Digitalization Of Logistics – A Game Changer For SMEs

By Karen Reddington | March 26, 2020

It’s challenging to stand out and keep pace with customer demands? Read more on how digitalization of logistics can help enhance your business’ global competitiveness.

Great customer experience means your customers will spend more and be loyal. In a digital age, when everything is on-demand, SMEs are being challenged to keep up with customer demands as well as enhance customer experience. Do you know that customer experience helps people decide between buying options? A global PWC study shows that 73% of all surveyed consumers point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.[1]

Understandably, fast and flawless delivery becomes critical that can make or break the customer experience, and as a result, the business. This is where digitalized smart logistics can aid small business operations achieve faster turnaround time, greater customer satisfaction and higher revenues.

According to a recent YouGov study[2], 47 percent of SMEs estimate an increase in their shipping spend in 2020. These SMEs are seeking better ways to incorporate supply chain and logistics strategies into their businesses to enhance customer experience. 30 percent of SMEs plan to incorporate new technologies into their business operations.

With digital solutions and customer experience converging and international trade trends heading towards digitalization, SMEs can further boost their growth by getting on the digital train – or risk losing out to competition.

It’s important to recognize that for most small business owners, logistics and shipping processes can be complex and tedious – they are busy individuals who need to focus on running a business. They need expert help to navigate paperwork and compliance requirements. This is where an established logistics partner brings value to SMEs and their customers.

What about the future from here?

The logistics industry needs to think about how it will play in the broader digital economy, which in ASEAN alone is projected to exceed US$240 billion by 2025[3]. In transforming how SMEs are served, companies like FedEx are embracing disruptive technology and innovations with the end customer in mind.

Customer-centric innovative thinking

And we can’t emphasize enough how important remaining innovative is. The digital economy demands a marriage between parcel delivery and technology for better customer experience, accessibility and convenience. Using modern logistics solutions, SMEs stand to save a lot of time in shipping and customs. Understanding the customer and their experience can lead to simple, innovative ways for SMEs and logistics to collaborate.

Logistics is the lifeblood of most businesses. A well-established network, and diversified, modern solutions help businesses to meet customer demands seamlessly. Automation tools streamline delivery and distribution process and drive efficiencies and profitability.

Simple solutions to complex scenarios

Innovation has always been vital to FedEx, but it needs to be customer-centric – and very much focused on solving a problem. Digital solutions can make life easier and shipping seamless for our SME customers.

Consider trade documents – daunting for many. But an online and automation solution can help. For instance, the FedEx Electronic Trade Documents automates documents for customs clearance to allow paperwork processing while the shipment is on its way. This is great for customers who can increase operational efficiencies and save time with this simple solution that minimizes delays at customs, even for first-time international shippers.

Another example that’s truly great for SMEs is the FedEx Delivery Manager (FDMi), which customizes the delivery to fit their customers’ busy lives. FedEx recognizes the benefit that self-collection can bring to small businesses and their customers. Powered by FDMi and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), customers in Singapore can be paired to the nearest collection point or locker, which will be made available prior to package arrival. As such, customer can have the option to select a location closest to their home or workplace and have the flexibility of collecting their packages at their preferred venues and time. This addresses businesses’ including SMEs’ evolving shipping and last-mile delivery needs to provide added conveniences to their customers.

Then there’s our online virtual assistant that replies to FedEx-based questions instantly on our website. And it only gets smarter as more people use it.

The future is now

Technological advances and integration of robotics, sensors and IoT will help us move toward better efficiencies in delivery services of large freight to small parcels. When it comes to real time tracking of shipments, AI can already route trucks based on current road conditions; autonomous vehicles can unload, stack and re-load containers faster; blockchain shipping solutions can reduce transit times and accelerate payments.

Delivery robots are fast becoming a reality. Roxo, the FedEx Sameday Bot, is designed to help retailers make same-day and last-mile deliveries. Already seen in some U.S. cities, Roxo navigates curbs, negotiates tight turns and climbs stairs. Utilizing pedestrian-safe machine-learning algorithms and technologies such as LiDAR, this cute zero-emission, battery-powered bot can carry out safe, effective last mile deliveries – a relief for retailers.

Think about technology as a tool to improve your business operations. Keep customers at the core of your business, embrace digital innovations and global possibilities will be within your reach.
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About the Author
authors photo

Karen Reddington

Former President,
Asia Pacific, FedEx Express

President of FedEx Express Asia Pacific for 5 years, Karen is now the FedEx Express President of Europe and CEO of TNT. Karen is based in the Netherlands.

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