There are many courier businesses in Singapore. Some survive for a long time and are doing pretty well. Many others are struggling to survive. It boils down to the knowledge and expertise of the individual courier businesses which determine their survival. The top management needs to be very knowledgeable and smart in decision making.
If you look at PCA Masters Singapore, it is clear that they are doing some things right. Perhaps there are some things courier businesses in Singapore can learn from them.
In my opinion, to increase the chances of the courier business beating the competition, here are some things courier businesses in Singapore needs to know.
1. Volatile demand
Demand for courier services will fluctuate from month to month. During some periods in the year such as Chinese New Year or Christmas Day, the demand for courier services bound to increase many folds. In other months, the demand is relatively low. Courier businesses need to take note of this volatile demand in services and plan their manpower well. Good manpower planning is critical to the profitability of the firm. If the courier business employs too many couriers, then the profits of the firm will take a huge hit if the demand is low for the month. If the company employs too few employees, customers’ deliveries cannot be conducted promptly and this risk a direct impact in its reputation.
2. Rainy days
Courier businesses in Singapore have their own couriers riding motorbikes. During the rainy days, the riders need to seek shelter and the jobs will be put on hold. New courier requests are temporarily stopped too. Even the van deliveries will be affected as the vans will move slower on the roads due to the rain. It is better to be safe. Business owners of courier companies need to know of these events so as to factor these in into the pricing of the courier services. The pricing of the courier services should be able to cover for these downtimes.
3. Minimum price
Developing from point 2, courier businesses should know a minimum price whereby their business will breakeven. This is important so that businesses know the minimum price they can go into, in order to attract more customers. If they charge customers below this minimum price, they are losing money, which is a bad thing for the business. Of course, price competition is not good for the industry in general. Businesses should concentrate on their unique points to stand out from the competition.
The courier industry in Singapore had been slow adapting to changes in the macro environment and implementing policies to improve the value in the industry. One way to improve the value of the courier services is to make the business processes more efficient and make it as easy as possible for customers to order courier services. Customers value convenience a lot these days. The value of convenience is a subset of the value of the entire courier service.
From the early 1990s to the early 2010s, little changes have been made to improve the way people order courier services. People are only open to 2 options to order courier services – calls and simple website input. Most of the time, when customers input their courier service request via the phone, the courier companies will call them up to verify the information again. Ordering of courier services can hardly do without the use of phones.
Things are quite different in the past 5 years. The pace of productivity improvement has increased tremendously as the world shifts its focus and relies heavily on information technological advancements. With the invention of smart phones and the boom of internet era, people are spending a large amount of time on their mobile phone and surfing the internet daily.
Smart businesses know how to take advantage of this. A good and updated Singapore courier services company would offer a third option of ordering and confirming the courier services straight via their online ordering system. No phone calls will need to be made to the customers so the customers can save time answering the calls and repeating the information again.
Many players in the courier industry also developed mobile applications to provide the customers an alternate way of ordering courier services. This kind of mobile application is very similar to the Uber mobile application concept where the system uses a peer to peer model. It is very easy to order courier services via such mobile applications.
The next step to revolutionize the way people order courier services is still underway and I’m excited in this fast-paced environment now.
Talent is crucial for the survival of the firms. The companies with the best employees in the market tend to edge out the competition and survive the longest. Are courier companies in Singapore attracting the best talent in the market? This may be difficult considering that most people in Singapore wants to work in the more prestigious sectors such as law, banking, and accountancy. Working in a courier company will not get them the payout that they can get in the more prestigious sectors.
While understanding that the courier industry may not necessarily get the best minds across all industries to join them, it is still crucial to attract the best employees out of the workforce interested in working for the courier industry. There are various ways courier companies in Singapore can attract the best talent to their companies.
1. Be active looking out for talents
Advertise the job availability to the market via many online job portals. Let the job seekers know about the existence of the courier companies and the jobs. Also, the courier company can create a page on Linkedin just like what PCA Masters did – https://www.linkedin.com/company/pca-masters-pte-ltd. Drivers may not create Linkedin Profiles and look for jobs there. However, the managers and supervisors might. Thus, Linkedin advertising is more for attracting the higher-level employees.
2. Devise a good employee benefit program
Create a good employee benefit program for the employees. Things such as personal insurance, accident insurance, annual leaves are necessary. The courier companies will need to think of better welfare for their employees. Perhaps free medical and regular staff outings? Different companies will have different approaches of doing this.
3. Let the employee feel empowered
Employees like to feel empowered. This way, they will feel a sense of responsibility towards the company. I’m not saying to delegate the important decision making to them. However, some lower level decision making activities such as whether to refund the customer for a bad job done can be passed on to the couriers on the ground.
There are other ways one can attract the best talents to a company. The 3 points above are just a simple guide.
Singapore courier businesses should get more feedback from customers. Customer feedback is very important to help the companies determine the areas they should improve on. This will allow the companies to continually improve their products and services to cater to the customers’ growing demands. Only this way the companies will be able to attract more new customers and to retain more old customers with them. Customers should never be ignored. In this aspect of getting customer feedback, I would say a lot of the courier companies in Singapore are not handling it well.
There are of course, some courier companies in Singapore that are very proactive in getting customer feedback. These companies are usually the ones which are performing better and getting a bigger market share. Contrary to popular belief, businesses do not have to spend a bomb in getting customer feedback for their products and services. Here are some ways the smarter courier companies are doing in Singapore.
