Yusen Logistics: Bringing Expertise to e-Commerce
Over the past few years, Thailand’s ever growing e-commerce market has opened up many new doors to logistics providers who are ready to take advantage of this untapped potential. This new business trend has given them the opportunity to provide customers with a truly one-stop door-to-door service.
According to Forbes, the e-commerce business in Thailand has grown rapidly and is expected to increase from a value of 413 million US dollars in 2012 to more than 700 million US dollars in 2016. This is projected to be the highest growth rate in the Southeast Asia region. Because of these promising signs, Yusen Logistics, the Japan-based transportation and logistics provider that has had a strong presence in Thailand for 46 years, is again showing its pioneering vision by tapping into the e-commerce sector.
Tapping into an Innovative New Market
Due to the continuous development of communications technology, along with the constant arrival of new gadgets like smartphones and tablets, and the growing selection of flexible payment options such as credit cards, Paypal, online banking and cash on delivery service, online sales have seen exponential growth. Mr. Chatree Borrirakpatthanakul, General Manager, Domestic Transportation Group, Yusen Logistics (Thailand) Co., Ltd., revealed to AFL, “Because Yusen realized the positive growth of Thailand’s e-commerce business, we decided to seize the opportunity in this industry at the beginning of this year. We now provide domestic distribution services to one of Thailand’s biggest e-commerce companies, which has doubled its growth rate in the past year and is expected to grow even more this year. Thus, we are able to increase our volumes and further expand the customer base of Yusen.”
Yusen has long been a well-known logistics provider among the automotive and electronics industries. By supporting the e-commece business, Yusen is taking a new and refreshing step towards the future, for both the company and Thailand’s e-commerce market.
“Formerly, we mainly provided services in the form of B-to-B and focused mainly on automotive and electronics. Our destinations were typically factories, sales agents, and retailers. Stepping into the e-commerce industry means we now also provide B-to-C service. The products we deliver vary widely in terms of size and weight, ranging from consumer goods, to appliances, to furniture. Also, our destinations are constantly changing and we commonly come across some delivery restrictions, such as narrow alleys, which create new challenges that need to be managed. Yet, these challenges are what door-to-door service is really about. We must be able to deliver the goods from our customers’ warehouses right into the hands of their customers,” said Mr. Borrirakpatthanakul.
Benefiting from Experience
Although e-commerce is very different from other business sectors, Yusen’s strengths in network coverage, state-of-the-art technology, and talented personnel are proof that the company can definitely provide logistics service to e-commerce customers – and do it well.
Mr. Dhatpisanu Settaanun, Senior Manager, Nationwide Distribution Group, added, “With our network and distribution centers spread all across the country, from Lampang and Kamphaeng Phet in the North, to Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon Ratchathani and Udon Thani in the Northeast, to Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani and Hat Yai in the South, we are able to respond to our customers’ need for speedy shipments.”
“Additionally, we own a large and varied fleet of transport vehicles, including four-wheeled, six-wheeled and ten-wheeled trucks. Therefore, we can handle many types of products, especially over-sized goods, which is our expertise. This is one of our advantages over existing competitors.”
In order to further optimize each delivery, modern technology is utilized in planning and managing the operations. “Because the volume of goods to be delivered is unpredictable and dependent on each day’s orders, we have to plan day by day how to minimize our expenses and reach our goals,” explained Ms. Sipahtsanan Hirunphutthiphorn, Assistant Manager, Nationwide Distribution Group.
“We set up a planning center for the e-commerce sector. Our IT team has developed a new system especially for e-commerce, which also connects with our other systems, including the weight system used in status tracking, Transportation Management System (TMS), the work order system which connects with drivers’ tablets to confirm delivery, advanced GPS systems, the storage system for data such as receipt images, a communication system used between drivers and operators at the center, and a payment tracking system. We also provide a real-time tracking system for customers. Thus, not only are we going high-tech for e-commerce customers, but we have invested for the convenience of our drivers and our clients’ customers as well.”
Mr. Borrirakpatthanakul also commented on Yusen’s technological investment, “We believe technology can make a difference and lead us to new opportunities while at the same time help to improve our performance.”
Technology not only minimizes delivery times; it also gives accurate, clear, real-time information, which is something that customers expect from us.
Quality Service by Qualified Staff
Still, no matter how advanced technology is, at the end of the day, a smooth and efficient operation depends on the employees. Mr. Settaanun explained the key strength of Yusen’s team, “Both the drivers and the regional employees are our own employees. The management is all under our supervision. This is why we can be sure of the service quality. Before we begin a new service like for the e-commerce sector, we always provide training for employees so that they are prepared – precautions, challenges and solutions to each problem. We continuously add to their skills and knowledge until we are certain that they are ready to provide an accurate, fast and effective service.”
Especially in the e-commerce business with Cash on Delivery (COD) service, the integrity of the teams is essential. “All drivers and team members making deliveries to consumers are Yusen employees. From the consumer’s perspective, they represent Yusen. Therefore, we must make sure that they have integrity according to Yusen’s company philosophy. They must also have the kind of manners and humiity with which our customers wish we treat their customers,” said Mr. Settaanun.
Mr. Borrirakpatthanakul explained more about COD service in this industry, “When it comes to e-commerce, COD service shows exactly how ready a provider is to enter this market. It is also what drives the growth of the e-commerce industry, because a lot of times when customers make an online purchase, they want to see the product before making any payment. Some might reject the delivery for many reasons. This is why it is all about management, either in terms of employee loyalty or in terms of clear, precise, and fast cash circulation. Thus, only those who are truly ready can become a provider in this market.”
Ms. Hirunphutthiphorn also added that Yusen’s teams and operations processes are attentive and precise in all sectors. In the past, truck drivers used to simply deliver goods and bring back the receipt, but now they are also responsible for collecting customer payment. All of this affects work performance and organizational integrity.
Moving to the Next Level
Now, it has been half a year since Yusen took its first step into this market. Mr. Borrirakpatthanakul shared feedback from customers, showing they are satisfied with the company’s service. They are still having discussions about expanding capacity while looking for new opportunities with smaller e-commerce companies of equal growth potential.
The e-commerce sector might not have the highest numbers, but it has a massive growth rate.
“When compared to other business sectors which we have long served, e-commerce might not have the highest numbers, but it has a massive growth rate. We expect our e-commerce business to at least double by the end of this year.” Mr. Borrirakpatthanakul also shared some thoughts on Yusen’s company vision, “Here at Yusen, we try to continuously push the company forward regardless of the current economy. We have made a variety of investments and created a balance in services between groups of industries. This will help the company to take a step forward. In the meantime, we never cease to seek new business opportunities and use our experience and ability to operate rapidly and efficiently.”
Yusen Logistics has clear advantages with a well-rounded network. In addition to road transportation, its foundation in sea and air transportation is also solid. The company utilizes modern and effective technology and experienced teams to cater to every customer. These are just a few of the reasons that Yusen has been able to achieve success in this new sector faster than anyone. One day, when the AEC is unified without any restrictions on cross-border transportation, there is a strong possibility that the e-commerce business will expand beyond the borders of Thailand. When that day comes, Yusen will be ready to plunge in before anyone else to take the lead in this enormous market of opportunity.