Conventional courier model versus uber-style courier model

By now, most people around the world must have heard of Uber, a mobile application to hail taxis. Operating in hundreds of countries, Uber is valued at billions of dollars. Its business model is very scalable and sustainable. On top of that, Uber basically disrupted the taxi industry in every country. The disruption is so powerful that some governments had to step in to restrict Uber from operating in their country to protect the domestics taxi industry.

Uber works by connecting a driver and a customer through its mobile application in real-time. Upon confirmation of booking, a driver will be assigned to the customer and picks up the customer at his location. The customer’s location will be pin-pointed via GPS. After pick up, the driver can rely on Uber’s map to head to the destination point. This ease of operations has provided convenience for both the driver and customers. Customers can expect much faster pick up and traveling time when they choose Uber taxis as compared to other taxis on the streets.

There are other such mobile applications developed for the courier industry. Similar to Uber, these mobile applications aim to match up a courier and a customer in real-time. Customers will submit a request for courier through its mobile application and a nearby courier will be assigned the job. The main advantage of using this mobile application is faster pick up and delivery speed.

Will this mobile application for couriers disrupt the courier industry like how Uber disrupted the taxi industry? It is unlikely.

The main reason being the perceived reliability of the delivery. Unlike sitting in a taxi where customers will witness the delivery of the service first-hand, customers feel unsecured to hand over their parcels to couriers via these mobile applications. One reason for this is the ease of courier application and little to no training given. Customers wanting to have their fragile items delivered will be more concerned about the training of the couriers. Customers will trust courier companies more than these third-party courier mobile applications.

Furthermore, many courier companies in Singapore such as pca masters have already developed or are in the process of developing their mobile applications which are similar to Uber application. The only difference is that the couriers in charge of those deliveries are all in-house. This will offer customers better reliability and security of trained couriers on top of the benefits that a mobile application can give. Unlike conventional taxi companies which fail to keep up with technology, courier companies are more responsive to technological changes.

Potential breakthroughs in logistics operations

Catalyzed by the rapid technological advancements, there may have potential breakthroughs in logistics operations in the near future of about 3 to 10 years. Logistics companies in Singapore are using technology in all parts of the business to make the business better and more profitable. For example, customer relationship management software is used to manage the huge volume of sales leads for the delivery services. By using the customer relationship management software, many sales support staffs can be cut, resulting in cost saving for the company over a longer period despite the huge initial investment in the software. Moreover, responses to prospects are much quicker with timely prompts by the software requesting for actions by the sales support staffs. On the logistics business operations side, software are used to optimize delivery routes and sort huge volume of parcels, resulting in massive reduction of time in the operations. This allow the logistics companies to take in more delivery volume as compared to the past where they did not adopt the new software.

Currently, there have been talks in the logistics industry to adopt drones in the delivery operations. Small and medium sized drones may be used to transport small and medium sized parcels to the end customers. These drones will potentially replace the deliverymen and couriers. However, the feasibility of using drones to carry out delivery operations is still under close examination and analysis. There are many issues that need to be tackled before drones could be used in delivery operations. For example, the technical capability of the drones to recognize the end customers so that they will be able to deliver the parcels to the right customers. In addition, the built-in navigation of the drones need to be calibrated well too. There is no room for mistakes here as slight error in navigation will cause a massive disruption in the delivery process if drones are adopted worldwide.

Furthermore, a new motorbike class may potentially be developed – with the same amount of width as the current motorbikes but much longer and taller. This allows the motorbikes to carry more items. If this happens, the motorcyclists will be able to deliver large volumes of parcels in Singapore, which traditionally cannot be done. Parcel delivery is usually tasked to the vans, cars, and lorries as motorbikes do not have adequate space to carry them. If motorbikes are able to carry huge volume of parcels, parcel delivery will be much faster as bikes can sift through the cars on the roads easily. This will be especially useful if the traffic conditions are heavy.

Customer service versus pricing for logistics services

Standing from a customer point of view, will you be more concerned about customer service or pricing for logistics services in Singapore?

This is the issue we want to tackle in this post – whether the vast majority of Singaporeans are more concerned about customer service or pricing when choosing between logistics companies for their logistics services.