Social Media Platforms
Smart courier companies like PCA Masters tap on social media to interact with their customers. Apart from reaching out to customers, the social media platforms allow the customers to provide feedback to the company too. For instance, PCA Masters Pte Ltd have their own Facebook page which allow anyone from the public to leave comments on their Facebook wall. Public comments about the company are made visible to everyone. It seems like PCA Masters have their own social media team to manage the social media platforms as well as I can see that customers’ comments are replied to in a very short amount of time.
Feedback form on website
Another inexpensive way of getting customer feedback is to put a customer feedback form on the company website. This will generate another avenue for customers to give feedback to the company. Different customers prefer to give feedback via different ways. It is crucial to provide them with various methods and let them choose whichever method they want to use to give their precious feedback to the company.
Short calls can also be made to the customers to ask for feedback after the whole operations have been done. This requires more effort but will reach out to customers who are lazy to provide feedback. Sometimes, these feedback may tap on the minor details but the minor details are the ones which matter.
In my previous post, I talked about courier services from the perspective of the business owner / employer. Specifically, I touched on the points about why people would consider starting a courier business in Singapore. In this post, I am going to the other side of the story, considering courier services from the perspective of the consumers. Why would consumers seek courier services in Singapore?
Singapore is a very small city. It would take about an hour of drive just to get from one end to another in Singapore. This shows that it will be quite easy for anyone to travel and send a package themselves in Singapore. Why would anyone still order courier services? Below are some common reasons why people choose to do it.
1. They hate the traveling
Some people just hate to travel. The hot and humid weather in Singapore does not help either. Hence, they would rather stay under shelter such as staying in the office and get another person to send an item on his behalf. If the consumer does not have a car and the only other option besides getting a courier is to take the public transport to deliver the items, he will have a higher preference to engage courier services.
2. They are too busy to deliver the items themselves
Some people are just too busy. I mean – most working professionals are. Most working professionals are too busy to even leave their office for anything; they are covered under piles of work in the office. If they have any thing that needs to be done that requires them to leave their office (such as needing to deliver an item), they will simply outsource it instead. Courier services are very convenient for the working professionals. The customers do not need to leave their office at all. The couriers will fulfill the delivery door-to-door.
3. They are smart in managing their time
Smart people knows how much their time is worth. If he can generate more money in the time needed to deliver the item than the cost of the courier service, he will simply just engage the courier service. Overall, he will achieve a net gain.
Starting a business requires huge amount of dedication and commitment. Extensive planning needs to be done before one embarks on the business venture. If you don’t plan properly from the start, you will have much higher chance of failing. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Let’s look at starting a courier business in Singapore.
Is it wise to start a courier business in Singapore?
Firstly, let’s look at the competition. There are many courier companies in Singapore presently in 2016. Some of them are rather big like PCA Masters http://www.pcamasters.com/ and Speedpost, while we have many small courier businesses in Singapore. Competition is definitely stiff due to the abundance of courier companies in Singapore. Basically, it is a cut throat industry where businesses compete mainly on price. It is hard to differentiate one from another.
Secondly, let’s look at profit margins. Due to the intense competition, profit margin is very small for the businesses. In this aspect, it is not really attractive for new entrants.
Thirdly, the cost of entrant is rather high. In order to start a courier business, you have to purchase several vehicles upfront – vans, bikes, lorries, and any other vehicles you deem necessary to aid your staffs travel around the country to complete the courier deliveries. Speaking of staffs, you will have to get some staffs from the beginning too, unless you want to deliver the items yourself. Vehicle cost and staff salaries are big fixed expenses that your business need to support from the beginning.
Looking at these three points alone are enough to say that the courier business in Singapore is a very competitive and difficult industry. If you have the capital to burn and have a few years of your time to spare, then you can consider getting into the courier industry in Singapore. Otherwise, perhaps there are better industries and business opportunities for you out there somewhere else.
Being a person passionate about courier deliveries in Singapore, I may be unique. However, from what I know, there are many people who are planning to enter this industry, or whom constantly use courier services and among that group of people, this is a very popular topic – courier deliveries in Singapore.
Courier deliveries in Singapore is a very unique thing, and you won’t hear too much about it in most other countries – probably except for large cities like New York e.t.c.
Here’s why it’s so unique:
- Courier services in Singapore are usually only engaged by companies or self employed personnel. Few consumers use courier services because they’ve never heard of it, or the item they need to pass to someone else is not of an urgent nature. Therefore, most consumers would rather take the time to travel and meet their friend to pass them the item instead. However, when it comes to companies, there is no time for the self employed to perform these menial tasks, and the boss would definitely not want an employee to waste 2 hours delivering something which could be done by an external deliveryman instead. That 2 hours would be better put to use to producing more revenue for the company.
- Singapore is a city state. It’s not the only one in the world, but one of the rare few. This means that literally the entire country has tons of businesses all around the place – something unheard of. This is because even for the supposed ‘suburbs’ in Singapore, there are also many small companies there. Every company requires paperwork, and not all paperwork can be relegated to email. Some stuff still needs to be done via paper and pen. This is why courier services is very popular in Singapore as there are many businesses in Singapore.
- There are more banks and companies in Singapore to people then there are banks and companies to people in most other countries. The high ratio means that there is a high demand for courier deliveries for contracts, vendor agreements and cheque deposits in Singapore than anywhere else in the world (at least on a country basis).
This also means that you need to engage a courier company worthy of trust and is responsible. Make sure to use a brand like PCA Masters courier service www.pcamasters.com/courier-delivery-singapore/ for deliveries within Singapore or an international one like Fedex www.fedex.com/sg/ if you need overseas deliveries from Singapore to other countries.