By Aneel Gambhir, CFO, DTDC Express Ltd
In the dynamic landscape of today’s business world, adaptation is key. The role of finance departments, once limited to accounting, is now undergoing a significant evolution. Finance professionals have become the custodians of business health, wielding substantial influence over revenue generation and maintaining a robust bottom line.
This profound transformation has mandated a new playbook for finance leaders, one heavily reliant on technology – the bedrock of an efficient finance function. Amidst the rapid evolution of financial technology, it is essential for finance functions to not only comprehend but also fully embrace technology’s potential in steering their organisations toward the future.
At DTDC Express Logistics, we’ve wholeheartedly embraced technological innovation, fundamentally reshaping our finance function. This transformation has catalysed operational efficiency, elevated customer experiences, and significantly contributed to our company’s overall growth trajectory.
Let’s delve deeper into how we’ve harnessed technology to redefine our financial landscape:
Seamless digital customer onboarding: Redefining initial interactions: DTDC Express Logistics acknowledges the importance of first impressions. Through the implementation of digital contracting, we have reimagined customer onboarding. This overhaul has expedited the onboarding process while simultaneously boosting customer satisfaction by eliminating cumbersome paperwork. Our customers now enjoy seamless interaction, as the entire contracting process is now accessible through digital platforms.
Enhanced communication via digital follow-up systems: In a competitive business environment, proactive engagement is paramount. To address this, we’ve established a robust digital follow-up system that facilitates ongoing communication with our customers. Automated reminders, personalised notifications, and timely updates ensure that customers remain informed about their outstanding balances. This initiative has notably improved our net receivables and Days Sales Outstanding (DSO).
Enhancing vendor collaboration and efficiency via digital paperless processes: Effective vendor partnerships are a cornerstone of seamless operations. At DTDC Express Logistics, our cutting-edge vendor portal streamlines bill submissions and approvals by embracing a paperless approach. This transformative shift not only reduces administrative burdens but also cultivates stronger supplier relationships, fostering enhanced collaborations.
Furthermore, our digital vendor portal extends its capabilities to automate KYC document submissions, simplifying the onboarding process. Within this framework, vendors conveniently upload digital invoice copies. These invoices then navigate through an organised approval process, ultimately finding secure recording within our ERP system.
Looking ahead, DTDC envisions a future where soft copies of invoices are transmitted directly to their intended destinations, rendering physical documents obsolete. Upon acknowledgment by recipients, transactions seamlessly reflect within the ERP system.
The same commitment resonates in our air cargo operations.
Presently, consignment notes are physically attached to bills for verification. However, our vision propels us to collaborate with cargo partners, urging electronic access for streamlined file inspection. This strategic transition is poised to eliminate the need for traditional consignment notes, ushering in an era of digital efficiency.
Optimising financial ecosystem via digital payments and ERP integration: Our commitment to modernisation extends to vendor payments. Through host-to-host connectivity, we’ve enabled direct digital payments into vendor accounts, automatically updating our ERP system. This automation has effectively minimised errors, bolstered transparency, and optimised cash flow management.
DTDC Express Logistics is also at the forefront of embracing mobile payments. Our clients now have the option to settle shipping charges through a range of mobile payment methods, including UPI, net banking, debit cards, and credit cards. This multiplicity empowers customers to opt for the most convenient payment mode, enriching the overall experience.
Informed decision-making with data analytics on operating costs: Data analytics has emerged as the foundation of our cost management strategies. By dissecting operating costs, we’ve pinpointed inefficiencies, optimised resource allocation, and gained invaluable insights to inform our decision-making processes. Harnessing data-driven insights has enabled us to accomplish more with fewer resources, amplifying asset utilisation.
Digital meetings: Revolutionising communication: In the digital era, even meetings have undergone a paradigm shift. By embracing digital meeting platforms, we’ve slashed time and costs associated with physical gatherings. Board meetings, management reviews, and critical discussions now transpire seamlessly, fostering collaboration and informed decision-making.
Enhanced efficiency through RPA and AI: Our voyage toward technological transformation within DTDC Express Logistics’ finance function has been a captivating and rewarding journey. These initiatives haven’t merely optimised our operations; they’ve also positioned us as trailblazers in embracing digital innovation within our industry. As our evolution persists, technology will remain a central force propelling us toward heightened efficiency, customer satisfaction, and sustained growth.
The digital conversion journey: The path to digitisation offers a multitude of advantages that eclipse traditional methodologies, encompassing heightened safety, accelerated speed, and unparalleled convenience. Beyond these benefits, digitised processes inherently boast precision superior to their manual counterparts. This profound transformation promises to redefine the financial sector, ushering in a new era of efficiency and effectiveness.
The advantages of digitisation are evident in our streamlined operations, where the transition from manual processes to digital systems has significantly elevated our efficiency. By integrating cutting-edge technologies such as handheld scanners, we have transformed how we interact with customers and collaborate with vendors.
Leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a cornerstone in the digital transformation of the finance sector. AI-equipped systems empower financial service providers to detect patterns and proactively implement measures to mitigate unfavourable circumstances. Machine learning, for instance, can identify anomalies like money laundering and credit card fraud, fortifying the security landscape. AI augments our route planning, leveraging historical data to ascertain optimal delivery times. This process integrates factors like traffic conditions to craft the most efficient delivery routes. The outcome: a reduction in delivery failures and heightened customer satisfaction and better cost efficiency.
Unlocking efficiency through cloud services: Cloud services are a linchpin of the financial industry’s digital transformation. A growing number of financial service providers are migrating operations and processes to the cloud, driven by the scalability and cost-effectiveness it affords.
Recognising the transformative potential of cloud services, DTDC has embraced this technological marvel as a means to evolve its operations. With cloud services, we have transcended the constraints of traditional data storage and management. By storing our data and applications in the cloud, we’ve effectively unburdened ourselves from the necessity of maintaining the capex of dedicated data centers and IT infrastructure. This strategic transition not only translates into substantial cost savings but also capabilities to scale as per requirements.
Embracing the mobile banking trend: The shift from traditional banking to mobile banking has gained momentum in recent years. This evolution is fueled by the ubiquity of smartphones and the integration of new technologies by financial institutions. Mobile banking offers unparalleled convenience, enabling customers to access their accounts and conduct transactions anywhere, at any time. Moreover, security enhancements, such as biometric authentication and data encryption, make mobile banking a secure choice.
Elevating finance through fintech solutions: Fintech companies are instrumental in driving the digitalisation of financial services. These entities provide diverse digital solutions, from budgeting tools to customer service chatbots. With financial institutions increasingly embracing Fintech solutions, these companies play a pivotal role in shaping the future of finance. DTDC Express Logistics leverages Fintech solutions to enhance both customer experiences and financial operations, reflecting our commitment to modernisation and growth.