Road haulage has always been an industry with hundreds, if not thousands, of operators. The bedrock of the industry is small family firms with trucks that are at the customers’ behest if they need something moving. Being local to the source of whatever needs moving is important because it means that there are trucks close to base and the source of business. If the return journey of the truck is empty, so be it; the cost of the movement is borne by the single load. Without being too cruel about it, the small family firm is not the most sophisticated operator and it is our contention that their focus on price when selling their services does not serve them or the market very well.
The requirement to shift a load from A to B still dominates. However, there is also a more sophisticated need to provide a solution for goods storage, managing supply and moving products in a very tight time window. This change has taken place over the last four decades. Yet, despite these developments, there is still an unhealthy focus on price. This limits innovation, it stymies added value services and it reduces the amount of personal service that is offered.
You can’t blame the people who need haulage for wanting a bargain. A good price is an obvious and easy thing to measure and it is no surprise that it is a strong metric for decision making. But in this respect, hauliers are their own worst enemy as many still see themselves as delivery men. They still believe that a low price is the best and easiest way to win business and as a result they sell on price. It is about time that hauliers opened their ears and listened to their customers. Logistics market research and transport market research can help them do this.
Examples of our logistics market research and transport market research experience include:
A leading European logistics firm approached B2B International describing the increasing service demands of its client base, as well as the challenge of meeting these requirements in a commoditising market. B2B International was charged with helping develop a value proposition that ensured the client was increasing its margins and meeting customer needs.
It was clear that the answer to the challenge facing our client lay in consumer insight. B2B International developed a quantitative telephone survey of 250 interviews in which we delved both qualitatively and quantitatively into the challenges, needs, unmet needs and supplier choice drivers of buyers of logistics solutions.
The quantitative analytics from this study allowed us to:
The final output of the logistics market research devised a strategy for increasing margin, based on the key finding that whilst our client believed that 90% plus of the target audience was primarily focused on price, in reality the proportion was under 30%. The client therefore ‘deselected’ the price sensitive customers or offered a basic offering, whilst focusing high level technical support on those that were willing to pay for it.