Talking Shop: Good logistics mgmt can bring huge savings, says Royale Asia

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Retail in Asia

Scott Morson is regional general manager of the Royale Asia Group, an Asia-Pacific logistics and courier company whose clients include some of the region's major retailers. Retail in Asia talked to Morson about how Royale Asia distinguishes itself from the competition, and asked what tip he had to offer Asia's retailers.

RIA: How do Royale Asia's services differ from those of other third-party logistics companies in the region?

SM: One of the key advantages that Royale Asia has over other third-party logistics providers is the flexibility of our courier solutions. While the majority of our competitors offer solutions based on their own network requirements, we try to tailor solutions to meet our clients' requirements. This approach has helped Royale Asia foster long-term partnerships with many major retailers through helping to improve their logistics management.

RIA: What are your company's key markets in Asia-Pacific?

SM: Like many global companies, we focus on emerging markets in the region. We are excited about the growth we see in these markets, and especially in China. Over the past three years, we have expanded our presence in China to eight offices to cater to our rapidly growing client base, and we have opened our own offices in India. We hope to experience the same sort of growth in India as we have in China.

RIA: Which parts of Asia-Pacific, if any, do you not distribute to?

SM: We have the capability to provide logistics and distribution services throughout the whole of the region. The only location where we do not have our own capability within Asia-Pacific is North Korea.

RIA: What tip can you offer to retailers wanting to move their stock around the region?

SM: Think of your logistics supplier as your partner and key ally. We have sometimes been able to save companies hundreds of thousands, even millions of US dollars, by working closely with them on logistics management. Some clients have made significant changes to their internal methodologies on our advice and have reaped the rewards from both a financial and an efficiency point of view.

RIA: Can you tell us about Royale Asia's environmental initiatives?

SM: We have numerous environmental initiatives in place in each of our offices and at group level. Our latest idea is for a green suggestions box, so staff can contribute their ideas to help reduce waste in the office. We strive to deliver by direct flights as much as possible and maximise our use of conference calls, both regionally and domestically, to help reduce our carbon footprint.

RIA:  How is technology changing the way Royale Asia does business?

SM: Technology has changed the way we interact with our clients as well as increasing the volume of our business. It enables us to cater more closely to our clients' needs by providing more efficient solutions, timely shipping information, and better customer service.

RIA:  What are your three biggest challenges at the moment?

SM: Our first big challenge is attracting talent. Finding good-quality people with a visionary perspective can be difficult, particularly at management level in China. We expect our management, sales, business development and marketing people to have an entrepreneurial outlook and be able to make business decisions based on opportunities as they present themselves.

Corporate-performance-management policies and procedures are the second challenging factor. Having expanded rapidly in several sectors, we must constantly review our corporate processes and strategic goals, and manage our corporate performance against those goals to ensure we have not overlooked a business opportunity.

Finally, escalating costs. With the constant increases and fluctuations in fuel and airline prices, costs have been especially tough to deal with over the last couple of years. We are constantly seeking alternative solutions to keep our overheads under control.

RIA: How do you see your business developing over the next 18 months? How about the next five years?

SM: From a revenue perspective, we are on track for a record year so we are very positive about the next 18 months, when we should see continuing expansion and development into new markets. We will be opening additional offices in China throughout the year. Over the next five years I foresee us entering new markets with a more diverse range of services in more locations.

Visit Royale Asia for more on the company's services.

Talking Shop is the Retail in Asia section devoted to interviews with brand CEOs and retail industry leaders.

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