Business is booming for Australian small businesses selling overseas, with these exporters reporting almost 20 per cent more turnover than their domestic-centric counterparts.
The findings, featured in Australia Post’s ‘Small Business Exporting’ insights paper, reveal that reaching into international markets can benefit small business with this group twice as likely to be planning for rapid expansion or to start a new business within the next 12 months.
But with just 27 per cent of all small businesses currently selling to overseas customers, including just 11 per cent sending parcels, the paper highlights the enormous opportunities to be found in traditional and emerging international markets.
Australia Post’s general manager segment development & marketing for business and government Rebecca Burrows said Australian small businesses should pay particular attention to Asian nations, where a growing middle class is embracing online shopping.
“It is estimated that there are more than 3.5 billion people across the globe who fit the middle class profile, and this number is expected to grow by 160 million every year until 2021. In China especially, these consumers are highly receptive to Australian goods – so it is worthwhile for Australia’s small businesses to seek a slice of this international pie,” said Ms Burrows.
“China continues to open up to trade and is rapidly increasing its level of imports. Indonesia, one of the 10 fast-growing ASEAN countries, is right on our doorstep and will soon be the fourth biggest economy in the world. By 2030, four of the five biggest economies in the world will be in our region in Asia.
“It is encouraging to see that small businesses who aspire to sell overseas are starting to recognise the value to be found in non-English-speaking markets. In fact, this group is five times more likely to consider selling into China than anyone else,” Ms Burrows said.
With the findings estimating that 60 per cent of small businesses currently selling online are yet to dip their toes into the international marketplace, Ms Burrows said there is huge potential for Australian brands to build a dedicated following.
“Small businesses doing well abroad use digital marketplaces and focus on niches to maximise cost-effectiveness, and to do that they are also more likely to use professional services – like translators – to connect to their target market and get better bang for their buck. The research found that successful small businesses are actually twice as likely to use marketplaces to reach online customers.
“Australia Post has recognised the importance of these marketplaces and has some exciting partnerships that can help, such as with the TMall marketplace with Alibaba and a new partnership with Lazada – making it easier to reach hundreds of millions of customers,” said Ms Burrows.
Data from the insights paper also indicates: Of goods sold overseas by Australian small businesses:
46 per cent goes to USA
42 per cent goes to NZ
38 per cent goes to UK
35 per cent goes to China
11 per cent goes to Indonesia
The most popular purchases:
24 per cent is women’s apparel
19 per cent is computer software/photographic equipment
Western Australia–based company CTI Logistics has moved its Laverton North presence to a new 15,228sqm distribution centre in West Park Industrial Estate in Truganina, west of Melbourne.
The facility comprises a 14,758sqm warehouse and a 470sqm office.
The company’s warehouse was jointly developed alongside a new purpose-built distribution centre for tile and stone importer National Tiles. Frasers Property Australia, the property group behind the West Park Industrial Estate, reports that the combined end value of the facilities is $33.5 million.
Anthony Maugeri, General Manager – Southern Region, Frasers Property Australia, said: “This deal further supports our strategy to create prime A-grade speculative facilities in select undersupplied markets near major infrastructure nodes. We have a strong track record in leasing these types of buildings to blue-chip tenants on long-term leases.
“CTI has been in operation for over 40 years. The new facility will help the business service their growing customer base across Australia and will also offer significant operational efficiencies.”
Companies located in West Park Industrial Estate include CEVA Logistics, Schenker, Toll, Goodyear, Mitre 10 and Australia Post.
Peter Fox, Executive Chairman of Australian logistics giant Linfox, has applauded e-commerce company Amazon’s Australian entry strategy, branding its partnering with local logistics operators “really smart,” The Australian reports.
“I think [Amazon] have been really smart in terms of who they align with and who they compete with,” Fox told the newspaper.
He noted that Linfox has felt the arrival of Amazon, though it does not provide couriers services.
“Our volumes have picked up on the back of volume we do for Australia Post, because we are the intermodal provider at Australia Post,” he said, adding that he believes Amazon’s decision to set up a local presence was a good one. “Amazon have now got a much shorter supply chain to get deliveries,” he said. “Instead of being couriers in by an aircraft from America, they now have inventory in Australia and the consumer us getting delivery within 24 hours – before that, delivery would have taken three or four days.”
