Logistics, as always, has remained an integral aspect of many businesses in Nigeria. The tremendous growth of small and medium scale businesses in the current economy and their ever-increasing demand for logistics services has greatly challenged the availability and quality of service, as customers and vendors rely on it to move orders and packages between locations on a daily basis.
You would think this is a good deal for the logistics industry but wait till you hear from the many people especially business owners who have used Logistics companies over time, and have faced serious challenges getting their products delivered.
While conducting a survey, I asked business owners about their experience with logistics companies, and how it had affected them personally, or their businesses. Most of the responses I got were really poor. Some said transportation cost is really a constraint. Others said the delivery time takes forever. A man after thinking for a while mentioned that the uncertainty of the cost as they might change any time.
Well, as real as these challenges are, they are issues that can be avoided or controlled. Whether you are a business owner in need of a market place or a service provider taking delivery requests, certain factors have to be made clear on both ends:
- The kind of product (Solid, bulky, flameable, perishable, legal etc)
- The quantity of the product
- The condition of the product
- Delivery information (name, phone number etc)
- Delivery timeline
- How it will be delivered
- Cost implication
- Insurance or default policy
- Tracking or shipment updates
Although some may disagree with some of these factors by saying “a shipment of something not so substantial should not require this much information blab la bla”. We’ve heard that before – until the item gets missing or damaged and you report to twitter police. The information will help put both parties in check. As a customer, ask for these things. Will you be refunded if your item gets damaged or missing; Will you still have to pay anything extra after making this payment; Mr. logistics, is your 3-4 days delivery timeline exactly as it is or you mean 3-4 working days?. All these information needs to be ironed out.
For service providers, get all the information you need ready before embarking on the trip. Let your customer understand how you work. For example, you probably charge extra for express shipping; or in situations where the recipient is not available to collect the package, do you head back and charge extra for a return trip or its ‘on the house’. Otherwise brace yourself to expect stories that touch the heart.
Have you had a similar experience with customers or service providers? Kindly share in a comment below.