The Logistic industry is a multi-million Naira industry, but it is faced with a number of challenges. A number of Startups are trying to use technology to bring greater efficiency to the sector. One of such Startups is Kobo360.com, a Logistic platform, leveraging technology in the Logistic industry. I recently had a chat with Obi Ozor, Co-Founder, Kobo360.com and he spoke at length on the problems and prospects of the Logistic industry.
Obi stated that the Logistic industry, from the African market perspectives, is worth about $300 billion. He further emphasised that the industry has different branches, such as the e-courier, trucking and air and sea freight, but in Nigeria, we are more into the e-courier and trucking branches of the Logistic industry. “The trucking branch of the industry is about $80 billion across Africa, while in Nigeria, it is about $18 billion. The e-courier projection is about $2 billion”, he maintained.
Obi is of the opinion that, although, the reward derived from the Logistic industry is huge, so are the challenges therein, because, it is a tough line of business to venture into. He said that he decided to venture into the Logistic business because, it is the heartbeat of any economy. He alluded to the importance of transporting the products from one point to the other, citing the example of the fact that the building of the railways in the USA, aided, in no small measure, the movement of goods during the industrial revolution. He maintained that the Logistic is the foundation of economic development. “We know, of course that, if e-commerce and the new technology industry will flourish n our continent, we actually need to solve that underlying factor,” he stated.
Obi stated that his plans to use technology to in order to bring about change in the Logistic industry will come in phases. “Of course, a Startup has limited capabilities. You don’t have some of the financing or experience, but from the little experience tat we have, and our being open to learning, we know that there are few things that technology can do”, he reiterated. He gave the example of how technology can bring about transparency in pricing in the e-courier sector of the Logistic industry. He also stated that, technology can assist in aggregating all the trucks available in the country in one place, for the people who need the services t access them easily.
Obi stated that those in e-commerce can, actually, not solve their Logistics problems alone, even though, just because they are investing in it as it is a wrong move on their part. “Logistic is big business that has serious challenges and one of the problems in Logistics is that, it requires serious execution and operations. It is not an industry where you just an idea and you come in and things will start working”, he noted. He stated further, that, the Logistic industry should be left to solve the Logistic problems while the e-commerce operators need to trust them to solve it.
On cash or pay on delivery, Obi stated that this originated from India and we have copied it here in Nigeria, but we need to modify it to what works for us, such as looking for a safe place to make the exchanges of the deliveries and cash payments as the lives of dispatch riders are are jeopardised on daily basis. He also stated that, many for the e-commerce companies do not have infrastructure in every part of the country, so, there is the need to work with government on this.
Talking about competition, Obi stated that the Startups , like his own, hope to hope to apply innovation to the business, to enable him to compete favourably with the big names in the industry. He reiterated that that, one thing that his company has has, is the ability to listen and understand the problems and solving them, in conjunction with the stakeholders, of which the customers are a part. He emphasised that, Logistic is too complex an industry for a single person or company to solve alone. He maintained that there is the issue of capacity, when it comes to Logistics, hence, all stakeholders must come together to solve those issues.
Speaking on how he intends to deal with user education in the Logistic industry, Obi stated that, although, it is a big problem, two-day a week sessions are, however, organised for drivers, free of charge, where they are taught and tested on basic understanding on how to operate all those expensive assets and customer service. He stated that the easy design of the platform, with mostly clicks, with less texts to make it easy for the users to apply and operate and there is also the R & D, which is set to develop a voice only app, to make the users more comfortable, by bringing everything down to their level.