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Leveraging Automation To Boost Customer Experience And Delivery Efficiency Businesses need to figure out the right balance between cost and customer experience, and the smart way to achieve this is by leveraging the power of logistics automation.

By Soham Chokshi

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In a world where everyone wants things now, many companies have been looking to streamline their operations and provide customers with express deliveries. Recent research suggests that the same-day delivery market will hit the US$26.4 billion mark by 2027. So, it comes as no surprise that the global logistics automation market will also demonstrate staggering growth, hitting the $121.3 billion mark by 2027.

These stats certainly paint a great picture for businesses catering to logistics and supply chain automation. However, one critical aspect that companies need to focus on is customer delight.

Customer expectations are constantly evolving, especially when it comes to online deliveries. They want their groceries, food, and medicines to be delivered in minutes, not hours. They want to know where their orders are, who will be delivering them, and when they will receive them. Also, modern customers expect greater flexibility with regard to payments.

But delivering on these expectations is not easy. Businesses need to figure out the right balance between cost and customer experience, and the smart way to achieve this is by leveraging the power of logistics automation.

A recent Oracle survey revealed that 49% of UAE residents consider the estimated arrival time (ETA) as a significant criterion for choosing where they order from. Also, 48% of customers say that a delayed delivery impacts from whom they want to buy from. Another survey by Podean Marketplace in September 2020 found that 26% of people shop online every week, taking the UAE's e-commerce market valuation to an impressive $17 billion by 2025.

Related: All Set For Growth: The E-Commerce Landscape In The Middle East

Whether the reason to shop is buying someone a present, buying yourself a little something, or simply grocery shopping, online delivery portals are taking over. Customers expect nothing less than fast deliveries and instant gratification. Indeed, the quicker, the better! As such, here are a few ideas on how retailers, e-commerce providers, and on-demand delivery brands can drive faster deliveries:

1. AUTOMATIC ORDER ALLOCATION Manual processes are cumbersome and increase delivery turnaround time. Brands must therefore leverage automation to drive timely dispatch to ensure faster deliveries. Intelligent auto allocation rules can eliminate human dependencies, and automatically delegate delivery tasks to drivers based on delivery type, order volumes, proximity from a store, and customer location. It also enables brands to scale deliveries by intelligently partnering with multiple logistics providers after considering cost and performance. Smart logistics management tools can drive a net allocation rate of over 99%, and shrink fulfillment windows by 30%.

2. AUTOMATING ROUTE PLANNING Planning efficient delivery routes manually is a daunting task. Businesses must leverage a smart logistics management platform that automates route planning and optimization. Such a platform automatically determines the best possible route to execute deliveries on premised duration. It considers multiple factors while planning a route. Some of these include mode of delivery, order type, number of orders that can be picked up or delivered on a said route, fuel consumption, driver productivity, traffic congestion, weather conditions, customer and store location, and more. A smart logistics management platform increases on-time delivery volumes by 24% and increases deliveries per driver by 24%.

Related: Infographic: E-Commerce in the Middle East

3. AUTOMATIC ALERTS AND NOTIFICATIONS Logistics automation plays an important role when it comes to improving customer experience. Modern logistics management tools automatically send real-time insights and updates via WhatsApp and SMS to enable customers to know where their orders are, who will be delivering, what's the exact ETA, and information about delays, if any. It also sends customers a quick tracking link that can be used to see the delivery progress in real-time. These significantly improve customer visibility and trust, thereby helping brands provide delightful delivery experiences. Automation-powered logistics management tools can boost customer satisfaction by 64%.

4. AUTOMATING DRIVER MANAGEMENT When it comes to quick commerce, time is the essence. Delivering on service-level agreements mandates having an agile and productive team. Managing drivers and their respective key performance indicators can often become challenging for store managers in the absence of the right technology. Smart logistics management tools can resolve this challenge by declaring advanced driver scoring parameters like time taken to start the bike after the order was received, deliver the order, reach back to the store, and so on. Moreover, it empowers store managers to manage driver shifts and assess routes taken to deliver the order. For instance, the system automatically checks out the driver after a specific period post-delivery, or once the shift ends. Managers can automate multiple such critical processes by predefining rules based on their needs. The solution also automatically evaluates if there was a difference between the system-suggested planned route, and the actual route taken by the driver to investigate delayed deliveries.

5. BRINGING INVENTORY CLOSER TO CUSTOMERS As on-demand deliveries surge, brands will have to bring inventory closer to heavily clustered locations to ensure faster delivery turnaround times. Strategic placement of fulfillment centers or dark stores can go a long way when ensuring faster deliveries. Sourcing orders from local or neighborhood stores is another way businesses can shrink delivery turnaround times. In this case, using modern tools that improve inventory visibility will be critical. Some other critical use cases where automation can spur transformation include shipment management, tracking, and scheduling, sesearching, capturing, and managing carriers, procurement, inventory, and warehouse management, and credit collections and speed invoicing.

Related: The MENA's First Woman-Led E-Commerce Acquisition: Saudi Business Conglomerate Tamer Group Acquires A Majority Stake Of Mumzworld

Soham Chokshi

Co-founder and CEO, Shipsy

Soham Chokshi is the co-founder and CEO of Shipsy, India’s first and only end-to-end global trade and logistics management platform that helps customers reduce logistics costs, achieve transparency and improve on-time delivery of goods across the ocean, air, rail, and road with an intelligent approach. Under his supervision, the company has rapidly blossomed into a leading SaaS-based solution provider dedicated to reducing logistics costs and improving on-time delivery of goods across the ocean, air, and road transportation through its pioneering "Bloomberg for supply chain" model.

In his professional capacity, Soham spearheads the overall business growth of the organization. His auxiliary responsibilities include ensuring revenue pipeline and ARR growth, maintaining key customer relationships, directing measures for brand amplification, ensuring a strong product roadmap, fundraising, investor relations, and overseeing key processes and initiatives for people development. Under Soham’s helm, Shipsy is fast developing as the preferred technology partner for logistics management for bolstering domestic and cross-border trade.

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