The UK's logistics and transportation industry could drive up profitability and efficiencies if it improved the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology.
Facing a continued battle against fuel and transportation costs, James Bogue of Leicestershire-based webCRM Ltd said logistics and transportation businesses could ramp-up efficiencies by using web-based CRM systems to allow improved interaction with existing and new customers.
"Understanding what a new or existing customer wants can be the difference between profit and loss for a logistics firm," said Mr Bogue. "A firm might be transporting goods to one city for a client when another has mentioned a similar destination to a different member of the sales team who has failed to record it.
"As a result, a potential sale has been lost or the margins of the job have been poor as it was only 75 per cent full. This impacts not only on the profitability of the job, but the overall business." He added that enquiries logged from potential clients could have the same effect if data was recorded and shared via CRM.
CRM systems, such as those provided by webCRM Ltd, mean customer information, enquiries and other data is logged and accessible to the whole sales or customer services team. This ensures greater co-ordination and improved job planning.
Nottinghamshire-based Seafield Logistics has started using webCRM to integrate management and customer information in order to create improved communications between the teams and to identify new sales opportunities.
"We have 18 sites throughout the UK which all have their own customers and they all operate autonomously with their own sales information," said Natalie Holt of Seafield Logistics.
"We needed to keep up-to-date at head office with relevant and real time information. A CRM system was imperative as it allows us to be much more clever in analyzing customer and new sales opportunities which then benefits our clients and our overall business.
"Because of the distance between the sites, the webCRM system was ideal as it was web-based and we didn't need to introduce our own networked system."
The central team at head office now has access to live information for decision-making and to communicate with its UK teams and customers. "Site managers as well as the central team are already benefitting from the ability to track each stage of a sales lead both with existing and new customers, all the information is now to hand," added Natalie.
Mr Todd of webCRM Ltd said the logistics and transportation industry needed to consider the importance of introducing a good CRM system when it was considering other costs, such as fuel and fleet management.