Speaking in the latest report from in-market consultancy firm Aquarii on investment opportunities in distribution and logistics in Cambodia, Dalton Wong Chairman & Founder of multi-award-winning company Speedwind Distributions said while the sector has come a long way in Cambodia, continued investment is needed to ensure operational efficiency that meets international standards.
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AQ: How has the distribution sector grown in Cambodia over the last 10 years?
Dalton Wong: Over the past 10 years, we had seen the distribution sector evolve from a purely traditional pickup-and-drop system to that a very structured system involving many players in the market. In the past, because of a lack of exposure, talent, and availability of technology in the market, the availability of reliable delivery and distribution services in the Kingdom was very limited. As a result, the service standards were very low and the costs of distribution were relatively high, leading to all-around inefficiency.
However, throughout the years, many companies have taken steps to change this through investment and perseverance. At Speedwind, we began by inventing and investing in the technology the sector needed to reduce inefficiency and bring down the cost of delivering our services.
We also brought in foreign talent and trained our local talent to optimize our operational capacity and with that pioneered the proper implementation of best practices in HR. As a result, we began to see standards in the supply chain get a lot better and today the sector is getting very close to what developed country consumers enjoy abroad.
AQ: As the founder of Speedwind Distributions, what led you to set up the company in 2018?
Dalton Wong: We were involved in the distribution business for many years under different names prior to Speedwind. SpeedWind was created to consolidate all of the knowledge we had learned and standardize high-efficiency processes across a nationwide distribution company and network capable of delivering inbound or outbound distribution competitively.”
Read more: Cambodia’s e-commerce platforms need to integrate with digital logistics infrastructure
Today, we have a network of business hubs across Cambodia that help companies and individuals run their businesses remotely without being tied down by a physical location or investing in physical resources. Our 43 branches, located country-wide, serve as a contact point, helping provide customer service and general support to customers and consumers on behalf of their businesses.
AQ: How has Speedwind Distributions adapted since it has established, especially during the pandemic and now in the post-COVID era?
Dalton Wong: SpeedWind was very lucky to have strong and effective rules and recommendatons implemented successfully by the Government of The Kingdom of Cambodia. These were taken on board by our management team, who have been very flexible in handling our operations during the pandemic and rising to the challenge of keeping business running smoothly.
We are very proud of this, and it is a testament to our continuing commitment to investing in our staff. We also continued to invest in the technology that would allow us to continue to deliver reliable services during the pandemic, as well as resume full operational capacity as soon as the virus restrictions were lifted. COVID was definitely a learning curve for us and we have come out of the pandemic more resilient and ready for the next challenge.
AQ: What are the key challenges in Cambodia for the distribution sector, and what opportunities can be capitalized upon if they are overcome?
Dalton Wong: Distributions are part of supply chain management, which is essentially the flow of supplies from a starting point to the destination. A successful distribution company is able to distribute from a start point to a destination in the fastest and most cost-efficient way. This was made difficult as in the past there was a constant factor of uncertainties, such as unreliable payment methods, lack of suitable transportation, inaccurate delivery addresses, and the security of the cargo whilst on route.
Read more: Cambodia’s logistics and industrial experts explain key opportunities and challenges facing the sector in 2022
Cambodia’s Government has been instrumental in helping improve the above challenges, such as by ensuring the availability of internet in all the provinces and introducing new roads and highways that connect major destinations and trade routes directly.
The government, as well as the fast-moving banking system, have also helped by investing in technology and delivering services that allow payments and refunds to be made across provinces with just the push of a button. Now, together with investment from companies in their own operations, distribution services are offering better value and faster services than ever in the Kingdom.
The next major challenge will be merging more with e-commerce platforms, who should always consider the e-logistics and e-payment solutions required. While Cambodia is still in the process of developing its logistics sector, especially for the country’s rural areas and last-mile delivery service, online stores also need to ensure their digital payment services are properly integrated into the overall ecosystem
AQ: Finally, we would like to say congratulations on a very successful 2022, which saw Speedwind take home 3 awards, including the 2022 ASEAN Business Excellence Award, Asia Responsible Enterprise Award, and HR Asia: Best Company to Work for In Asia. How important is it for distribution companies to be responsible and care for their employees both now and in the future?
Dalton Wong: Thank you. I would like to emphasize that these awards are thanks to the excellent work of our management team and HR department who are doing their best to implement good policies for the company and its staff.”
Read more: Speedwind wins Asia Responsible Enterprise Award for its ‘Giving with Heart’ CSR Initiative
“While things may continue to change, such as with the internet and COVID-19 introducing new ways of working, people and technology are at the core of distribution company success and we recognize the need to invest in these as key to our success.
A successful distribution company means all the employees work in cohesive manner, doing the correct thing at the right time with the right system, as we are proud to keep pioneering our working methods to stay ahead.