Paulo Tibig had his first exposure in the logistics business when he worked as a part-time delivery boy for a custom brokerage company while taking up a business course in college.
Tibig, who grew up in the province to attend college in the city, would attend classes in the morning and work in the afternoon to earn his allowance. Because he wanted to save money on transportation and housing expenses, he requested his employer to allow him to stay in the office at nighttime, where he would sleep on top of the table, in exchange for cleaning and manning the place.
When he finally graduated from college and earned his degree, he found a job as a marketing assistant in an insurance company. He would be involved in setting up branches and training salespeople but a few years after, he realized that he was not apt for corporate work. He wanted to control his own time while earning with unlimited potential. He wanted to prove his worth to his family that he can be financially independent someday.
So Tibig ventured into various small businesses from t-shirt trading to laundry services until one day, he and his then-girlfriend, Abby, who would become his future wife, found an opportunity to offer bundle packing services to marketing and advertising companies for their promotional items.
The business was so good that their clients started asking them why they didn’t offer a total solution package where they can also do the pickup and delivery of items to clients. This gave Tibig the idea of putting up Vintel Logistics in 1999 to offer one-stop logistics solutions. The company eventually expanded its services to courier and freight forwarding services through the years.
Today, 18 years after the company was born, Vintel Logistics is one of the fastest growing logistics companies in the market, having grown from five to a total of 250 employees.
Paulo Tibig, founder of Vintel Logistics, the company behind the VCargo Worldwide brand, shares the five lessons on how to succeed in the logistics business:
1. Focus on communicating your value proposition
In a highly competitive market like the logistics services industry, effective communication of business-to-business (B2B) service is important. While marketing can help in promoting the service, branding can help in communicating the value that the company offers.
“There was some confusion with our company name, Vintel Logistics, when we were starting. Some clients thought that we were a telecom company so in 2001, we decided to rebrand the company and came up with the name VCargo. We chose this name because it is an industry parlance that means valuable cargo,” Tibig says in an interview with this writer.
“When we came up with a brand name, it was easier for clients to recall about what we offer. As part of our branding efforts, we also overhauled our company colors from blue and yellow to orange, which means fun and active to give customers better brand recall.”
2. Focus on achieving goals with clients
The ultimate success of any logistics business is determined by the consistency of its operations. The results of the operations can only be achieved if the company consistently meets the goals and objectives of its clients.
“Our Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is anchored on the client’s KPI. For example, if you say we will deliver the next day by airfreight, we will make sure it will be delivered as promised. We cannot afford to fail because if we need to deliver some perishable items to the client and it did not arrive on time, the client will have nothing to sell. It’s a no-no,” says Tibig.
“You have to manage the timeline from pick-up to warehouse preparation to shipping. You need to keep on monitoring everything that is happening. How is our KPI? Are we meeting the lead time of our clients? At the end of the day, it is about delivery of commitment. We have been doing this for the past 18 years.”
3. Focus on customer service excellence
Customers are important to an organization for without it, the business has no reason to exist. In order to get repeat business from customers, a company must offer excellent customer service. Customers that have positive experience with the company will most likely tell others which can be a good source of promotion.
“No amount of apology letters will be sufficient to appease a client if you fail to deliver. What will always work is giving the right service so the business will continue to flow. Relationship-building is business-building,” says Tibig.
“We do not only deliver what we need to transport but we also provide added services to communicate with clients such as providing timely status reports, coordinating with single-point focal person and many others. In a typical large logistics company, there are many accounts there that are being neglected due to lack of customer service. This is where we differentiate our service by taking good care of them.”
4. Focus on efficient operations management
Meeting customer demand while providing excellent service is one of the most important advantages of having an efficient operations management. As business grows, customers demand better service, which requires fast and prompt operations.
“We focus a lot of our time on operations. We make sure that we do not only take care of our customers but also our operations because we may be able to get a lot of customers but if we do not execute well, we will still fail. We manage our operations by monitoring our internal metrics from field operations to warehouse and shipping up to customer service,” says Tibig.
“In this business, what we are really selling is our operations. Having an efficient operations management is the key to our success so this is what we have always focused on from day one.”
5. Focus on employee communication and alignment
Effective internal communication is an essential part of any logistics business. Planning and engaging communications with employees help the company to achieve not only its organizational objectives but its business strategies as well.
“Communicating with employee is more than motivating people. It is about making employees understand how their roles will affect the business. How do they ensure the business will operate well? They need to understand that you cannot sell something that you don’t even understand what it is all about,” says Tibig.
“In our company, we make sure every employee understands the whole process of the business by providing them proper training. We also put them in an immersion program for one month for them to better appreciate our operations.”
Henry Ong, RFP, is president of Business Sense Financial Advisors. Email Henry for business advice firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @henryong888