Australia International Logistics
"When thinking about value add for my customer base, which is where I see growth, I include digital opportunities."Melissa Anderson
Small business stories
A dark blue screen with the Australian Government logo at the top.
Text in white: Small Business Digital Taskforce. Australia International Logistics Pty Ltd.
My name is Melissa Anderson, from AIL, Australia International Logistics, based and owned in Toowoomba.
White text against pale blue background: Melissa Anderson. Managing Director. Australia International Logistics Pty Ltd.
Melissa stands in front of an exposed brick wall and addresses a room. She has short, wavy hair and wears a white top.
I have been in the freight-forwarding and customs-clearance industry for approximately 30 years, and I'd worked with a lot of companies within the industry, and I thought it was about time. I now had the experience and the knowledge that I could share with the local community, and with importers and exporters throughout the region.
I came up with the idea of my business fairly quickly, and I had all the contacts. Being in the industry for so long, I have contacts both within Australia and overseas. My customers that I'm working with currently are from around Toowoomba, and also in the outlying areas of Dalby, Chinchilla, through to Roma.
The digital technology that I'm currently using is... I've got my website currently being developed, so I'll have a fully-fledged website. I've set up my Facebook page and have that running. I have a LinkedIn page as well, and keep that running.
My operating platform that I use is an industry major platform, and most freight-forwarders do use that. The operating platform, I've got to use. I have no choice. That is also linked into Australian Customs and to the Taxation Office. I can also do all of the operational functions, as well as hold all my accounting information and business information in that one platform, so it's quite seamless.
Before I started using Facebook or LinkedIn, or setting up the website, it was quite a...it was a little bit of a daunting process. Not that I had never used them before - I have, I have used them for years - but when you're put in that position, as a new business owner, and as a business owner, you then have to understand how to use them. You then have to understand how to set them up, and the different requirements.
I do see some of the constraints as from a technology aspect as well, and through... You know, like, I put on the NBN at home, and I haven't got the NBN speed. So that affects my business, because I do all of my work through using the internet, remote services, jumping online with Australian Customs, you know, doing certain requirements with them. So if I don't have the connectivity, I can't clear the goods.
The benefits I've seen through using Facebook and LinkedIn is that there's been a more... It's reached a lot of different people. And what I've found is that it hasn't only reached people in my network, it's reached people beyond my network.
And it just opens up for us, and it's cost-competitive. Because you don't really have to pay anything, right? Unless you want to promote your page on Facebook. That's when you get small fees. But the fees that you can select are quite cost-effective.
If there was anything that I could give another small business, in regards to advice or just a few pointers, a few tips, I would definitely say don't be fearful of it, don't panic yourself. Write your story. Write what you do, how well you do it, what other services you provide. That's your basis of your website, and that's the basis of your story. So then, that story goes onto Facebook, and it's easy to set up a page. I set my page up probably within about 15 minutes.
You can't transact in business if you don't have some of these things. In my business, I will always look for ways to find out what the next area of digital technology that's gonna come in. Because, especially in our industry, we need to value-add, right?
Anyone can move a container from point A to point B, right? So that's very easy. However, it's the value-add services, and how you can streamline it to your clients, that takes precedence. So I'm always looking for what I can do next.
I want to continue growing my business, most definitely. I think a lot of people do, when they get into business. That's the aim, is to go, “OK, this is step one, that's step two, that’s step three.” So I definitely know, with the platforms I've got and with my operating platform, I can extend my growth within the business without a problem.
A pink screen. Text in white: Small Business Digital Taskforce. Join the conversation. #smalldigbiz.