As ocean freight charges continue to rise, customer relations and an emphasis on cash management are more vital than ever for UK-based hauliers and freight forwarders. So, how can firms in the logistics industry improve their client base, while keeping a close eye on their cashflow?
Hauliers and freight forwarders at present are being made to respond to a variety of sector problems. The pace at which economies internationally are relaxing their covid-related boundaries and the reopening has shaped an imbalance in demand and supply levels, which has created competition as countries compete to boost their own supply chains.
Surges in demand are creating staff shortages
This “stocking up” has resulted in a surge in demand for warehouses, triggering an increase in the price as the supply struggle to meet. Shortages in skills over a variety jobs such as HGV drivers and warehouse employees have added to interruptions and enforced closures at ports and there are cases recently of ships being sent away from Felixstowe, as they had insufficient capacity. Brexit-related customs variations, which have presented an extra administrative problem for firms trading internationally, are also continuing to cause sector disruption.
How is a rise in logistical technology causing problems?
A rise in the implementation of logistics technologies, such as delivery tracking systems, by larger firms also presents a problem to traditional relations between transport and logistics firms and their clients. As such, it’s vital that the industry refocuses on precisely what clients need, so measures can be taken to add more value to their business models.
To ensure that their clients perceive them as more than a general supplier, freight forwarders should start by reviewing their customer service at present. Rather than providing nonspecific, ‘one size fits all’ resolutions, it’s vital to understand their customers’ industry and the individual problems they face in detail. Finding an opportunity to develop an important procedure by sharing valued industry-specific insights could help to increase business in the long-term, by aligning the firm with the customer as a trusted partner.
Who is your perfect client? And how can you reach them?
To enhance their client base, hauliers and freight forwarders also have to give cautious thought to who their perfect client is, this includes consideration of their revenue, profitability and payment standings. The subsequent step is to outline the firms existing customer base and see which of these companies are suitable within this model. Lastly, consideration on how to reach the ideal client base should be done, with an emphasis on leveraging extra business from current customers. During this procedure, decision-makers need be ready to have tough discussions; to attain a solid customer relation, it’s vital for firms to understand the significance of the service provided and its quantifiable benefits for their performance.
The end to financial provisions
While managing cashflow was high on the business agenda earlier on in the epidemic, the industry must not lose focus now that government financial provisions are ending. Three-way forecasting, which encompasses merging data for the business’s balance sheet, cashflow and profit and loss, can aid hauliers and freight forwarders to improve preparations for the future by understanding the cashflow effects t of numerous different situations over the next 12-24 months.
Are there other revenue streams you can tap into?
Firms should also aim to stay openminded when considering their various selections for increasing revenues. It is probable that their service offering, and sales pipeline will have altered throughout the duration of the epidemic. For example, have they become specialised in a certain area, such as refrigerated medical products? As SMEs in the industry are usually nimble and in a healthier position to react to sector fluctuations, they should aim to play to their strengths by taking advantage of this ability to be the first to market and win new business.
By taking measures to build customer relationships where they are seen as valued partners, and by constructing a plan for strengthening their business’ financial position, hauliers and freight forwarders can weather the storm of rising ocean freight charges and build robust foundations to combat future sector problems.