INXPRESS: First class service, world class shipping, and a smart investment
InXpress welcomes new Asia Pacific CEO
Marcel Lal joined InXpress in January 2018 as the General Manager for Australia and New Zealand, with a background of more than 20 years in management and marketing. After just over a year in the GM role, he rose to the position of Asia Pacific CEO in April 2019.
‘It’s only a recent change, but I’m enjoying the transition,’ says Mr Lal. ‘I feel humbled to be moving into the Asia Pacific lead role. While there are six country operations to evolve and grow in this region, I will still be heavily involved with Australia as our third largest operation globally.
‘We’ve brought on an experienced leader from the logistics industry as our GM for Australia and New Zealand in James Buck, and James and I are already working closely together.’
This new development for the Asia Pacific region comes as the previous CEO Lindsay Birley was appointed as the InXpress global Chief Strategy Officer, and the shipping and logistics company goes from strength to strength.
InXpress is celebrating its 20th year anniversary this year. Since its humble beginnings in the UK in 1999, InXpress has grown and expanded into the US and other countries around the world. Australia is now in its 10th year, with consistent year-on-year growth, and is one of 14 countries in the InXpress global operation.
Specialised support for businesses
InXpress franchisees are freight consultants who tailor solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). As a customer-focused B2B business, InXpress has global partnerships and strong local relationships with key carriers such as DHL, TNT/FedEx, UPS and StarTrack. The company’s global buying strength and personalised service means that business customers receive competitive rates through an automated online platform, with prompt support from a local consultant.
Taking the stress out of shipping
InXpress offers its customers peace of mind when it comes to managing all their shipping and delivery needs. ‘We’re essentially providing SMEs with an ease of doing business,’ Mr Lal explains. ‘We save thousands of Australian businesses time and money so they can focus on doing what they do best, without having to worry about their freight requirements.’
A true franchising partnership
InXpress has over 300 franchises worldwide, and over 50 franchises currently operating in Australia. It’s an appealing choice for franchisees. ‘The low cost of entry and minimal ongoing overheads are certainly a big part of the initial appeal of the InXpress franchise model,’ says Mr Lal. ‘But when you dig a little deeper and look at our 20-year record of consistent growth, and that management fees are taken from margin and not revenue, many people see that the franchisor–franchisee relationship is a true partnership, as both parties have a common focus on maximising margins.’
Celebrating franchisee success
Mr Lal can attest to a good relationship at InXpress between the company and its franchisees. ‘I feel that the overall relationship is fairly strong, and the open communication and year-on-year growth from the majority of our franchisees demonstrates this,’ he says. ‘However, we acknowledge and invite constructive criticism, as we can always improve and evolve.’
Last year InXpress celebrated its first ever Australian franchisee to achieve $1 million in margin profits. ‘This is indicative of their focused approach and testament to our proven franchise model,’ says Mr Lal. ‘Others who follow this approach are also experiencing strong annual growth, not just in revenue but more importantly in margin and profitability.’
Advanced online bookings
What’s next for InXpress? The global company continues to grow, completing the implementation of a new online booking platform that will enable new products and services to be automated for business customers. ‘It’s an exciting step to support our future growth,’ says Mr Lal.
Transparency at the heart of successful growth
InXpress, like all franchised businesses, is not immune to the challenges faced by the franchising industry in Australia. ‘Certainly there has been an unfair perception of Australian franchising recently, where a very small number of bad practices has impacted the overwhelmingly excellent work done by the large majority of franchisors,’ Mr Lal concedes. ‘It can be hard when that 99% of good work is overshadowed.’
This perception can have an impact on initial franchise enquiries, but Mr Lal is confident that recruitment at InXpress remains strong. ‘At InXpress we feel very comfortable with our extensive franchise recruitment process,’ he says.
The company’s policy of open communication and transparency has served them well, on both sides of the franchisor–franchisee relationship: ‘It is not only beneficial to prospective franchisees, but also to us, to provide full disclosure and the opportunity for them to assess our franchise system in detail.’
Key advice for prospective franchisees
With his extensive business management experience, what advice does Marcel Lal have for people who are thinking of buying a franchise? ‘Don’t be afraid to take the step, but do your research thoroughly,’ he says. ‘You must be prepared to put in the hard work and stick to the franchise model of operating.’
Becoming a franchisee can be a way to ensure that you are supported to start your own business. ‘Franchising is proven to offer a better chance of success than going out on your own,’ says Mr Lal. ‘A good franchise system will give you all the support, training and motivation you need to be successful.’
Local and regional opportunities now available
InXpress is looking for new franchisees in Australia, New Zealand and across the Asia Pacific region. A positive approach and strong activity levels are essential, and sales or commercial expertise is also beneficial. InXpress offers comprehensive initial training, ongoing support and development from a dedicated business coach to help their franchisees succeed.
‘We have franchisees from a wide variety of backgrounds, but what they have in common is a willingness to learn and to follow a system which has been proven over two decades,’ Mr Lal says. ‘Our team would love to hear from interested individuals who are considering making that next step.’