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Navigating Through A Pandemic and Beyond: The Changing Delivery Ecosystem

By Amit Bagga, Chief Revenue Officer, FarEye

An unprecedented amount of chaos has shaken up the world. The reverberations of the COVID-19 would not subside anytime soon. But unlike pandemics of earlier centuries, e-commerce and home deliveries have significantly helped control its repercussions. Having said that demand spikes along with uncertain regularizations and fleet availability have led the companies to look for ways to transition their operations and make them more elastic.

Recent reports have highlighted that businesses executing home deliveries in the SEA region have seen a threefold increase in demand. For instance, in Singapore, RedMart’s orders jumped when the country raised its disease response level following a rise in locally transmitted cases. Orders on the online supermarket exceeded the company’s weekly average by 300 percent. This increased demand can be attributed to the fact that people have been buying 4 to 10 times more food staples, 3.5 to 5 times more paper products, and 2 to 6 times more personal care and household cleaning supplies.

The question is how do enterprises keep up with this change? There is an urgent need to build resilient supply chains and more importantly crack the code to seamless final mile orchestration of deliveries. The big question is, how to scale and get prepared for the new normal?

How to build supply chain operations that are resilient to demand shocks

This sudden rise in demand for online deliveries is going to be the new normal, even after the pandemic ends as ordering online is rapidly becoming a habit and more so because of the convenience and safety, it assures. Now, to build a supply chain that can quickly respond to such ballooning demand and also make deliveries profitable, businesses need to embrace a SaaS-based logistics management platform that is powered by digital tools like dynamic routing, crowdsourcing, and automation–the three key capabilities that are needed to ensure highly responsive and resilient supply chain delivery operations.

Dynamic Routing
A real-time dynamic routing platform empowers businesses to enhance last-mile operations by optimizing fleet capacity, reducing operational expenses, boosting delivery profitability, increasing fleet control, and drastically shrinking delivery turn-around-time. Dynamic routing capabilities empower businesses to plan highly efficient delivery routes and keep optimizing the same based on exceptions and delays.

Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing tools empower shippers, retailers, and grocery stores to dodge the middlemen and directly reach out to temporary or part-time delivery executives. To keep things in perspective, one can imagine this to a ride-hailing service. The difference is that instead of commuters, goods and packages are being transported through this process. Crowdsourcing allows businesses to quickly respond to elastic demands or demand shocks.

Skyrocketing demand for home deliveries has exposed multiple businesses to situations where they simply do not have the in-house resources to quickly scale delivery operations. Result? Prolonged delivery cycles, frequent delays, and inability to create windows for new orders. Crowdsourcing empowers brands to scan across hundreds of markets and quickly onboard temporary or part-time delivery executives. These executives are on-boarded based on proximity, productivity, costs, past performance among other KPIs. Now, especially with the ongoing pandemic and nationwide lockdowns, crowdsourcing is not just a ‘good to have’ it’s rapidly rising to the ranks of being a necessity for online retailers and even for brick-mortar stores.

Automation
When it comes to scaling delivery operations and improving order to the delivery time it’s important for businesses to automate core logistics processes like task allocation, driver onboarding, KPI benchmarking, route diversion alerts, route planning, and more.

Coping Up with Evolving Safety Standards Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

The world as we know it has changed. Today one needs to give a serious amount of thought before just casually dropping by a store to buy groceries and eating outside now appears to be a luxury that none of us can afford. Not because of financial implications, but the logistics involved in reaching an eatery and the prospect of sitting among a group of people to eat gives us quite the scare.  The ongoing pandemic followed by lockdowns across the SEA region has made it more clear that ordering online, especially essentials, is one of the safest means to gain access to food, grocery, medicines, and more. But the ongoing pandemic has changed the rules of online delivery, if not forever but for a long long time coming.

To avoid the spread of COVID-19, customers today are shifting their loyalty towards businesses that are guaranteeing ‘zero contact’ delivery. This type of delivery is new to a lot of us but, fortunately, it’s something that can be easily executed. Today, advanced SaaS-based logistics management platforms make it possible to completely eliminate cash and card transactions by replacing the same with a digital-wallet enabled application. It also equips a delivery executive to leave an order outside a customer’s door to further reduce the chances of contact through OTP based contactless delivery mechanisms.

Now a very relevant question that comes to the mind is, how do customers know if the person delivering the order is healthy? There is a solution to that as well. Advanced systems empower businesses to regularly check and record body temperature of store staff and delivery executives. The same information is then displayed to the customer, to ensure that her order is in safe hands.

Indeed these are difficult times and it calls for drastic measures. Hence, to ensure that essential items are always available to customers, FarEye is partnering with brands across the world to drive always-on delivery operations.

To get things into perspective let me quickly share a recent FarEye Serve use case.

The lockdown in SEA triggered by COVID-19 is posing different challenges for different sets of people. For instance, for those people who just turned parents, these are challenging times. It’s not easy to raise a child when the world is being brought to a stand-still by a deadly virus. For instance, Orami, a Jakarta based parenting-centric eCommerce company, leveraged FarEye Serve, to ensure faster delivery of parenting-products across Indonesia. Right now the technology is helping companies across the globe execute more than 30,000 deliveries per day.

This pandemic has not only changed how people buy products online but also what they buy and this change is here to stay. The impact of 300 percent surge in demand for online orders in the region is not disappearing any time soon. For businesses, having a strong online presence with highly scalable, available, agile and resilient supply chain operations will no longer be an option. It’s a matter of business-sustainability now and brands that are embracing advanced digital tools will be the ones to come out strong when normalcy is restored.

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