We’re all aware of how logistics has taken on a new significance during the pandemic, with the home delivery market experiencing massive growth in demand.
But while logistics is big business, you don’t have to be a large enterprise to compete in the market successfully.
In fact, smaller logistics companies can beat the bigger players, if they can provide an agile, responsive and reliable service.
The Everyday Impact of Logistics
According to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), there are over 195,000 logistics enterprises in the UK. These various businesses have an ongoing impact on people’s daily lives.
We rely on logistics for transporting:
· Food and drink
· Waste and recycling
· Construction materials
Then you've got home shopping deliveries and transporting other retail goods to physical stores, as well as to and from warehouses and fulfilment centres.
The demand continues to be high, as disruptions to the supply chain highlight.
Third-Party Logistics and Supply Chain Resilience
Like other areas of the economy, the forecast for third-party logistics companies is a recovery in 2021-22, despite supply chain disruptions.
Small and medium-sized companies are taking advantage of the economy's dependence on supply chain resilience to provide niche services and bridge various gaps.
New entrants to the industry are finding ways to maximise certain elements in the value chain through new technology. Examples include cloud technology enabling digital freight forwarding and virtual supply chain management.
The growth of shared and fragmented services is another aspect in the evolution of logistics that favours new, smaller entrants. The last mile is critical. More companies are now involved in fulfilling this vital part of the process.
Here, newer and smaller enterprises are collaborating with larger firms to complement their services and shore up the levels of service that customers now expect.
Competition in logistics is becoming more complex. But this is providing fresh opportunities for smaller companies to compete more effectively.
Disruption and Change
Many of the changes to the supply chain come from disruptive elements and shifting patterns outside the influence of companies themselves.
Consequently, those enterprises that are more flexible and adaptable in their responses, including SMEs, can better position themselves to reap the rewards of these changes.
These changes include:
· Customer expectations – both industrial and individual customers expect deliveries to be fast, flexible and at competitive rates
· Efficiency and transparency – the internet of things (IoT) is raising the standards for how the supply chain operates and delivers, and anyone not meeting these standards is likely to be left behind
· New patterns of shopping – increasingly, logistics companies are serving B2C customers, who have gone digital well in advance of physical retailers.
Going Local to Compete Successfully
A key aspect of mining last-mile partnerships for success is how locally based carriers can build trust with customers and offer specifically tailored services.
National and international logistics brands may be household names, but they can’t always offer the level of personalised service that a local firm can.
Building this level of trust and reinforcing it through carefully honed customer service is one way for smaller logistics businesses to establish themselves and differentiate their brand in the marketplace.
You Still Need a Fleet
Innovation and dynamism play key roles in enabling smaller logistics companies to compete successfully against their bigger, corporate rivals.
But they still need reliable vehicle fleets at the very centre of their activity.
If they're going to invest in other elements such as digital platforms and apps, they may find their finances stretched when it comes to renewing and maintaining fleets.
This is where alternative finance solutions can be game-changers.
There are plenty of benefits:
· Rapid approval of funds
· Greater freedom and flexibility
· Affordable rates
· Less pressure.
Alternative financing can give you room to grow, but also to breathe.