Specialization: Trend in logistic solutions

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Since more companies are outsourcing some of their activities in terms of supply chain management and logistics, more logistics solutions providers are specializing in certain sectors to tap into the growing domestic market.

More companies are entrusting their logistics affairs to other companies so that they can pay more attention to their core business. To some extent such a condition has benefited domestic logistics solutions providers in facing the stiffer competition with foreign companies operating in Indonesia. Foreign courier and logistics companies play leading roles in the Indonesian market. For Indonesians, brands like DHL, TNT, UPS and FedEx are rather popular compared to local names. However, local express courier and logistics solutions providers are now enjoying a bigger slice of the pie amid the increasing market by offering services in specific sectors.

The trends affecting the logistics solutions industry as a whole is predominantly about infrastructure development and how companies are looking to alter their supply chain model. And, there is also increasing demands from new sectors such as natural resources including plantation, oil, gas and mining, telecommunication and even retail. The new sectors have come up and are looking to outsource more and more, not only in terms of basic transportation but also other activities, like warehousing.

The president of the Indonesian Logistics Association (ALI), Ananta Deandhono, said that the condition has fragmented the logistics service companies into client or sector-wise and service-wise. “Basically, the demand for logistics services is increasing due to outsourcing. But it’s a bit hard to project the growth of the logistics sector in Indonesia as it spans across many industries and it varies in each industry. I’d say that if GDP increases, value in the logistics sector will also increase, which will be good for logistics solutions providers,” Ananta said. He added that the market for domestic logistics outsourcing of inter-city or inter-island logistics ranged between 50 and 70 percent.

This promising condition has been tapped by PT Cipta Krida Bahari (CKB Logistics), a local logistics solutions operator. The company is one example of the specialization trend, as it focuses on the oil, gas and mining sector and offers competitive services to handle domestic distribution and project shipments of drilling equipment and spare parts.

Company director Roni Setyawan said CKB Logistics had expanded rapidly into a fast growing regional integrated logistics services company with expertise in project logistics and total logistics solutions. The services include multi-modal transportation services and logistics solutions in project shipments, customs clearance brokerage, warehouse-inventory management, and distribution services, he said.

“We are targeting the oil and gas, mining and construction, machinery and heavy equipment, and electronics and telecommunication industries. Operations for these industries frequently require a wide range of logistics and transportation services, including project shipment, customs clearance, airfreight services to support parts and component distribution, inland transportation (trucking services) within the site, and warehousing inventory management.

Having expertise in handling complex and large-scale logistics projects, CKB Logistics has a proven record in delivering logistics services in a wide range of heavy industry segments, including oil and gas, mining, EPC (engineering, procurement and construction), power systems, heavy equipment, electronics and telecommunications. “By outsourcing the logistics affairs to CKB, the corporations that are our customers can concentrate on their respective core businesses. Many corporations are indeed realizing what their core businesses are and are beginning to outsource beyond basic transportation. Therefore, many logistics solutions companies are evolving in Indonesia,” Roni said.

He said that in the oil, gas and mining sector, many companies outsourced their logistics activities as natural resources exploration and activities had good prospects in Indonesia. “The segment of this sector, approximately between 5 and 7 percent (allocated for logistics) of the total expenses, is huge. This is only in the mining, oil and gas sector,” he said.

Challenges, however, are still large, he added. “There are the *natural’ challenges for most courier or logistics solutions providers in Indonesia, which they are so dependent on the infrastructure operated by third or other par ties. So we have to be very smart in facing such a condition, for example, damaged bridges in remote areas where consignments must be delivered, inadequate seaports or airports, uncertain waiting time for docking or berthing, etc. That’s why we have to be prepared to arrange our own equipment and fleets.”

To support the movement of heavy equipment and odd-sized shipments, CKB Logistics has its own jacking and rolling/sliding equipment with uplift capacity of 400 tons. This equipment can be mobilized anywhere to support heavy equipment movements. Long-term relations and alliances with vessel owners and operators allow CKB Logistics to provide reliable service guarantees. “When we succeed, customers will remember our name. And, we have to prove that we are much better than the *big guys’ out there,” he said.

Realizing there is increasing demand for continuous improvement of value-added and quality services, many local courier and logistics solutions providers are investing more in IT and software, particularly to support their supply chain management services. The providers are also competing to offer top services in integrated logistics solutions, including customs clearance, commodity transportation, warehousing and distribution.

More companies are opening up to the idea of outsourcing their supply chains because they need very high precision, very high quality levels — which is something they cannot do themselves. These companies are realizing what their core business is and are outsourcing beyond just basic transportation, such as warehousing. This means the logistics sector in Indonesia will grow in terms of market size. Good local courier and logistics solutions providers, which are now fragmented, will then be ready to compete with the established foreign firms. With well-prepared investment in infrastructure and human resources, consolidation, measures and services they will be able to play a significant role in the sharper rivalry and grab more of the market share. (I. Christianto)

The Jakarta Post, May 25, 2008

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