Fox also commented on Linfox’s recent senior appointments – the company announced earlier this week that Annette Carey would leave her position as Linfox Logistics CEO ANZ and take a place on the Board, as a non-executive director, succeeded by an internal hire, Mark Marurek.
“The best people inside our company are ones which we bring up from the rank and file and come up through management,” he said. “We just believe in training and educating our people.
“Unfortunately, some people leave and we end up training and educating the industry, but where we can hold on to the people and promote from within, that’s our favourite alternative in succession.”
Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure & Transport, is among a number of prominent individuals who will speak at the Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) national freight and supply chain event, ALC Forum 2018.
Following the successful 2017 event, which was held in the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in 2018, the Forum returns to Sydney’s Royal Randwick, taking place 6-8 March.
Other speakers for ALC Forum 2018 include:
• Brendan Bourke, CEO, Port of Melbourne;
• Chris Bresnahan, Operations Director – E-commerce Delivery, Australia Post;
• Royce Christie, General Manager – Government Relations, Toll Group;
• Paul Graham, Supply Chain – Chief Supply Chain Officer, Woolworths Group;
• Maurice James, Managing Director, Qube Holdings;
• Anthony Jones, CEO, LINX Cargo Care Group;
• Sal Petroccitto, CEO, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator;
• Melinda Pavey, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight (New South Wales);
• Paul Retter, CEO and Commissioner, National Transport Commission; and,
• Richard Sellers, Director General, Department of Transport (Western Australia).
The ALC said that ALC Forum 2018 will progress the issues put forward by ALC members in the final submission, focusing on the freight logistics industry’s priorities and expectations for the types of infrastructure investment and policy reform required to enhance national supply chain efficiency and safety.
Australia Post has revealed that it completed more than 37 million parcel deliveries during December 2017, the busiest month in the organisation’s 209-year history.
According to Bob Black, Chief Operations Officer and Executive General Manager – eCommerce Delivery at Australia Post, more than 2,000 extra staff helped the postal service handle the record volumes.
“We made more than 37 million parcel deliveries in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, that’s almost 20 per cent more deliveries per day compared to last year making 2017 our biggest festive season ever,” said Black.
“On average our drivers and posties made more than five deliveries per household across Australia, making it a huge team effort.”
In the final week before Christmas, Australia Post delivered more than 11 million parcels, and more than 100 million greeting cards and letters. Several days in the week before Christmas recorded increases of more than 30 per cent across Premium and Express services.
Black said Australians also embraced Australia Post’s range of delivery options, including weekend deliveries and extended trading hours, as well as parcel redirections, parcel pick-up directly from Australia Post facilities, and ‘safe drop’, whereby residents can nominate a safe place for parcels to be left at their property when they are not at home.
The unprecedented parcels volumes started in November, after the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Click Frenzy sales, and continued into the New Year.
“Retailers now offer great deals online during the Boxing Day and new year sales, which have always been popular with Australians,” said Black. “It’s very much all hands on deck still, we’re still seeing record volumes through our network due to some amazing sales.
Overall, online shopping purchases in Australia grew 15 per cent in 2017 compared with 2016, Australia Post shared.
Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (SPPAL) has installed six sorting machines at four mail sorting centres for Australia Post.
The Open Mail Handling Systems (OMSs) were installed in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, where they will be used to sort flats, plastic-wrapped magazines and small packages.
They assume the tasks performed for years by sorting machines previously supplied by Siemens.
“We needed to update our existing equipment to handle the large variety of mail coming through our sorting centres, so we selected Siemens’ OMS technology to maximise the volume of product that could be processed through automation,” said Jadd Brammall, Head of Processing, Australia Post.
“The equipment was delivered on time against a very aggressive schedule and our new OMSs have enabled us to significantly improve our efficiency and provide the best platform for meeting the future needs of the business.”
Michael Reichle, CEO, Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics, added: “The OMS is our answer to the demanding requirements our customers have to meet, as it’s capable of processing a broader range of mail types and formats than other sorting systems on the market.”
Five of the delivered OMSs are equipped with four input lines and 284 outlets for mail trays and can each sort up to 50,000 items per hour. The sixth OMS is fitted with two input lines and 148 outlets and can sort up to 25,000 items per hour. Barcode readers and printers are used in all six systems.
Australia Post will launch a four-week robot delivery pilot service in Brisbane on 13 November, the Courier Mail has reported.
