Starting a logistics and supply chain management business can be both profitable and appealing. But for many, it may seem complex, especially if you’re passionate about combining both in Africa. If you are trying to wrap your head around how it works, this article has all the exciting scoop you need to navigate and excel in the logistics and supply chain management industries, but first, let’s define these terms clearly.
Definition of Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Logistics and supply chain management are different concepts. They only go hand in hand. Logistics is the delivery of goods and services from Point A to Point B, while supply chain management broadens the whole process from sourcing and purchasing to conversion and delivery.
How do you Get Started?
Starting a logistics and supply chain management business is easier than you may presume. Blending both entails deep understanding, but the good part is that you stand a better chance of making more profit than just focusing on one of them.
If you are ready to begin, below you will discover critical steps that will guide you to success in these industries.
Guides in Starting Up a Logistics and Supply Chain Management Business
Ultimately, carrying out market research and surveys is vital for every business. When embarking on logistics and supply chain management in Africa, you should take the time to understand how it works and if it would be a good fit for your location.
Follow trends, look out for opportunities, analyze the gaps, spy on your competitors, and identify where you can make your mark. Remember, knowledge is power.
2. Define your Niche
The industry is wide. First, you need to determine which area of the logistics and supply chain management industry needs improvement. Afterward, you begin looking out for sweet spots that you can occupy and deliver the best in. At this stage, you need to identify the following:
- The services you want to offer and
- Your target audience
Logistics and supply chain management services differ entirely. You have the transportation, customs clearance, and warehousing. Once you understand each process and mount your niche, be sure to stand out and attract the right customers.
3. Develop a Catchy and Effective Business Plan
An effective business plan for logistics and supply chain management comprises goals, market strategies, target markets, financial projections, and operational procedures. Once all of that has been outlined, rest assured of success.
Having a catchy business plan will help you impress potential investors and lenders and also help you stay on track. Make sure you keep it organized and ensure you do not miss out on details.
4. Get Professional and Legal
Another good step is registering your business. Many assume that documentation is not relevant in Africa, but to run a successful business, you need to make sure your licenses and permits are all checked. Connect with pros to ensure that your paperwork is on track.
Most people avoid paperwork because of the complexities involved. Still, when your operations are legal, there are hardly any restrictions when exploring your industry, and it gives you enough confidence to meet with clients and investors all over the world.
5. Time to Network
This part keeps you in business. Ensure that you build your network. The logistics and supply chain management sector is broad; therefore, connection is everything. Connect with business owners, service providers, suppliers, airlines, shipping lines, customs brokers, and key stakeholders.
Building strong connections will broaden your expertise, help you have reasonable competitive rates, and provide top-notch customer service.
6. Invest in Infrastructure and Embrace Technology
Do you want to know how to stay ahead of the game and above your competitors? You have to be tech-savvy. GPS tracking, modern warehouses and vehicles, and inventory management systems will boost your efficiency, impress customers, and certainly help you keep your head up.
7. Select and Hire your Dream Team
There’s this saying, ‘Your employees are your biggest asset.’ So, when you have enough resources and funds to run your business effectively, ensure you take time to select your staff wisely.
Find individuals who are knowledgeable in logistics and supply chain management. Most importantly, train them in the field in accordance with your business operations and also keep your team abreast of the latest industry trends.
8. Promote your Business
When your business is up and running, let the world know! You could even try shouting it loudly from the rooftop. Get active on social media, attend events, and network with people. When you become financially buoyant, you can set up a website, run the internet, and broadcast ads.
Honestly, making money entails spending money. Meanwhile, remember to sprinkle some sweet deals to pull in customers every day.
Challenges of Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Just like every other business, there are challenges in the logistics and supply chain management business. Before fully embarking on this interesting journey, let’s identify the difficulties in operating a logistics and supply chain management business to enable you to incur the risks when they come.
Poor roads can make you want to give up on the spot when you are starting off. In Africa, infrastructure is one of the biggest challenges, which leads to difficulties in moving goods and delays in transportation. Whether roads, railways, or ports.
2. Lack of Skilled Labor
It is paramount to get qualified people for the job in order to avoid difficulties in your logistics business. Find workers with a skilled knowledge of logistics and supply chain management, or at least find those who are willing to learn so that training will be seamless for your company. Invest in your staff to ensure you are on the right path to beating the market.
3. Cost and Resource Constraints
When there are limited resources, running logistics and supply chain management can be complicated, mainly when operating in Africa. Things to note are the cost of transportation, storage, and inventory management, as well as dealing with limited access to specific resources.
4. Customs and Bureaucracy
It is always complex to deal with customs and bureaucracy. It is usually time-consuming. At the end of the day, the complexities result in delays and additional costs for your business. Therefore, be prepared to encounter challenges with customs when your documents and shipments are being checked.
In the long run, overcoming these challenges is easy when you do thorough market research, develop strong relationships with partners and local authorities, and invest in technology and infrastructure.
With these steps, mixed with a dash of creativity and a whole lot of determination, you are certainly on the right path to starting and thriving in your logistics and supply chain management business in Africa. Just remember to stay flexible and evolve as the market changes, and success will always be in your corner. Good luck!