OCS LEADING THE GROWTH RALLY IN EXPRESS AND LOGISTIC SERVICES
Interview: Fiza Chaudhry, Executive Director OCS Pakistan
Feb 12 - 18, 2007
The Overseas Courier Services (OCS) was established in 1957 by a consortium of prominent newspaper publishers in Tokyo, Japan, as a global overnight delivery system for time-sensitive business publications. Subsequently over the years, it expanded and strengthened its network through alliances with local and international operators in foreign markets in over 90 countries.
In 1986 OCS Japan allied with a Pakistani conglomerate - the "Worldwide Group" - and OCS Pakistan delivered its first six letters when the Pakistani courier industry was virtually non-existent. One of the pioneers in the field, OCS Pakistan is one of leading express and logistics solution providers in the country today, delivering up to 100,000 packets/day, and boasting a regular client base exceeding 10,000 corporations/companies. It spans all sectors -private and public: Automobile, Banking, Insurance, Gas, Health, Education, Telecom, Textile, NGOs, etc.
Regarded as a "One Stop" service by most of its clients, OCS provides domestic and international solutions in express, mail management, cargo, logistics, travel/tours, and gift delivery. We had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Fiza Chaudhry, Executive Director OCS Pakistan Pvt. Ltd about some of the services and importance of IT and connectivity in the industry.
PAGE: Would you like to tell us about OCS infrastructure and facilities that induce a sense of confidence among your consumers regarding the services provided by OCS?
Fiza: OCS Pakistan has three major hubs across the country, Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, besides 12 mini-hubs in the three major cities. We also have hubs in Hyderabad, Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Nowshera and Sukkur.
Our regular and special/on request delivery areas span over 1,300 locations in Pakistan, and we have over 250 express centers catering to our customers' needs.
Our infrastructure in Pakistan comprises 3,300 employees (of whom about 1200 are couriers), supported with 1000 bikes, 100 Shehzores, and 20 state-of-the-art fleet of trucks. A very sound IT infrastructure bolsters the back-end to ensure quality service with transparency. And of course last but not the least, a round the clock Customer Satisfaction Center (UAN 111-202-202).
Internationally OCS Pakistan is linked to OCS Global which has direct presence in over 90 countries with over 240 offices worldwide, and four major hubs in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Dubai, and London.
PAGE: What are the most important services that OCS offers?
Fiza: You name it- we have it. I'll mention a few briefly.
A) DOMESTIC SERVICE
* Same day, overnight, second day, holiday/Sunday, and specific time-bound deliveries.
* Smart Box: 1 kg, 2kg, 5 kg, 10kg, and 25 kg boxes are available for any of the above express services. Designed specially for the cost conscious consumers, they utilize space very efficiently.
* Smart Cargo - second day solution.
* Special Handling Service (also called Hand Carry) is offered for laptops, mobiles, gift items, etc. This service is available at Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Faisalabad, Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar.
II) MAIL MANAGEMENT
BANKS: All major banks including Citi Bank, Standard Chartered and Bank Al-falah are our major clients. OCS has played a vital role in collecting utility bills from banks located in very distant rural areas for delivery in Karachi on overnight basis. For Citi Bank alone we have extended our network to 202 delivery areas in Sindh.
TELECOM: delivering mobile bills to distant parts of the country and providing the clients with IT based solutions.
CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE/STOCK EXCHANGE /TRADE/INDUSTRY:
Delivering letters of credits, bills of lading, annual financial reports to share holders, share certificates, right shares, etc. are one of the major areas of OCS operations.
POWER & ENERGY: Collecting utility bills of KESC, SNGPL, SSGC.
UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES/SCHOOLS: Delivering admit cards, marks-sheets, admission papers .etc.
GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: Delivering job application forms through Drop Box Facility provided at more then 200 OCS outlets.
III) CARGO: Commonly known as "Road & Rail" for the heavier shipments which don't require an express facility - Door to Door delivery.
i. Express services: Documents and Non-documents.
ii. Import services: Convenience of documentation clearance, and transport for imports.
iii. Export services: Cost effective shipment of goods anywhere in the world.
iv. Worldwide gift delivery: Delivering gifts worldwide.
v. Cargo services: Heavy shipment movement all around the world at doorstep.
vi. Third party pickups: Transfer of shipment from one country to other.
vii. Worldwide pickups: Picking up shipment from anywhere in the world and delivering at the desired doorstep.
viii. Warehousing: Global storage facilities.
ix. Attestation: Attestation fulfillment from any institute, government or other body in the world.
C) EXPRESSIONS- GIFT DELIVERY
"Expressions" is a gift delivery service by OCS, serving in over 20 cities across Pakistan.
We have an extensive range of gift offerings that have been sourced from the best vendors in town (flowers, cakes, stuffed toys, perfumes, chocolates and sweets), and customized seasonal packages designed for specific occasions like, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Friendship Day, etc.