From my personal experience handling the sales for a logistics company in Singapore in the past, customers usually base their decisions on the prices of the logistics services. It is common for customers to ask around multiple logistics companies for quotations so that they would be able to compare the different quotations. More often than not, they would choose the logistics company that offer the lowest price to them. Some customers may even tell the logistics companies upfront that price is the most important factor they are looking at when making their purchase decision. There is a higher occurrence for this when logistics companies are dealing with corporate customers. Corporate customers usually have routine deliveries so they are looking at outsourcing logistics services to a logistics company for the long term. Hence, cost savings can be significant from a slight difference in prices when accumulated over the long term. As retail customers usually demand for ad hoc and mostly one time delivery service, they are less price sensitive. In fact, most of them are more concerned with customer and delivery services. They want their deliveries to be carried out urgently and on time.

Personally, I would look at customer service before pricing when I am choosing a logistics company in Singapore to outsource my logistics operations to, regardless of whether I am doing it for myself or on behalf of an organization. I would rather pay more for a better service. For instance, a better service will mean smooth delivery and quicker delivery statuses’ updates.

Most of the people, including myself in the past, think that there will be a trade off between customer service standards and pricing for the logistics services offered by various logistics companies in Singapore. PCA Masters Pte Ltd will prove you wrong. If you check out their rates, you will find that their logistics services are priced at very competitive rates in the market. Additionally, you can engage their logistics service to see for yourself their service standard – it’s absolutely excellent. Deliveries are promptly carried out with quick status updates. No sweat at all.

Booming E-Commerce Businesses aid the logistics industry

There is a huge trend of starting E-Commerce businesses in Singapore. The number of E-Commerce start-ups has been rising rapidly over the past few years, following the success of some high-profile E-Commerce businesses such as Love Bonito, Zalora, and Lazada. E-Commerce businesses has grown to be such a formidable sector that they affects the competitive landscape of retail industry.

As opposed to the traditional retailing model that needs a physical retail outlet, E-Commerce businesses do not have the need for the outlets. All the goods are simply stored inside a warehouse and shipped to the customers directly whenever they make an order. This allow the E-Commerce businesses to offer better pricing to the customers due to reduced costs (such as costs saved from the elimination of the need of retail rental space). Hence, customers these days are turning towards E-Commerce websites to make their purchases.

The boom of E-Commerce businesses benefits the logistics industry as most E-Commerce businesses outsource the deliveries of the goods to logistics companies in Singapore. It is a smart move to do that as it allows the E-Commerce business owners to concentrate on their core specialty and saves time to think of ways to further improve their businesses. As the sales of the E-Commerce businesses increase, the delivery volume increases which in turn make up the sales of the logistics companies.

With the increasing delivery volumes, logistics companies in Singapore are finding ways to optimize their delivery process and monitor the whole operations more efficiently. Some measures currently adopted are a tracking system to track the delivery status of all the parcels and a route optimization system to optimize daily routes between different delivery locations.

If you plan to start or has already started an E-Commerce business but are currently managing your deliveries in-house, I would suggest you to consider hiring a Singapore courier firm for your E-commerce deliveries. The financial, operational, and overall business strategies make sense for you to do so.

What You Should Know About Singapore Courier Services.

These are among the most important things that you must note when it comes to getting courier services in Singapore.

First up, one of the most crucial things you need to realize is that even though courier services are usually associated with important document deliveries between companies only as a business to business service, E-commerce product distribution companies also usually engage courier services and the help of such companies. This means that courier services are not only concierge level services for companies, but is also used for the distribution of products.

Second of all, not every courier company in Singapore has vans. Do not assume that and simply judge the courier services prices as that of delivery for bulky (or rather, non-paper) documents. This is because that will certainly not be true. Companies do charge different prices for the delivery of parcels or the delivery of documents. This is because vans can transport parcels easily but a motorcycle can only transport documents (e.g. in paper format). If you need parcel deliveries, then engage only courier companies in Singapore like PCA Masters because other than motorcycles, they have van delivery services as well. This would definitely be very beneficial if

Third of all, some companies charge different prices for delivery via van versus bikes. The reason for this is unknown, because they might be transporting the exact same item. However, I just think it would be important for you to know that some companies do charge this way, and you should at least be aware of it.

Fourth of all, prices are pretty competitive in Singapore. If you want to engage the services of a Singapore courier company, I would recommend you to look at the fine print and details if you’re planning to use them over the long term. This is because there are many different pricing levels for different delivery volume… this can result in significantly different overall costs for you if you were to engage their services. Some courier services are cheap if you were to use only ad hoc services and they charge very highly for more deliveries. However, there are some companies which charge relatively average prices (not the lowest but extremely decent prices) but provide very attractive prices at higher volume. Make sure to check out their fine print before engaging the courier services of any company.