We live in an interconnected and interdependent world, creating buzz for economic activities. Its functioning will become unbalanced if there is even a slight tectonic shift. Countries make investments in developing infrastructure to guarantee continuous operations. India is not falling behind its Western counterparts in the race, and land transportation as an efficient mode is advancing significantly. Thanks to forward-thinking government initiatives and e-commerce platforms, it has become crucial for igniting the growth engine.
With the change, logistics companies are vying for a piece of the pie in an exponentially growing number. Their range is very constrained due to their disorganization. However, few companies have taken advantage of the technology and developed applications compatible with all forms of digital gadgets.
FR8 is one such online platform for booking truck transportation, which enables the interaction of players such as load owners, truck owners, and truck drivers. Since our company’s inception in 2016, our customer base has multiplied. This is a result of our 38 branches offering individualized customer service across all of India.
It raises the question of why we need branch offices if we can book transportation online. Let us try to formally address the reasons here.
Table of Contents
Hiring with Regional language advantage
India is well known for its vibrant and diverse cultural practices, and in each state, a new tapestry is woven. Any person who is interested in starting a business should understand that each region in India speaks a different vernacular, has distinct food habits, and practices a unique work culture.
Opening regional branch offices helps both the office staff and the customer strike an even balance in communication with the comfort of speaking their language. Customers have a designated area at the branch office where they can interact, resolve disputes, field questions, and receive hands-on assistance. Because not everyone is comfortable using modern-day gadgets, those customers prefer to see physical space before entering into any type of contractual agreement.
Branch office employees ensure customer satisfaction by providing timely and accurate information, collaborating with operations teams to meet customer needs, and addressing any service-related issues that arise. Face-to-face interaction ultimately leads to building trust and loyalty with customers.
Physical presence for business growth
One cannot apply the same business strategy in all states of India, because of the diversity of the cultures and sub-cultures of the region. A local branch office team assists in understanding local market dynamics, identifying business opportunities, building relationships with local businesses, expanding client bases, and tailoring services to specific regional needs.
As a result, the transportation company or logistics business will generate healthy revenue. Branch offices actively participate in local networking events, trade shows, and conferences to raise the company’s visibility, broaden its network, and forge mutually beneficial partnerships. This eventually promotes the goodwill of the transport company among the localities.
Consignment transportation booking has gotten simpler with the help of the online mobile application. However, a branch office is necessary to manage local logistics such as receiving and dispatching shipments, coordinating pick-ups in some locations, and warehouse facilities. Since they are familiar with the terrain, it is simpler for them to plan routes, work with truck owners, and solve logistics and transportation problems.
Proof of delivery collection
Branch offices ensure that legal and regulatory requirements pertaining to transportation are met. Accounting, payroll, human resources, and legal compliance are just a few of the administrative tasks handled in physical offices. These functions ensure the smooth operation of the transport company.
In the case of FR8, branch offices play a leading role in the collection of ‘Proof of Delivery (POD)‘ and sending it to the load owners. It is done within a stipulated time period of 10 days. Proof of delivery (POD) is the metric of the company, protecting both the customers and the transport company. It prevents customer dissatisfaction with late delivery but enhances customer satisfaction. It helps the transport company avoid delivery-related customer disputes.
Unprecedented events (pandemics) and natural disasters (earthquakes or flooding) disrupt mobility, and all forms of information from ground zero to the outer reaches become casualties. Transport companies bear the brunt of the damage and can only survive if they have a regional presence there.
- Help with basic infrastructure restoration by contacting the appropriate authorities for basic goods movement.
- Safeguard and protect the goods being transported and relocate them to safe locations.
- Check on the truck driver’s health and assist him in obtaining the best medication possible.
- Inform the main office and coordinate with the next regional branches to assist in getting relief materials and other supplies from their location as soon as possible.
- They also disseminate information to the truck drivers about alternate routes to come, and safety guidelines to pass the terrain.
According to the CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), cash usage will decline only when 33% of the population uses digital payments. It is clear from the preceding statement that cash still rules the roost and is primarily used in rural and sub-urban India.
Having a regional office and cultivating relationships with the local population help transportation businesses thrive in the region. Customers defer payment due to long-established trust. A regional branch facilitates regular follow-up and payment collection.
In certain circumstances, customers may be required to make cash payments or deposits for transportation services. Physical branches offer a safe and convenient location for such transactions, ensuring that customers have a dependable method of making payments.
Remote work for women
The Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs presented the Economic Survey 2022-23, which noted an increase in rural female labour force participation rates from 19.7% in 2018-19 to 27.7% in 2020-21. The transportation and logistics sectors contribute to women’s emancipation and job creation.
For example, in FR8, branch offices assist women in supplementing their income, and women make up 50% of the workforce in its cause.
- They have a unique perspective on the local problem and offer distinct solutions.
- Customer service has improved, and they have the patience to help each customer and solve their problem.
- This improves when the customer is a woman who is at ease speaking to her co-gender.
- Over time, trust and bonding develop, which helps to attract more customers to the office.
- When women enter the workforce, an environment for the safety and security of both inmates and customers is created.
The ability of goods to arrive on time and in good condition is dependent on a number of factors, including truck driver caliber, truck technical performance on the road, and man-made (lockdown) and natural (floods, earthquakes) events. The first two, involving the truck and the truck driver, are easily resolved when the transport company has branch offices. The last factor we addressed in the contingency point.
Trucks break down
Even the best truck manufacturer in the world and the most well-maintained truck will experience some form of malfunction. It could be caused by a tire puncture, a dead battery, a faulty brake system, or a faulty clutch. Sometimes the driver will be unable to resolve the problem. The regional office in the area can immediately arrange for a mechanic or guide to a workshop to restore the vehicle’s condition.
Truck drivers may also experience health issues and be forced to stop driving. Again, the local branch office can dispatch an alternate driver to take over the vehicle and continue the journey while the ill driver is attended to. In some minor cases, the banker or financier will seize the truck for nonpayment of dues. During this time, the branch office is the last resort, sending an alternative truck to ensure the safe and secure movement of goods.
Accidents / Theft
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) website, truck/lorry/mini truck deaths will account for 9.4% of all road accidents in 2021. The percentage is higher, especially since India is investing a significant portion of its resources in developing world-class infrastructure on par with its western counterpart.
Even though the online truck booking platform registers well-qualified and trained truck drivers, accidents are unavoidable. Especially if the other party in the crash is reckless. Whatever the reason, having a local branch office assists in taking up the matter with the relevant local authorities and bringing the incident to a close, especially if the driver was not at fault.
Theft of vehicles or commodities is another common problem for truck drivers. Safety becomes a greater concern, especially in terrain where travel is hazardous and the driver is unfamiliar with the movements of dacoits. Having regional truck company branches in those areas allows drivers to safely access areas that are inherently less safe.
Training and Development
Employee training programs and professional development activities are best carried out in physical offices. Offices provide the space for learning in the form of driver training, or safety workshops. This ensures that the transportation company’s workforce is up to date on industry standards and regulations.
From the preceding discussion, we can infer the requirements of physical branches. FR8 understands its customers’ needs and operates 38 branches precisely, with plans to open more.
Despite advances in logistics technology, the FR online platform believes in maintaining a physical presence and providing personalized services to customers. To know more about us, give us a call or visit one of our branches.
Jay is the Co-founder and CTO of FR8. With 18 years of experience, Jay loves working on complex problem and providing simple technical solution. He likes training and empowering team by teaching them skills they need, questions they need to ask and answers they need to figure out instead of spoon feeding the answers.