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Disrupting the Supply Chain Ecosystem

Disrupting the Supply Chain Ecosystem

Disrupting the supply chain ecosystem

By David Slotow, CEO at Trackmatic

Intelligent technology, smart systems and effortless mobility are empowering drivers and transforming customer engagement

The customer has changed…ignore this at your peril!

According to a recent Gallup poll, the biggest driver of business to business (B2B) success is meaningful customer impact and yet around 60% of customers are reporting that they’re indifferent in their engagement. Gallup took the research deeper and found that customer engagement had a multiplier effect on business growth. For the supply chain industry, whether focusing on B2B or B2C (business to customer), customer engagement and delight are vital for long-term, sustainable success.

But how?

The answer may be: ‘to delight the customer’, but what path should the industry be taking to achieve this goal? Customer expectations are consistently rising, driven largely by levels of expectations being set by the likes of Amazong Prime and the like, so to meet this demand, the industry must consistently innovate, invest in solutions that bridge the gap between what the customer wants and how the business gets it to them. The key strategic enabler of this bridge is the driver.

The driver is the ultimate brand ambassador –not only ensuring that goods are delivered timeously but also responsible for that final moment of delight. While there is significant and impressive disruption in supply chain, most innovation is taking place in the warehouse environment and extend in transportation. To the extent of the investment in transportation, this is typically and traditionally only centred around hardware technology in the truck. Until recently, little, if any, of this innovation focuses on the engagement with the person who is fundamental to ensuring that the customer is a happy and satisfied one.

Driver-Led Visibility™ harnesses the ubiquity of the mobile device to promote the driver into the role of the central character of the supply chain show. By using specifically crafted applications and tools, the driver becomes THE critical source of proactive, reliable and first-hand information for improved business operations. In years gone by, live, real-time updates from the vehicle were only available via black box telematics, however mobility solutions have fundamentally shifted the level of engagement, insight and accuracy which is finally resulting in material cost savings, and tangible improvements to customer experience..

By fulfilling the operational tasks independently while liaising closely with the customer where necessary, the driver shifts from just changing gears to changing relationships. They extend the collaboration with operations by providing reliable information around delays, customer feedback, location and other issues that could impact on overall On time and in full (“OTIF”) delivery. They can also work closely with customers to ensure that they have the right address and that they are delivering at a convenient time. This has had proven results in changing how customers perceive a brand and their willingness to repurchase and refer as well as improving the reliability of the deliveries themselves.

It has also had a marked impact on driver behaviour. Drivers that are rewarded objectively for their empirical success are more likely to take initiative and collaborate with business to improve operational efficiency. Traditionally, drivers are only recognised for what they have done wrong. Changing the model to Driver-Led Visibility™ turns tradition on its head, recognising drivers for what they have done right. The narrative shifts from bad behaviour to good behaviour and creates a more positive approach to collaboration and engagement, and the results extend beyond employee happiness and into customer delight.

This disruption of how the industry tackles the customer service, ignited by the accessibility and cost-effectiveness of technology becomes a powerful business tool. In the past, equipping a driver with a mobile phone would have been far too expensive to consider, today it is a mandatory tool that ensures driver, customer and business can operate efficiently. Now, the drivers are the new frontier of customer engagement and they are the ones that cement the brand’s relationship with the customer and it is vital that the business empower and support them.

The industry has optimised trucks and roads and systems. Now it is time to herald the team of people so often overlooked as the ones capable to bringing the change we want to see in logistics.