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Publication: Fortune
Spokesperson: Aras Kargo General Manager Utku Ayyarkin

1. What would you like to share about Aras Kargo's corporate history and current position?

The origins of Aras Kargo can be traced back to the distribution company established in 1979 by our late founder, Celal Aras. By establishing Aras Kargo, Mr. Celal ventured into the shipping sector by reciprocating the trade he had started unilaterally with his visionary foresight. Taking a very important place in the development of the shipping sector in Turkey, Aras Kargo is a delivery company that has made and continues to reap many achievements since its establishment. Currently, we have a total of 28 transfer centres, more than 1,000 branches, 14,000 employees and a fleet of over 4,500 vehicles. With our 24/7 operating system, we knock on over 1 million doors every day. Over the past few years, we have focused on efficiency and concentrated on the technological investments necessary to achieve this. In this regard, we have invested almost TL 300 million in the transfer centre, IT infrastructure and operations over the last 3 years. We are achieving double-digit growth with the investments we have made in this sector and our operational experience and expertise. This year, in the first 9 months of 2020, we have achieved a growth of almost 65 percent. We are continuing our efforts to maintain this steady growth with all our might.

2. Following the share transfer, Aras Kargo has entered a new era. How are you handling this process, what kind of reorganisation has been carried out?

As Aras Kargo, we took a significant step for our company and the shipping industry in 2020. Our partner Austrian Post, which has held a 25 percent stake since 2013, has increased its share to 80 percent, while Mr Barış Baran Aras has retained his share position at 20 percent. We are focusing more than ever on making technological investments, strengthening infrastructure and making business processes more efficient, especially with the increasing e-commerce volume and changes in needs. As the leading company in the industry, we will keep providing fast and specialised solutions tailored to the needs of our customers and business partners, and our investments will continue unabated.

In the new period, we plan to invest a total of 1 billion TL in distribution infrastructure, including all activities such as transfer centres and branches.

3. What effects did the pandemic period have on the conjuncture of Aras Kargo?

As the pandemic took hold, our customers began to buy all kinds of needs that they had bought in shops at the normal time, mainly through e-commerce.

The most important factor that affected our business was the change in the shipment structure. During this period, when workplaces were shut down and people worked from home, the number of bulk deliveries was reduced to a minimum, while the number of places we went to for deliveries to individual households increased many times over. Thanks to technological investments and increased capacity, we were able to cope with the rising demand with a much higher success rate.

What we have learned from this process is the continuity of the supply chain. Turkey is in an advantageous position in this regard compared to many other countries, thanks to its logistical network connections, production capacity, human resources, knowledge and skills. We have also become an important part of the continuity of this chain.

We have opened new branches in a very short time in regions where there was no delivery density before.

Contactless delivery has become very important in our sector. As our infrastructure was ready, we were able to quickly switch to contactless delivery with coded delivery and handheld terminal reading method in new types of chip IDs.

During this precarious time when we were affected by the pandemic, our heroes, the field workers, as well as the health workers, the security forces and the production sector workers, continued to put their lives on the line and ensure the continuity of the supply chain in our country.

4. Can you tell us more about the projects you have carried out regarding digital transformation?

We have been investing to implement digital transformation in each step of our business processes. Over the past two years, we have invested almost 300 million TL in the transfer centre, IT infrastructure and operational processes. To name our investments briefly: We launched the Courier Route Optimisation project to manage the increasing address and data traffic. Thanks to the route optimisation we have carried out, we have created the most suitable infrastructure to properly manage the daily volume of transactions, as well as an additional employment boost at times when the number of shipments is increasing. The application of contactless delivery, which has recently emerged as a major need, is now being actively utilised in the fastest possible way with our prepared infrastructure. This has been achieved through coded delivery and handheld terminals that read chip IDs of a new type. With the "Central Data System" project, we have again collected customer data that was previously held in the branches in a single centre and prevented erroneous data.

Accordingly, we first launched a technical overhaul at one of our largest transfer centres in terms of operations and area, İkitelli Transfer Centre, to increase its processing capacity from 5,500 to 27,600 pieces per hour. In the first quarter of 2019, we technologically upgraded the Orhanlı Transfer Centre on the Anatolian side of Istanbul and the Transfer Centre in Izmir and converted them to the Sorter system. This year, we completed the conversion of our transfer centre in Ankara and continued our technological renovation goals step by step.

Also last year, we commissioned an investment in a small parcel sortation system on both sides of Istanbul to better handle the increasing volume of e-commerce shipments between 1-5 desi. This year we have extended this investment to 4 more major cities. While the Marmara, Orhanlı and Aegean transfer centres became operational, we completed Ankara this month. In this way, we have further increased our capacity and efficiency. With a threefold increase in hourly processing capacity, we are the best in the industry.

5. You made considerable investments in optimising call management, which is yet another area. Could you tell us a little about your investments in this area?

There were times when calls to our branches and call centre increased 4.5 times as a result of the increased transaction volume over the pandemic period. Therefore, to manage this process in the healthiest way possible and to ensure that our customers can reach us at all times, we have completely improved our call management processes. We changed our supplier and our stakeholder in this area. We have increased our call answering capacity by 2.5 times. In addition, by activating the voice response system for questions related to shipping information such as "Kargom Nerede (Where is My Shipment)", which accounts for a large proportion of calls, we have ensured that our customers can access this information quickly and without the need for a customer representative.

6. What do you think makes Aras Kargo powerful?

Aras Kargo with its quality of service, advanced technology, compliance with standards and extensive and widespread transport network stands as the leading player in the sector. As one of the most established companies in the sector, we have pioneered many game-changing firsts in the industry with our pioneering and innovative outlook since the day we were founded in various areas such as agency systems, electric vehicle fleets and operational innovations. It has always been our intention and dream to achieve something better by setting our goals higher and higher. We continue our double-digit stable growth every year with our investments in the industry and our operational experience and expertise. These investments make us the company with the highest automation infrastructure in the industry. Within this framework, we will continue to increase our investments to meet the expectations of our customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders and society as a whole, and to continuously improve and make ourselves sustainable.
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