The newly introduced range has been designed according to the needs and demands of the consumers. It's a more localized concept and will be more specific to region.
D) TRAVEL & TOURS
OCS Travel & Tour service specializes in corporate and leisure travel. Our core focus is to provide travelers with complete travel solution, both domestic and international. We concentrate on the following specialized areas:
I. CONFERENCE MANAGEMENT
* Venue Selection
* Personal Conference Manager
* On Site Conference Management
* Budgeting Accommodation
* Travel Arrangements
II. BUSINESS/LEISURE TOUR MANAGEMENT (DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL)
* Travel advice
* Destination representatives - guidance, coordination.
* Itinerary planning (business & leisure)
* Sightseeing arrangements
* Priority check-in.
PAGE: You know IT is the name of the game these days, how OCS applying this cutting-edge technology for the benefit of the customers as well as for your organization?
Fiza: With a sense of great confidence on her face she observed: "OCS Pakistan is fully computerized and is connected through a LAN (local area network) to all countrywide location. Through database and a fully automated real time data transfer network, we are capable of handling the most critical of business processes. We use real-time Data Replication - Barcode Based Tracking, Web-Tracking - all on a secured network.
Currently OCS handles about 250,000 transactions per day, and is capable of handling about 2 million transactions per day without any change in the software and network connectivity. This means that the technological backend of the company is extremely strong. This is a basic need of today's local and global market. Its simple, in order to remain competitive today, the name of the game is technology and OCS has it.
PAGE: You speak of real-time data transfer- how would it give you an edge in the domestic market?
Fiza: The best product I can offer to my consumers is fantastic service and that involves two major things in this industry- 1) on time solutions and quick response time. As I said earlier, OCS is fully geared for the future. We're zooming in to complete automation and integration, which in layman terms means that if a consumer books a packet from Karachi to let's say Multan, the information entered will be in our systems all over the country in minutes. I'm talking about a "real-time" solution. A web based tracking solution on www.ocs.com.pk is already available to the customers and after our upgrades are complete in less than a month the information will be available to the sender and the recipient at any time after the point of contact between OCS and the customer. If our customer does not have access to a computer, they can simply call in on 111-202-202. At this, one can interject and add that "this type of solution is available already.
PAGE: Can we track our packets on the web
Fiza: Yes, this is correct.
PAGE: But after how long?
Fiza: Currently within Pakistan (in the domestic courier and logistics industry) data is available to clients after a day (which involves uploading on a main system via CD ROM and then transferring).
In collaboration with our software consultants, before the end of February this year what OCS is talking about is real time tracking across entire Pakistan and the globe. When you have a solution like this, you have an excellent replication scenario. And that's what we have. I think most of my technologically literate readers will be able to relate better. All in all, this translates into a quicker, cost effective and more reliable service for our consumers.
PAGE: Corporate customers obviously generate more business as compared to individuals, hence they deserve highly professionalized services, how OCS deals the bigger customer?
Fiza: "We give customized business solutions as per their business requirement. We have currently installed and implemented a number of customized automated business solutions at the client premises. This is especially with respect to tracking and reporting. For example, banks can track their credit card delivery by entering the credit card number in the OCS system we have provided to them. Also, we give our clients customized delivery status reports.
On the basis of real time data replication, our corporate clients will be able to monitor their booking status as per their different locations within a couple of minutes after the booking time. The status of booked shipments can be tracked from their end at every step, at any time, till delivery.
PAGE: What is the major strength of your workforce?
Fiza: From my couriers to my strategic team- they share one trait-experience. Years of experience in this industry has made them true experts in the courier and logistics fields. They are a very technically and operationally sound team. Pakistan has a very different environment than most other countries and especially in the logistics and courier industry, you don't necessarily need an MBA or PHD to excel, you just need good solid experience- technologically, operationally and financially. That coupled with constant innovation, HRD and training for the upcoming and existing workforce makes a very strong team.
PAGE: OCS has positioned itself as a leader in the market, would you like to share the success story with our readers?
Fiza: It's not rocket science, and it's no secret. Consistency, focus and discipline. Understand the business process, understand the core of the business and then make decisions. Informed decision making is critical and that involves knowledge of the local and global environment one is operating in. Act local, think global and always be prepared for what's coming next. Above all- the team makes it happen. It's important for any leader, administrator, head of state/company to inculcate the above values in him/her and the team, and focus on collective decision making. The "Saith" (kingdom of my castle) mentality no more works in the present circumstances.
PAGE: Would you like to outline the future strategy and the mission of OCS
Fiza: Handhelds through GPRS technology (across the board), RFID for Fleet Management, Warehousing in every city- there is no limit. What does this mean for our clients: Increased reliability and greater cost efficiency. At the risk of sounding like an ad- your one-stop solution - OCS is fully automated and fully integrated across Pakistan and the globe to serve you better than ever.