In the first such Australian trial, residents in the suburb of New Farm will be able to register and opt to have parcels delivered by an autonomous robot to their door between 6pm and midnight.
For the trial, the robot will be accompanied by a human Australia Post chaperone and will carry one parcel at a time.
Upon arrival at the residence, a text message will be sent to the recipient of the parcel, to open the parcel locker they simply need to reply to the message.
“The small-scale trial will explore if there is customer demand to receive after hour deliveries via a mobile parcel locker,” said an Australia Post spokesman.
“It’s important we get this right and we will only continue exploring this technology where there is community support.”
Australia Post has achieved gender parity in pay, beating the national average of 16 per cent.
Improving from a difference of 1.4 per cent reported in 2016, Acting Managing Director and Group CEO Christine Corbett said this is the result of targeted programs addressing pay equity and nurturing talent.
“Australia Post is one of the largest employers in the country, so we are extremely pleased to report that we have reached an average zero per cent pay gap – which underlines our position as a leader when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
“Over the last seven and a half years we have focused on improving the representation of women across all levels of leadership and addressing unconscious bias. This culminated in October 2015 when we launched our landmark Gender Action Plan to focus and fast-track professional development.”
Since then, the company has focused on recognising and championing our female workers, and over 400 women participated in career development programs over the past 12 months.
With new Managing Director and Group CEO Christine Holgate joining Australia Post’s Board at the end of October, five of the nine directors will be female, including the Deputy Chair Holly Kramer.
Analysing the pay and roles of over 34,000 staff, Australia Post reported that from 30 June 2016 to 30 June 2017, women now account for:
37.5 per cent of all management staff, up from 36.4 per cent
17.7 per cent of all delivery managers, up from 14.4 per cent
53.6 per cent of all postal managers, up from 51 per cent
37.7 per cent of executives, up from 35.4 per cent
Shipster, a new membership program powered by Australia Post, will enable shoppers to have online orders delivered for free in metropolitan Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane until 1 January 2018.
With a $9.95 membership, users will receive free shipping when spending $25 and up at participating stores – including Myer, Target, Cotton On and Toys R Us – as well as free delivery of one Deliveroo order each month.
“We know our customers love to shop online and this Christmas we expect more gifts to be bought online than ever before,” said Christine Corbett, Acting Managing Director and Group CEO, Australia Post. “Shipster lets you shop with confidence knowing that there will be no surprises at the checkout.
“With online shopping growing from 11.5 per cent to 15 per cent in the last 12 months, we’re predicting the busiest year for online shopping we’ve ever seen at Australia Post.”
Brands participating in the trial include Babies R Us, Booktopia, Harvey Norman, Kogan, Lorna Jane, MAC and The Body Shop.
Following the introductory period, Shipster membership will cost $6.95 per month, and continue to allow customers to receive free delivery where shipping costs less than $20.
Through a new partnership with DHL eCommerce, a division of the international logistics company Deutsche Post DHL Group, courier service Sendle plans to offer international parcel delivery services for small businesses in Australia.
The move will mean small businesses will be able to offer door-to-door delivery, with Sendle managing domestic pickups in Australia and DHL eCommerce providing access to over 220 countries and territories in its global network.
“Delivery performance is a critical success factor for any e-commerce business and an extremely crucial part of the consumer’s shopping experience,” said Charles Brewer, CEO, DHL eCommerce. “Australian SMEs are winners in this partnership as we combine DHL’s global expertise and reach with Sendle’s deep knowledge of small businesses to create simple and affordable solutions for international parcel delivery.”
James Chin Moody, CEO and Co-ounder, Sendle added, “From day one, our mission has been to unlock the power of big business delivery infrastructure for millions of small businesses. Our agreement with DHL eCommerce, a true world leader in logistics, is a major step forward in levelling the playing field in Australia. By doing so, we aim to help more small businesses expand globally and thrive in the Amazon age.”
The partnership with DHL eCommerce comes as Sendle announces it has just passed one billion kilometres of carbon-neutral parcel delivery on behalf of tens of thousands of small businesses.
Deutsche Post DHL Group recently announced its goal to reduce all logistics-related emissions to net zero by the year 2050.
“With the partnership now signed, we expect Sendle’s international shipping service to be available to selected Sydney customers in time for Christmas deliveries and to rollout nationwide in 2018,” Chin Moody added. “Watch this space.”
Sendle is inviting small businesses to register to be part of a pilot program.