Mamba Mentors Finalists: Trucking in Africa
Last month, LSBF announced the five finalists of Mamba Mentors, an entrepreneurial initiative that aims to help self-starters to get their businesses off the ground. We invited Alabi David, one of the finalists, to write about his trucking company, Cloud Flyers.
After a record number of entries, five finalists have been shortlisted and will have their businesses considered for investment by a group of international investors. They will also get a free online course from LSBF’s online executive portfolio, offered in partnership with the e-learning platform InterActive Pro.
After having worked in the transportation industry performing various roles for over 7 years, Alabi David started ‘Cloud Flyers’. In this piece, Alabi outlines details about his commercial trucking company that aims to become a leading player in the industry whilst also helping aide the development of Nigeria.
Cloud Flyers Nigeria Limited is an indigenous trucking company with the vision to become a leading player and a role model in the transportation business servicing Nigeria while, at the same time, contributing our quota to the development and growth of our nation through building an efficient transportation system. We intend to deliver timely and hitch-free at a relatively competitive price to both producers and end-users towards the production and distribution of goods and other building materials to be used for construction of roads, buildings and sewage, to mention a few.
Cloud Flyers trucking was created to serve the basic needs of Nigerian society. As such, we not only offer excellent services expected from a transportation provider but also take a more proactive approach in helping our customer. We take our time to present ideas and creative solutions to them, believing that efficiency and innovation could help customers recognise more savings than just cheap rates.
We convene solid minerals like granites and sands from the quarry sites to construction sites and to private end users using 18-wheeler trailer trucks and the 10-wheeler Double-axel dump trucks.
Having spent over 7 years of my life in various facets of the transportation industry, from working as a mechanic technician to selling transportation to becoming a manager, I possess experience in almost every area of the business and my keys to success in this business have been:
1. Robust communication systems between drivers, bases, and clients.
2. Setting delivery schedules that can be met (i.e. setting the right expectations).
3. Hiring and retaining reliable, safe drivers.
4. Understanding what clients are trying to achieve and helping them find the right distribution solutions to create long-term relationships.
Having realized that the effectiveness of road transportation relies heavily on the type and condition of vehicles under use, road conditions, the drivers’ competence, attitudes of drivers to traffic engineering, control, management as well as policy guidelines that give directions to the entire transport system, we strive to ensure the above conditions are checked and met on the journey manual, before any trip is embarked on by any driver.
As a company, there are 2 main risks that we could face and, to fend off these threats, we are looking to build a more robust structure for the future:
1. Industry concentration risk: We focus on the construction industry. Thus, any slowdown in the industry would affect our outputs and income.
To mitigate this risk, company is looking at diversifying into other industries.
2. Operational risk: These are risks involved in transporting quarry products, though minimal, as goods are not perishables. Any damage to goods will undermine company’s profitability.
To mitigate this risk, the company maintains all necessary insurance.
The trucking industry provides essential service to the Nigerian economy by transporting large quantities of raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods over land, typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centres. Trucks are also important to the construction industry, as dump trucks and portable cement mixer are necessary to move the large amounts of rocks, dirt, concrete, and other building materials used for construction.
Alabi David is one of the finalists of Mamba Mentors 2013.