It seems as if the only aspect that has counted in recent years in the transport and logistics sector is price. “Competition is strong,” confirms partner Henk Morren at Schuiteman. “And the last euro is extremely important, but anyone who can distinguish themselves on the basis of service and quality can largely remove themselves from the price war.”
“Today that quality is measured by such things as transparency, information, density, punctuality and specialism,” says Morren. “Customers find it increasingly important to know exactly how the physical flow of goods is structured and which link is being activated when. They also crave an ever denser distribution network.”
Such developments, together with growing price pressure, have created a split in the market between ever-growing companies, capable of specialist services (such as cooled transport) and small do-it-all companies, which have little chance of escaping the price competition. “In both categories it is vital to safeguard the quality element and to choose the right mix between low cost price and high quality; for example in the decision whether to use foreign drivers. Whereas the one customer finds it important to be able to communicate well with drivers about load and delivery, in another case it may be less relevant.”
An inevitable trend, yet one that is difficult to predict, is the rise of robotisation. Certainly in logistics, the rise is unprecedented. Experts envisage that robots in the Eurozone may cost up to 1.5 million jobs. Major savings are to be made with the use of drones and robots, partly because the production costs of robots are decreasing.
Sustainability and efficiency are other important trends in the transport and logistics sector. “Manufacturers are investing in energy-efficient trucks. These are increasingly appealing from an environmental perspective, as well as in terms of cost. In addition drivers are more often trained to achieve maximum return with minimum consumption,” says Morren.
In the transport and logistics sector Schuiteman has a strong presence in and around the Veluwe region, where many transport companies are based. “That enables us in terms of benchmarking to provide our clients with a lot of useful input,” says Morren. “The cost price comprises so many elements; from fuel and staff to the maintenance per kilometre and insurances. As accountants we can shed light on the price structure. What is your driving style? What performance is being achieved in terms of tyre maintenance? Is there room for improvement?”