Why Manpower-based Logistics is Going Out of Style

Manpower-based logistics no longer works well in today’s age of automation and increased efficiency. What humans could do in 2 hours, machines and algorithms can now complete in less than 3 minutes, from routing to emergency re-routing and manpower rostering. A large push is obviously from government policies, as well as increasing competition from larger players. Smaller companies may pull out of the market if they don’t improve.

However, some people may understand the need to invest in better systems but don’t know where to get them. That’s where CrossTrack comes in. We provide consultation, tech platforms, and even external management to help you get started.

Trends in Halal Logistics

Is Halal Logistics the Next Big Thing?

 

It is common knowledge that our Muslim brothers and sisters are only allowed to eat Halal-certified food but did you know that there are more products and services that actually require Halal-certification? And yes, this includes even logistics – especially logistics!

 

But what does it mean to be “Halal?”

“Halal” is an Arabic term which means permissible or lawful. It is used to describe anything that follows the Shariah Law/Islamic law pertaining to behavior, speech, dress, conduct, manner, and dietary laws. The opposite of Halal is “Haram,” which means prohibited or unlawful. With this, Halal is not just confined in the food industry, but it also includes other products and services like cosmetics, pharmaceutical, clothing, financial services, and logistics. Basically, what sets Halal-certified products apart from the others is that from preparation, transport, to consuming, the Halal-product is sure to have undergone processes that follow the Islamic law.

 

Just how extensive it is to comply with Halal standards? Let’s look at how meat should be prepared. According to Halal food regulators, the animals should be healthy and treated humanely before being killed for consumption. Before being slaughtered, God’s name should be pronounced over the meat. Then with one swift cut to its throat, the blood should be drained from its body. This is an important step to accomplish because according to Islamic traditions, blood from the animals can be harmful to the human body. Also did you know? The animal also shouldn’t see another animal being slaughtered and even not see the blade to be used being sharpened.

 

But you probably already know about the stringent guidelines that are implemented when preparing and transporting Halal food. What did you probably aren’t aware of is that when it comes to preparation of other non-food Halal-products and even services rendered, almost the same set rules of rules also apply. For example, on cosmetics, it is important for Muslim users to consider makeup products that contain only Halal ingredients. This means the product should in no way contain animal products, alcohol, and ideally should also be cruelty-free.

 

Most consider Halal logistics quite expensive due to certifications and requirements that need to be strictly followed. Companies who wish their products to carry a Halal label would usually have to undergo inspection and certification from a variety of Islamic groups. However, during the 2017 Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference in Hong Kong, Dato Seri Jamil Bin Bidin of the Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation stressed that Halal logistics is not as difficult as it sounds as it mainly is about ensuring trackability and traceability, which majority of the supply chain sector is already striving for.

 

Potential of Halal logistics

It is important for Muslims to only consume products that remain Halal from farm to slaughterhouse to manufacturer to distributor to their very own table. Having Halal logistics that prove the great potential not only to grow business but also to serve access to Muslims all over the world who are obligated to use Halal products and services.

 

Also, Jamil pointed out that only 20% of the global demand for Halal products is being met. There are already many manufacturers with products that are already Halal-certified. Ensuring that these products remain Halal during transport can be a good selling point for logistic providers plus, it also ensures that the growing global Muslim market is being served.

The E-Commerce vs Logistics Problems That No One Wants to Talk About

We’ve seen all the statistics and all the articles: e-commerce is a booming industry in Southeast Asia.

We’re looking at gross merchandise value of over $10b, up from 2015’s $5.5b, and double-digit growth rates of the e-commerce market over the region, notably in Vietnam. That’s pretty amazing. After all, that means that a large proportion of buying power is now being shifted towards customers that were traditionally seen as “poorer”. E-commerce has opened up huge opportunities for buyers and sellers, both on a large and small scale. From gaining access to brands once thought only to be accessible to those who could travel (like region-specific cosmetic brands), to the ability to sell their own wares and/or produce (check out Etsy!), a greater slice of the conspicuous consumption pie has opened up across different income levels across the world. And that’s a great thing.

But here’s the thing: as much as we’ve seen the rise of the e-commerce industry, last-mile delivery, especially in Singapore, doesn’t seem to have the same kind of growth, or quality thereof. Don’t get me wrong; we definitely know the big-name startups like Lalamove, or Ninjavan, but when you look at other post and courier services, especially the smaller, or older ones, you’ll notice a few things.

