Global Key Account Management, or centralising the negotiations, tariffs and other key business aspects for important customers, is an approach that many organisations implement. However, it takes tremendous strategic effort to ensure that the arrangement continues to be a mutually fruitful one.
Global Key Account Management is a strategic approach that helps sustain and expand relationships with prioritised Global Accounts. Key account managers of logistics services providers work closely with multiple business departments to maintain and develop Global Accounts. A broad portfolio of business management skills to deal with interdependent or integrated customer relationships is a must-have for managers of Global Accounts. Global Key Account Management is all about strategic and long-term thinking that goes beyond numbers.
Relationship is the key
Success in Global Key Account Management is usually the outcome of long-standing business relationships characterised by trust, constant communication, and a thorough understanding of the customers’ business.
Enlisting and managing a Global Account requires a detailed research and analysis of the customer’s operations across regions, challenges they face and their supply chain requirements, followed by an informed, result-driven strategy and customised business solutions.
And this is what a logistics service provider like ECU Worldwide truly excels at, owing to its decades of rich experience in the industry and global leadership position in LCL consolidation which enable it to work with a number of Global Accounts, meeting their requirements across continents and countries.
Banking on a global network
Since Global Accounts operate in multiple countries, naturally, one of their main criteria while choosing a logistics service provider is the capabilities to offer seamless services across the globe.
With a network that operates through more than 300 offices in over 160 countries, ECU Worldwide almost covers the entire world. Offering services over more than 2400 direct trade lanes for LCL, it offers a significant competitive advantage to its Global Accounts. Adding to its strengths are teams of professionals experienced in their areas of expertise and well-equipped to offer sound local advisory and guidance. They support the Global Key Account Management team to take the right decisions and offer seamless services to the Global Accounts.
As a wholly-owned global subsidiary of Allcargo Logistics, India’s biggest integrated logistics services provider, ECU Worldwide’s Global Accounts can explore a range of diverse logistics services that can be customised based on the regions they’re operating in and the specific requirements in that location. Working with a single logistics partner can help Global Accounts streamline their operations and benefit from the reliability and peace of mind that partnering with an industry leader brings forth.
What the Global Accounts really count on is the uniformity and consistency of services they can expect for any service, anytime, anywhere.
Teaming-up for business success
Constant communication with the customers at a global, regional and country-specific level is the key to managing Global Accounts effectively. Not only does it help to identify and amend gaps quicker, but also helps the service provider to proactively offer services and solutions that the customer would benefit from.
“Our aim is to build long-term engagements with our Global Accounts through multiple offerings and customised solutions backed by a deep understanding of their domain, situations, and challenges. It is their marketplace, their strategies, their needs and their business that we concentrate on rather than our own. Our success is a result of constantly seeing how we can add value to our customers’ business”, says Sachin Vijan, Vice President – Business Development (India) and Global Key Account Manager (Indian Subcontinent).
At ECU Worldwide periodic reviews with Global Accounts are held on an annual, half-yearly and even quarterly basis when required. Especially in the current challenging circumstances where the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on global trade and cargo shipments, the Global Key Account Management team members are in touch with their customers to offer quick, efficient logistics solutions. Global Account managers interact with multiple individuals in various locations to record pertinent facts and information that help generate win-win long-term relationships.
“We see Global Key Account Management as not just another operational process in the organisation but an opportunity to align with our Global Accounts and help them do business better. Even our internal structure is based on the set up of our customers. We have a global Key Account Manager for each Global Account and regional Key Account Managers based in continents where the Global Account also has their regional decision-makers. A specialized team operating out of Mumbai and Singapore helps handle RFQs (tenders). So essentially, we function like an extended set-up that our Global Accounts can always fall back on”, says Marc Stoffelen, Executive Director & Global Head – KAM, ECU Worldwide.
Effectively managing the nitty-gritties
While Global Accounts often demand the highest levels of services and competitive pricing, they also ensure a certain level of assured business. So for a global service provider like ECU Worldwide, what matters most is to strike the right balance. One of the effective ways to handle this is by analysing numbers and contribution of a Global Account with a holistic perspective, rather than focusing on individual locations.
“We serve Global Accounts in all our key regions, with their geographic distribution following our overall business trend. We don’t follow a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. We strategise, analyse and customise offerings for each of our key customers, always ready to go the extra mile”, says Tim Tudor, CEO, ECU Worldwide.
Many times, in an evolving business landscape, organisations may venture into forward integration or backward integration of their respective businesses. While ECU Worldwide too, has always prided itself on exploring into diverse logistics services and products, it has consciously maintained a stance of neutrality when it comes to the businesses its Global Accounts operate in. This is one of the hallmarks of ECU Worldwide’s Global Key Account Management and fosters mutual understanding and collaboration with Global Accounts.
Most global businesses have very stringent requirements that their service providers need to meet. Considering that ECU Worldwide itself is a leading global player, it already matches up to world-class security and service standards. A thorough due diligence and attitude to constantly improve performance holds the organisation in good stead while navigating success with Global Accounts.
Always pushing the boundaries of excellence
While some may perceive the ever-increasing demands of Global Accounts as daunting challenges, ECU Worldwide has always seen them as opportunities to excel and do better.
The continuous process analysis, reassessment and change that forms part of managing a Global Account, helps improve utilisation of sales resources and enhance understanding of the finer nuances of managing account management.
Developing specific processes to build and manage Global Accounts helps us increase the quantum of our business and serve them better while still minimising the price erosion.
Often, a new trade lane started specifically for a Global Account that offered assured volumes for it, has worked out to be a successful offering to other mid and small-sized customers in that location too.
With a number of Global Accounts now looking at door-to-door deliveries as opposed to port-to-port or Container Freight Station (CFS)-to-CFS, ECU Worldwide has stepped up and offers door-to-door deliveries in more than 40 countries.
Consistently understanding customers’ needs and future strategies to be able to offer just the right solutions, requires constant nurturing, specialised skills and utmost attention while serving Global Accounts – capabilities that ECU Worldwide has successfully developed owing to the diverse Global Accounts it works with.
With leading businesses moving to digitalization at break-neck speeds, ECU Worldwide has also stepped up to digitally-enable its operations and offer Global Accounts and other customers options like conducting business online with ECU360, direct EDI connections, use of portals like INTTRA, Tradeshift, etc. In addition, a ‘white label’ tool has been developed especially for Global Accounts. This enables them to leverage ECU Worldwide’s system, but it’s personalised for them.
ECU360, launched in some countries, is a state-of-the-art platform that allows Global Accounts and customers to ship with a click. Its features like instant quotes, quick bookings, etc. make it ideal for Global Accounts to ensure business continuity, especially in these challenging times.
Effective Global Key Account Management helps re-engineer operations to optimise resourse utilisation, makes pricing and negotiations transparent, reduces inefficiencies and redundant efforts, and leads to collaborative partnerships.