CRM in digitalisation

Digitisation is on everyone’s lips. Woe betide any company that tries to buck the trend.

Especially in logistics, there are numerous areas where digital technology is on the rise.

Warehouses are being completely automated, picking is only accompanied by warehouse staff, yard management is being introduced, tracking and tracing is being introduced as in the B2C sector.

Warehouse employees and drivers work with apps to improve digital cooperation.

Every step in the supply chain is monitored and digitally available.

The logistics industry, which otherwise sometimes comes across as a bit shirt-sleeved and technology-phobic, is at the forefront here.

Digitalisation in logistics an important topic: Logistics IT Congress on 30.11.2017 in Würzburg

Prof. Dr Ulrich Müller-Steinfahrt talks about “Digitisation: Driver for Innovations in Logistics – What has changed and where the journey is going (or not)”.

Some of his assessments are so extreme that a murmur goes through the rows. He addresses many fields in logistics in which a lot has been renewed in recent years.

After the lecture, I approached him and asked him why, from his point of view, the topic of CRM does not appear at all in the many publications on digitalisation in logistics. Just two years ago, CRM was a must for a logistician. How could you organise your sales, keep your existing customers and acquire new customers if you don’t use a professional sales tool?

Of course, to a certain extent the market is already saturated and most companies have modules to their forwarding systems or stand-alone CRM tools in use. But that does not explain the silence.

In the conversation with Mr Müller-Steinfahrt, it crystallises that CRM fatigue could be related to the fact that logistics managers had to cope with such an incredible number of transport orders last year that there were hardly any resources for sales activities. Digitisation elsewhere in the logistics company should help to cope with the quantities of goods and also still maintain an overview.

The students at the university where Professor Müller-Steinfahrt teaches, the Faculty of Economics at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (FHWS), especially at the Institute for
Applied Logistics (IAL), naturally have sales organisation in their curriculum and the use of CRM systems in logistics companies is standard for them.

Just as a job in a technologically backward company in terms of logistics processes has no appeal for a graduate, graduates who are expected to work in a sales-oriented manner will prefer employers who can offer them a good digital sales infrastructure.

It is already apparent today that graduates, who can choose their jobs in view of the shortage of skilled workers in logistics, prefer to go to companies that are not just starting out in digitalisation. The area of business development or marketing and sales is no exception.

The subsidies that German companies can take advantage of for digitalisation can also be helpful here. Many freight forwarders and logistics companies have applied for and been approved for the introduction of CRM. One example is the Digital Bonus Bavaria, which offers subsidies of up to €50,000 per company for digitisation projects.

When the order situation in Europe changes again, some logistics companies will realise that they have neglected customer retention activities and have not bothered to acquire new customers at all.

It will become clear: those who use CRM even in “good times” will be ahead when the competition for goods resumes. Because then you will have maintained good customer loyalty, draw on a treasure trove of promising leads and have strengthened your brand image via campaigns and actions.