Despite the fact that market relations in Ukraine have been impetuously developing throughout the years of independence, by the quality of services the transportation sector often falls short of modern business requirements. Why? Let us try to figure this out.
There are four major criteria to evaluate transport services:
The priority of these criteria may vary depending on the mode of transport. For example, in air transportation delivery time, service and safety are the most important, while the cost of transportation is secondary. In sea transportation, on the contrary, the main role is played by the cost, whereas delivery time becomes minor.
One of the aforesaid four criteria gradually comes to the foreground and becomes principal. It is the service. For contemporary business it is insufficient to get a desirable price, safety guarantee and delivery speed. The quality of service is very important as well, and this is exactly the area where there are numerous pending issues in the transportation sector.
Let us consider just one aspect: initial communication between a customer and a transportation company manager. Already by the way the manager responds to the customer’s call with a request of the transportation cost, it is possible to understand how much attention is paid to the quality of service in this particular company.
Has the manager limited himself to three or five standard questions (From where? Where? What? Which quantity?), and immediately run to calculate the price? You should already have doubts about the quality of the contractor’s activities. Every shipment is unique, different from other shipments and having its particularities and requirements. If one hasn’t clarified any slightest detail, the whole process can go wrong.
The task of a transportation company manager is not only to get as much information as possible on the route, freight / cargo type, etc. The manager should get information which the customer himself might consider irrelevant, but which in fact substantially influences the process of transportation.
A typical example of the manager / customer dialogue (a real practical case):
M: Please, specify the route.
М: What is the type of freight?
М: Weight, volume?
C: 1 pallet, 120 х 80 cm, 500 kg.
М: When will the shipment be ready for transportation?
C: On February 8. And I certainly want it to be as cheap as possible….
Within 5 to 10 minutes the manager calculates the cost of transportation which, let’s say, makes up EUR 300, as a part of consolidated freight.
At first glance everything is fine, the cost is acceptable, and the order may be executed and launched. The only thing is that neither the customer specified nor the manager asked clarifying questions, while this is the main point of the manager’s work! It has turned out the shipment is intended for an exhibition, and the exhibition dates are extremely important, since in case of a possible delay of delivery (regardless of reasons) there is no point in arranging the exhibition at all.
In such a situation the whole approach to transportation radically changes. It is impossible to delay the delivery even for 1 day, which means time risks must be minimized. How? First of all, such shipment should not be carried in a consolidated truck, which in turn entails a cost change because ordering a separate truck especially for such shipment will cost several times higher.
Thus, it is important to understand that the work of a professional manager consists in holding a competent conversation with the customer, paying due attention to details, forecasting options of events development and coordinating those with the customer! Only after ensuring all the aforesaid the manager may determine the order cost, terms and conditions.
This example is just a little share of what we can tell about the service in the transportation sector. Read more information in our subsequent publications.
Logistic Center LLC Managing Partner Mykhailo Dubenskyi