Turkmenistan's Logistics and Warehousing Brought to a New Level

Speeches Shim

Thursday, August 25, 2022

IT solutions, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), have transformed Turkmenistan-based warehouse and distribution company Shaylan Group by streamlining its logistics services, increasing its clientele and creating new jobs.

“Our company started as a distribution business importing and wholesaling Pepsi products back in 2007. We had no warehouses or trucks – just a tiny office with two employees and a passion to grow,” says Imamberdi Durdiyev, head of logistics at Turkmenistan’s Shaylan Group. 

“I remember, we were entering all requests into computers manually which led to multiple errors, resulting in inaccuracies and misleading the senior management,” continued Imamberdi. “At that time we were puzzled as to how to address consistency and reduce errors.” Additionally, invalidated data used to prevent accurate forecasting and scheduling, making matters even worse. Unauthorized personnel were also able to access the system and unintentionally change the data. 

Shaylan has seen improvements regarding these issues over the time, but business records have been fragmented across different digital platforms without a single comprehensive IT system in place. This made it difficult to form a holistic picture of the business situation and the company’s leadership started thinking about how to address the situation. 

“I remember, we were entering all requests into computers manually which led to multiple errors, resulting in inaccuracies and misleading the senior management,” continued Imamberdi. “At that time we were puzzled as to how to address consistency and reduce errors.” Additionally, invalidated data used to prevent accurate forecasting and scheduling, making matters even worse. Unauthorized personnel were also able to access the system and unintentionally change the data. 

Shaylan has seen improvements regarding these issues over the time, but business records have been fragmented across different digital platforms without a single comprehensive IT system in place. This made it difficult to form a holistic picture of the business situation and the company’s leadership started thinking about how to address the situation. 

As an initial step, Shaylan applied to USAID’s Innovation Facility program in 2019. Recognizing the firm’s ambition and potential, USAID supported Shaylan in digitizing its warehouse and transportation management systems. The Innovation Facility managed by USAID’s Competitiveness, Trade, and Jobs activity co-financed the procurement of an Enterprise Resources Planning (ERP) package, including warehouse and transport management software for Shaylan. This created one of Turkmenistan’s first fully automated warehouses. 

The ERP bridged existing gaps and addressed data management and information sharing bottlenecks and added a great value to Shaylan’s recent investments in hard infrastructure, cold storage facilities and increased its fleet of refrigerated trucks.

Shaylan has now become a leading national warehousing and distribution pioneer, with over 7,000 square meters of warehouse storage and 30 refrigerator trucks. Using Turkmenistan’s advantageous geographic location, the company offers streamlined logistics services to foreign and local traders. 

“With USAID’s assistance we’ve implemented an integrated ERP system which enables us to measure, record and analyze all business data. We started not only with logistics inputs, but also with finance and accountancy, marketing, sales and e-commerce,” Imamberdi says. “Prior to the system’s rollout, we partly recorded data, and, as such, we could not organize essential business processes or visualize business models.”

Introducing IT solutions helped the company organize its business processes and create over 100 new jobs, including 10 in its logistics department. The ERP system’s customer relationship management (CRM) and e-commerce modules helped Shaylan to expand its clientele. 

The new system allows collecting and processing real-time market data, which has simplified targeted phone and email marketing, and tracking progress in business goals. Shaylan has adopted not just better software but a brand-new way of doing business with USAID assistance. 

“Operating the ERP platform and registering and working with data are a tangible improvement by itself as we have acquired a new perspective of what and where we can go. Now, we are at the stage of mastering the current functionality at our disposal,” Imamberdi notes.

Using the new systems, Shaylan has established collaboration models offering value-added services to customers. This includes outsourcing from best local producers, arranging international transportation and delivery, handling customs brokerage, managing stocks and inventory in-warehouse, delivering to sales points, and selling through an online marketplace.

“We are planning to integrate our backend software, so that our customers can review prices and send requests for stock replenishment through mobile apps. We’re moving to the next level of logistics and functioning,” Imamberdi concludes. Shaylan’s success in introducing and utilizing the ERP platform demonstrates how modern third-party logistics (3PL) could be adopted as a business practice in Turkmenistan.

Moving forward, Shaylan intends to provide modern logistics and warehousing services to local producers and farmers by building warehouse facilities with temperature-controlled conditions in every region of Turkmenistan. By leveraging both its new cold chain infrastructure and ERP system, Shaylan aims to increase its exports to 20 percent by year-end, focusing on locally-produced dairy, processed meat, vegetables, fruits and other frozen food products. 

A steady growth of horticultural exports in 2020 (40,300 metric tons) and 2021 (81,000 metric tons) offer great prospects to Shaylan in the coming years. The company also plans to expand its clientele by offering services to new Turkmen food producers.

Using the USAID-funded Innovation Facility mechanism, since 2017 many innovative ideas of Central Asian businesses have been put into practice through co-financing. Introducing IT business solutions like ERP systems into the Shaylan Group and other existing operations has shown how these practices could be used to great effect.

About this story

USAID improves regional trade connectivity to accelerate economic growth and increase economic opportunities in Central Asia. It seeks to achieve this through harmonizing customs and border procedures, increasing public-private dialogue on trade and investment, improving cross-border firm-to-firm connectivity, and addressing gender-relevant trade issues.

Last updated: August 26, 2022

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