According to Anselm Waterfield, CEO, Translogix Software , technology may be the only solution to getting a business out of a growth rut.
The small to medium sized enterprises who dominate the transport industry are often family run operations quite modest in terms of scale, yet driven by a clear commitment to building a successful business. Responding to the demands of customers and problematic issues of the day takes precedence and leaves precious little time for longer term planning.
Regardless of the size of the operation, most transport businesses have common goals including maximising utilisation of vehicles, billing clients correctly and quickly as well as providing customers with information about their goods.
Combined with regulatory demands, there is increased pressure on operators to meet the increasing demands from customers whilst also trying to keep a firm lid on costs.
Transport operators find it challenging to set their business up for continued growth, given their preoccupation with immediate challenges and lack of time for future improvements.
Generally speaking, businesses with sustained growth have solid foundations that have been laid through systems and processes. Well considered, smart computer systems ensure the daily operations of these businesses function consistently to a high standard and provide management with accurate information.
With automated, consistent and standard processes in place, owners and management are freed up to assess the business with an informed mindset, allowing time to focus on improvements and strategies for growth.
Wafer thin business margins may discourage many operators from making the financial investment required to take on a computer system but they would be surprised by the quick ROI.
A transport management system will automate operational and administrative processes while orders will be priced correctly and invoiced quickly ensuring mistakes and lost consignments are a thing of the past.
Improved fleet utilisation will generate further savings and significant reductions in administrative effort coupled with elimination of revenue leakage will nearly always be enough to justify the investment. Some businesses have recouped their costs in less than six months.
Additionally, business owners and managers can now concentrate on the important task of winning new business without the ‘daily drudge’ or revenue leakage concerns.
Contracts are without doubt, won and lost based on the ability to provide the greatest value to the customer and delivering the highest service level at the lowest cost.
With a good transport management system in place, transport operators will have their costs under control and a platform to deliver more ‘smarts’ to the customer, which may include mobile technology, POD, track and trace, real-time web access for customers and electronic exchange of information.
Evidence shows businesses without adequate computer systems in place will hit the wall on growth as people costs escalate and management has no time to plan.
It takes most transport operators at least six months to properly evaluate, select and implement a new computer system in addition to another six months to deploy smart technologies, which means the business is at least 12 months away from competing with the best.
The earlier the business invests in technology, the faster it will be able to regain control of operations, allowing management to strategize and plan for future growth.