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Lighthouse - November, 2015.

The End of The “Sales & Marketing Glory” and Emergence of “Execution Teams” as The Future of Logistics

I would segment our business into two parts:

A.     Business creation team

B.     Business execution team

Typically , A would constitute sales people (who these days sell nothing , just say  yes or  no, to customer’s rate target since service is known and doesn’t need to be sold) marketing people who would entice customers with brand value if it really meant anything – ask if the brand “ go airways is better than spice jet” or if “ Emirates is better than Etihad” and i really don’t think we have a concrete answer.

Its like asking “do you like ambuja cement or binani cement“ well i need good cement at a good price, period.

So, in logistics / consolidation business – A has become a menial task which is needed for only 10% of the job , which is more of keeping in touch with clients and servicing crony customers needing kickbacks / favours / ego massages etc but not really related to business.

The sales teams were historically the glamorous and heroic teams who were the only custodian to clients secrets and had street smart ways to get things done. But it all changed with the information age. Everything is on the click of a button, its a google-ised society and information keepers or sellers are no longer needed

You need information – you don’t need a sales man – you need to click a button on your computer and have much more data than you need

Where in the world are any new businesses having “sales teams “ they aren’t – because it has all changed due to free information flow.

Need to buy a jaguar? go to the site, see everything

Need to buy a plane ticket ? go to a site buy it

Need vessel details? the site has it all Need to book a term deposit with the bank , go to the site and do it, after comparing rates

Need insurance, do it online after comparing premium

no longer do you need  middlemen, salesmen, agents,  representatives etc

A decade back, yes, we needed one. But today ?

We say we educated the customers , but we didn’t, we just informed them, they are loaded with information but not necessarily educated or else they would never let us make a single dollar of profit.

“Information” is different from “education”

The emergence of B is the story of the next decade.

B, would typically comprise:

Customer service teams – who actually start the work of communicating and formally quoting, sending routings, making line bookings, co-ordinating with clients, vendors and in house teams for maximum through put – they are typically “confidence building” teams and if they are good, clients trust the organisation and gain confidence.

Pricing teams – who can be part of customer service since they actually work on the buy rates which is really what we have in our hand since sell rates are common and known , ours has become a commodity business where sell side things are known and cannot be altered – no pricing power basically, I wish pricing teams actually were about sell side pricing power  and not just the buying side. But they are important since they help create the “oh so important” bottom-lines for balance sheets.

documentation teams – who opens jobs, file manifests, issue delivery orders, bills of lading which are so very important, a wrong bill of lading could mean legal issues, a wrong delivery order could mean jail, a wrong manifest would mean amendment and money, a job opened wrong could mean a wrong MIS to management.

Operation teams – who would transport, destuff, stuff, latch , chain, put on board – a wrong stuffing means money, a wrong latch means damages which is again money, a transport mistake means delay and again money.

So if you actually analyse, all the B teams MEAN MONEY.

They are much more important, need to be paid much higher, need to be trained much more, need to be retained at any cost, need to be motivated more than anybody.

So an air ticket costs lets say “5000” on 3 airlines, just like it costs 10 dollars freight from port A to B wether on XYZ logistics or ABC forwarder or PQR consolidation services.

So businesses which will manage their back end well, which will in turn save money, reduce mistakes which again saves money will be the ones to gain and sustain.

And therefore I reiterate that

B   Is the future

A   Is important

But today, the new diseases are cancer and heart failure, nobody dies due to small pox or flu.

Lets accept it, business creation is 10% and business execution is 90%.

We need to breathe air through the nose – 10%.

When air enters, wind pipe, nose hair, lungs, blood, all have a bigger function – 90%.

Managements, Finance teams, Heads of stations, departments etc – take note, the world has changed.

You dont hear the song  “chithi aayi hai (Pankaj udhas)” today, that is so 90’s.

You dont hear the song  “what is mobile number” of Govinda hasina maan jayegi, that is so 2000.

You hear in 2015 : chal beta selfie lele rey…

God bless

Rahat Talreja

PS: when pricing power is nil, only internal systems matter

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