Courier customers are moved by personalised service
Shrinking profit margins and higher customer expectations are among the challenges facing courier companies today.
According to Vernon Rawstorne, managing director of EWC Express, the courier business has changed dramatically in recent years, and only companies that can adapt will survive.
“Consumer behaviour is changing and courier companies have to adapt accordingly,” he said, adding that customers today want the same high level of service at a reduced cost.
EWC Express is a leader in the small parcel express market and services more than 3,000 centres in South Africa, daily. Services range from domestic and international document courier to air freight, forwarding, customs clearing and retail distribution.
For longstanding customer RNA Distribution, EWC’s personalised service and attention to detail includes an understanding of the unique demands of the music industry.
EWC Express has been servicing RNA Entertainment, a division of RNA Distribution, for more than four years.
The operation’s business is warehousing and distribution of CDs and DVDs. Tight deadlines are a daily challenge.
James Durieux, operations general manager at RNA Entertainment, said: “Typically, RNA Entertainment has just 24 hours to pick, pack and dispatch orders for clients. Partnering with the right courier company, one that understands time constraints and urgency, is key to RNA’s success.”
Customer Barrows has also been on the receiving end of EWC’s personalised service and attention to detail, and it has resulted in a relationship spanning more than a decade.
Barrows Design & Manufacturing produces point of sale displays and delivers these nationally using the services of EWC. Barrows logistics manager Garth Moulder comments on the company’s courier requirements:
“EWC’s unwavering commitment to working to rigid deadlines is crucial in Barrows’ time-sensitive business. We operate on a JIT (just in time) basis, so 90 percent of our deliveries are urgent. EWC is always under pressure to meet our needs, and they are always prepared to go the extra mile.”
“Our partnership with EWC has been built over the past 14 years, and it is founded on relationships with staff and management, and on EWC’s commitment to exceeding its client’s expectations. EWC has become an integral part of Barrows’ supply chain, ensuring that our deliveries are made on time, to the right place, for the right price,” Moulder said.
Outlining some of the challenges in the industry, Rawstorne added: “In the early days, courier delivery was a profitable business, but the barrier to entry is low and the market has become fiercely competitive.
“Today, courier companies are all striving to handle every aspect of the logistics process, including unloading the containers, storing the products, picking, packing and delivering them. But this is difficult to achieve without having a large organisation, or big brother, behind you, and has led to market consolidation.”
EWC Express offers more than just a courier service. “We aim to become our clients’ distribution partner, offering customised distribution solutions that suit their particular needs, and add value to their company. As part of the greater Imperial Logistics group, we have insight from a global logistics and supply chain leader and access to all services throughout the supply chain process.”
“Over 23 years in the industry, EWC Express has honed its ability to offer personalised service to diverse customers across a multitude of industries. We take time to know our customers, to know their business, understand their products and their unique supply chain requirements,” said Rawstorne.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.