Cherie Goh, Managing Director of West-Street Carrier
Business was booming, but logistics firm West-Street Carrier was still in the red. All its revenue gains were wiped out by high overhead costs.
“Despite seeing a surge in revenue, we did not see any profit,” shared managing director Cherie Goh.
The company, formed in 1990 as a trading firm in pulp and paper, had expanded to offer logistics and supply chain management due to rising market demand.
However, the business volume was growing faster than their abilities to fund its warehousing, freight forwarding, and transport services. On top of that, they were also struggling to hire workers.
At the same time, competition was heating up due to new entrants who offered lower prices.
Worried about survival, the company sought to better manage finances, keep costs low and improve productivity, while also offering value-added services, said Cherie.
In 2016, they turned to the SME Working Capital Loan. The scheme offers loans of up to S$300,000 – offered through 12 participating financial institutions – with Enterprise Singapore co-sharing half of the loan default risks.
The loan came at the right time; helping the firm overcome its cash flow problems, leaving enough cash on the other hand to invest in technology to reduce its reliance on labour.
The technology upgrade saw West-Street Carrier swapping seven of its manual pallet jacks – a type of forklift – to electric-powered ones. This sped up the loading and unloading of cargo from lorries, increasing the number of trips it could make a day from three to five.
By adopting technology, the company reduced the number of workers needed by 66%. From needing three workers to operate a manual pallet, the company now only requires one worker to operate an electric-powered pallet jack.
As a result, labour expenses fell by 12% while monthly sales grew by 15%.
The company also invested in a warehouse management system, which tracked all goods coming in and out of the warehouse, reducing error by 100%.
“Our customers now know that we have increased capabilities and we are able to handle heavy loads at a greater capacity,” Cherie added.
With the confidence boost from this batch of technology solutions, West-Street Carrier is making plans to further invest in other type of technology that can improve their business productivity and expand overseas.
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