environment to manage operations smoothly and improve the profitability. CRM implementation partners such as Manras Technologies can help them in building a customised solution that fits their needs. An expert in the field of CRM software packages, Manras Technologies is a trusted global consultation partner providing logistics and transportation services in software development to clients across the globe. Built on the Salesforce platform, its solutions solve even the most complex logistics and transportation problems faced by clients. Some of its services include inventory management, warehouse management, supply chain management, vehicle load control, traffic monitoring and optimization, driver activity monitoring and management, etc.
A customised CRM software brings with it the benefits of automation and accessibility. In a competitive landscape where time and efficiency impact the profitability of logistic operations significantly, use of a robust and centralised platform can take the chaos away and streamline the processes while aligning all stakeholders to the common goals.