How has technology impacted the transport/logistics industry?
The impact has been massive. The whole process is now very transparent and easier to manage thanks to integrators systems, Transport Management Systems, tracking, scanning, route optimisation and Warehouse Management Systems. Without these technologies we would never keep up today.
The investments in technology and the integration of different platforms are hugely important and we see continued evolution to be the best strategy. The innovations never cease to amaze. I placed an order in a store through the shop’s online portal on a Sunday afternoon due to a lack of stock and it was on my doorstep by the following morning! What more could you want or need? If you order through Amazon on a Monday morning and it could be delivered to you a few hours later.
When most Networks strive for 100% success ratios, you have to be granular in detail to improve your performance margins and position in the market place.
In which ways do you see artificial intelligence being used in your industry?
Artificial intelligence is constantly improving companies’ efficiencies, particularly in respect of predictive demand and network planning. We are far better informed of clients’ daily volumes, which enables us to deploy our fleet appropriately to match the demand, rather than suddenly increasing the fleet for ad hoc and seasonal changes in business needs. Of course, this helps keep costs in check as well as allowing a reduction of our carbon footprint.
Have client expectations increased with the speed of companies such as Amazon?
Definitely, and in certain sectors the expectations are particularly high. As consumers we have become used to a ‘click for immediacy’ culture. As networks follow suit to adapt to this, the USP can easily become diluted.
Progress has been amazingly rapid over the last 15 to 20 years and it’s still changing quickly. The first business to develop systems giving an immediate service with a real name and the human touch will be the pioneers of the future. We see some clients returning to sameday services for particular solutions, as they want to speak to someone that knows them and takes the time to understand the needs of their business rather than treating them as ‘just another number’.
How does DNA meet such expectations?
With huge surge of energy and enthusiasm day in, day out! It takes constant focus and planning to achieve a high end service every day. It’s when the unexpected happens you have to keep the team’s focus and have default positions to return to. As rare as it is, systems can, and on occasion do, go down, and you can’t stand there with your arms folded. Customers are relying on your efforts to help keep their business running.
One of your specialties is event logistics. How do you co-ordinate the needs of a large-scale event such as a festival?
It’s all about communication with our clients and staff. It’s about listening and fully understanding the client’s complete needs. We will often ask questions that they hadn’t thought of, particularly if they are new to a venue. It is essential to have clear communication to staff and always plan for the unexpected. Being ahead of delivery schedules is essential, so we can allow for any possible interruptions such as traffic, onsite delays and the sheer mass of onsite contractors at large events. It can become overwhelming for a client as they have so much riding on an event, so a calm professional approach is essential.
With your fleet regularly crossing borders, you will be in the front line when Brexit finally happens. How will Brexit impact vital logistics? And what planning have you put in place ready for such eventualities?
I hope you aren’t expecting me to hold the answers to Brexit because you are asking the wrong person!
Sadly, we are all frustrated with the lack of clear decisions, direction and guidance. Irrespective of your personal opinions on the subject, Brexit brings significant concerns to any company of any scale. How do you plan for the unknown? Thankfully we have strong European partnerships of our own and through our network, ultimately business will always find a way to succeed.
DNA, Iain Stewart Centre, City Place, Gatwick RH6 0PB