Express courier service TNT Express launched their mobile sales force (MSF) programme last month to equip its sales force with the necessary tools in a single iPad to assist customers, says TNT national sales and marketing director Shane de Beer.
“TNT’s MSF capabilities enable its account managers to spend more time with customers, providing them with the expertise and assistance they need, while using available sales tools in one streamlined location,” he tells Engineering News.
This venture follows on TNT’s “year of healthy growth”, De Beer says, adding that the company has further noted a significant increase in productivity and efficiency in its planned unit development fleet since implementing its internal Dynamic Routing system earlier this year.
“Dynamic Routing, which enables TNT to scrutinise its routing more strategically and route vehicles to move volumes in the most efficient manner, has a direct effect on the company’s bottom line, and also assists in our goal of becoming more carbon efficient,” De Beer says.
He emphasises that the company can identify possible delays earlier, which allows for proactive, rather than reactive behaviour.
While De Beer notes an increase in demand for courier and freight services, he highlights that the current global economic situation has resulted in industries pursuing cost-reduction initiatives such as reducing working capital.
This can be achieved through inventory control and, with the help of a reliable express-services partner, customers do not need to hold large amounts of stock to ensure that line stoppages do not become costly. “Instead, they can have specific parts moved quickly to specific places when needed,” he suggests.
TNT national operations manager Herman van Ryneveld adds that customers want to track their parcels’ delivery progress through the supply chain, which allows them increased control over the supply chain. Such technology systems at TNT allow customers to do this using email, telephone and the Internet.
As customers expect service providers to have these technologies for supply chain visibility, planning and forecasting, including smart routing capabilities, it has become crucial for the logistics provider to have the supporting systems in place to provide transparent progress of the movement of goods across the supply chain, “online, from anywhere, and on any device”, he says.
“Efficient technology, including Dynamic Routing and automation, enables us to simplify and standardise processes, which improves productivity and produces more accurate reporting,” Van Ryneveld emphasises.
Enhancing the Logistics Process
De Beer predicts that, with escalating costs, fiercer competition, increasing customer demands, road tolls, and the increasing requirement to be more environmentally responsible, it will become increasingly important for smaller businesses to enhance their logistics processes and supply chain activities.
“While logistics has become a propelling force in driving global trade, on-time delivery, as well as product sourcing and delivery are also becoming increasingly challenging in this market,” he says.
Van Ryneveld agrees, highlighting that movement of goods to and from India and China is an ever-growing trade route.
“Owing to investment from India and China in infrastructure on the African continent, the movement of goods into Africa from the rest of the world will increase and become more efficient,” he says.
In light of this, De Beer emphasises that the more adaptable a smaller business is and the more innovative its approach to achieving transparency throughout the supply chain, the better its ability to compete globally.
“Streamlining the logistics process is key to international competitiveness. “A smaller company’s global competitiveness may also depend on its ability to develop collaborative strategies with other supply chain entities – in some cases even with competitors,” he emphasises.
Therefore, establishing a close relationship with a logistics partner that can assist in enhancing sourcing and delivery processes is becoming increasingly desirable for smaller businesses, as a “company should be able to view its logistics partner as an extension of its business”, De Beer concludes.