SME Logistics Providers: Digitising B2B Logistics -> Increase market share

Published on: 17 November 2020

It is no news that the logistics industry is flooded with service providers: domestic, regional, cross-border, large and small, all offering an array of services. So how does a logistics provider scale their B2B offering and attract local manufacturers, retailers and other clients to use their service?

Of course, price and excellent service are generally what clients look for to start with. However, these are not the only factors that play an important role in a logistics provider’s market share & growth. The below factors are surely not to be ignored.

- Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

- Technology adoption

- Transparency and customer Care

- Rate Shopping

Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

run at the right cost to enjoy economies of scale and provide the right price

There are a magnitude of costs when running a logistics business, and these costs are constantly moving based on circumstances, shipping routes, political decisions, regulations and other moving targets. It should come to no surprise that operational efficiency needs to be at the top of the agenda of all organisations to ensure that processes are continuously streamlined allowing the company to run at the right cost in order to enjoy economies of scale and provide the right price to their customers for the service they provide.

Technology adoption

Companies with the right technology (both internal as well as client facing) are better positioned than those with laborious processes requiring customers to “call in to book a shipment”, “email us for further details” and other time-consuming procedures.

We are living in a time where working from home has become a norm, where contactless pickups & deliveries are on the rise and ease of access is extremely important. Technology is the enabler to attract new customers by making it easy to book a shipment, request a pickup, track my item and settle all dues. Companies with the right technology (both internal as well as client facing) are better positioned than those with laborious processes still requiring customers to “call in to book a shipment”, “email us for further details” and other time-consuming procedures.

Customers are looking for the fastest way to process their work (while still receiving sterling service) and are willing to pay those companies who do that.

Transparency and Customer Care

The implementation of end-to-end platforms to facilitate the full tracking of an item, request notifications and follow through the entire journey helps companies meet their customers’ expectations and allows them to focus on what they do best.

The end customer is becoming more and more demanding. Immediate parcel status information, notification requests and other end-client related information is now expected and demanded by purchasing clients. SME Logistics companies need to provide the same service to their clients as would other carriers/ operators. Of course, this comes at an operational cost and at an infrastructure cost.

Rate Shopping

Organisations must be free to ship and utilise multiple carriers for their shipping needs

Many a time have I been approached by an organisation to facilitate the ability to integrate with multiple carriers just because their current provider was no longer feasible for their business. Operators generally want to diversify their offering based on shipment destination, weight and size. The main hurdle here is related to the different labels/documentation each carrier requires, the direct technical integration required with these carriers and even worse, the time intensive processes to use the carriers platform for booking shipments due to the lack of integration.

Organisations must be free to ship and utilise multiple carriers for their shipping needs and embrace the right technology to enable them to do that allowing them to focus on their commercial requirements and not worry about the technical challenges.

Parting thoughts

The Logistics industry, especially the eCommerce Parcel shipping industry is indeed an extremely interesting and exciting one with several developments on the horizon and constantly growing volumes and opportunities. However for SMEs to scale, companies need to differentiate themselves from their competitors next door and embrace technology, partnerships and eCommerce platforms to be an attractive logistics option for their community customers.