1) Customers tend to assume that they can get by with the lowest prices possible

Which makes sense. Supply and demand, all that. The more courier services you have in a country (and Singapore had almost 500 post and courier services alone as of 2017), the more prices have to go down in order for you to be competitive. Great for the customer, not so great for service providers, because that means tons of smaller firms are now operating on a razor-thin margin, or eating into their own profit. But there’s nothing wrong with that is there? Free market and all, the less efficient firms get kicked out, etc.

Except that pushing prices down hurts everybody in the long run, because even for your investor-backed firms, someone has to bear the cost of your low prices, and very often it means the first people to get cut are the drivers and other manpower on the ground. That’s because fixed costs, like your vehicle insurance and office rental, can’t be changed. Variables like salary, however, can. So when people take lower salaries, you can expect poorer service. In addition, here’s one thing many customers don’t know: logistics companies tend to use 3PL and 4PL outsourcing services. These 3rd and 4th party service providers essentially bite into margins even more, and make centralized quality control even harder for the company in the front end who took your order.

If you’re sick of seeing blue “Sorry, we weren’t able to deliver your parcel” slips at your door even though you KNOW you’ve been at home the whole day and haven’t heard the doorbell ring, then you can imagine how much worse it’s going to get.

Unfortunately, most people think that “price” and “value” are equal to the same thing. However, sometimes smaller companies also give greater value even if they’re charging higher. If you’ve been with them for a while, many of them are happy to even deliver parcels to your hand, for example.

So in all honesty, given the volume cannibalization across all the courier services and the decreasing prices, you’re not as important as you think you are.

2) “it’s just a delivery how hard can it be?”

No, customers don’t need to care that it’s the company’s job to make sure everything is sorted out. They don’t need to know that there’s liabilities for goods damaged or lost, or that emergency routing and re-routing can take a while if there isn’t an optimization system in place. Very often, it’s just “give me my package”. And yell at whoever is at the other end of the line when it’s not delivered.

In case you couldn’t tell, quite a large portion of that was sarcastic in nature. A customer may not need to know the intricacies of optimizing a route or emergency re-routing, especially in situations like the Trump-Kim summit, but they really should know that there’s a person on the other end that doesn’t deserve a shelling. Mistakes happen. If the same mistake constantly happens, then go to a different company and talk with your wallet.

It is hard, sometimes: delivery drivers are some of the most at-risk individuals for accidents on the road, especially during peak seasons or holidays. When an employee gets into an accident, that’s horrific. It’s even more horrific when death is a real probability game, not possibility. Our priority is to make sure the individuals involved are safe; not your package. At least, not immediately.

If you can use awful weather as an excuse for being late, then you too can understand how sudden showers or storms may delay your package.

Trust me; everyone in the industry knows you can easily go to another competitor. Given how the industry partners with each other for 3PL and 4PL services anyway, your money will likely come back in one way or another.

So there you have it. Sure, it sounds like the issues that most customers have with service providers as a whole, but that, I think, is therefore indicative of a bigger problem at hand. No one is saying you have to tolerate horrible service, but having a little kindness really goes a long way. Have you been on the receiving end? Let us know in the comments.

5 Reasons Why Investors Love Tech-Backed Companies

Investors want long-term, reliable, scalable opportunities. Here’s 5 reasons why tech-based companies do much better than others when it comes to scoring the money you need to extend and expand your runway. Remember though: not all tech is good tech. Make sure your tech solves an actual issue, not act as a band-aid! We have a share-able .png below, so make sure to let your mates know!

The rise of tech-supported companies comes with its pros and cons. Some say this is just a fad waiting to die down while there are others who believe such companies are here to create a bigger impact in different industries. With this, what should you do now? Do you move forward, or should you hold back? Read on to learn five reasons why investors prefer tech-supported companies.

Continue reading “5 Reasons Why Investors Love Tech-Backed Companies”

5 Myths About Operations and Manpower You Need to Dispel NOW

Did you know that hundreds of start-ups and SMEs make the huge mistake of not sorting out their manpower before opening for business? Too often, people make the huge mistake of not setting out efficient, lean SOPs (standard operating procedures) for their teams to follow, thinking that since they’re so small, there really isn’t any need for them.

Unfortunately, once people get used to lazy reporting or poor standards, these practices are often ingrained into company culture, leading to excessive administration to counteract the myriad of issues that arise later on. This infographic aims to dispel some of the myths tons of team leaders have about managing logistics, operations, and manpower… and you can save and share it!

CrossTrack Pte Ltd works on three tiers to make sure you don’t make these mistakes right from the start, or fixes them for you right now. If you liked this infographic, check out the services we offer, from consultation to external management and even research and development.