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How SaaS Is Transforming the Multi-Billion Dollar Delivery Management Industry SaaS model provides the much-needed agility and cost-effectiveness to companies, making it critical and reliable for a variety of businesses

By Kushal Nahata

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For a number of reasons, SaaS, or software-as-a-service, is an overwhelming reality for logistics companies today. It is becoming an increasingly viable option for the companies in the hunt for operational agility, customer experience enhancements, accessibility, functionality and versatility in a highly competitive business environment.

The road to intelligent and efficient deliveries is through technological innovations. This helps companies to realise their vision of a seamless and cost-effective logistics flow, allowing manufacturers and shippers to form suitable strategic and real-time decisions that prove beneficial for the business.

SaaS model provides the much-needed agility and cost-effectiveness to companies, making it critical and reliable for a variety of businesses. Reports suggest that SaaS is taking over the cloud computing market, but industry experts believe that it all depends on the preference, requirements and company's future direction.

In the context of online deliveries, SaaS can be used to optimize the movement of goods, drive customer centricity and improve end-to-end visibility of delivery operations.

Ensure Efficient Movement of Goods

Managing the movement of goods across logistics networks can become a daunting task in absence of intelligent delivery tools. Such movement is prone to inefficiencies like poor productivity, en route delays, increasing fuel consumption, transportation risks and damages to goods. An intelligent SaaS-based delivery management platform, powered by low-code technology, seamlessly addresses these inefficiencies and makes first, middle and last-mile operations seamless. A platform like this is driven by tools that reduce shipping expenses, automate scheduling of deliveries, generate fuel-efficient routes, ensure real-time tracking of fleets and more. An advanced delivery management platform makes logistics operations customer-centric by improving transparency, generating highly accurate Estimated Time of Arrival (ETAs), establishing direct contact with delivery executives and executing seamless slot-based deliveries.

Driving Customer Centricity

The key to customer satisfaction is providing accurate information and timely delivery of the goods. Low-code technology that fuels a modern delivery management platform ensures that quick changes can be made to existing delivery workflows and hence help brands efficiently respond to customer demands like changes in delivery time and location. It optimizes routes in real-time to ensure rapid delivery turnaround-time and ETA adherence. Such a platform sends out automatic notifications keeping customers updated on every step of the delivery. Its contactless delivery capabilities ensure highly efficient 'leave at the door" deliveries and zero cash/card transactions. Such a platform also displays the latest body temperature of store staff and delivery executives to boost customer loyalty.

Enhancing Carrier Management

Evolving consumer needs driven by the pandemic is causing significant shifts in the way enterprises manage parcel delivery. This has led to demand variability, which in turn is driving companies to look for lower cost, multiple vendors and Omni channel customer experience. This, in turn, necessitates the ability to manage multiple vendors, get visibility and ability to balance various parameters and optimize carrier selection. An intelligent delivery management platform helps businesses select the right carrier for the right job based on robust analytics of historical data. It enhances carrier management by accurately benchmarking performance, optimizing shipping costs, SLAs and other service performance parameters.

End-to-end Delivery Visibility

Addressing visibility challenges in the first, middle and last mile is critical. Inadequate visibility of ground-level delivery activities is one of the major reasons behind rising operational costs, inaccurate decision-making, and poor customer experiences. An intelligent delivery management platform provides end-to-end visibility of logistics operations. Businesses can track carrier movement in real-time. This allows them to take immediate action in case of unscheduled or prolonged stoppages, vehicle idling, unnecessary diversions, over speeding and more.

In a developing nation like India, the e-commerce industry is growing at an unprecedented pace. In fact, the industry is playing a major role in boosting the economy and giving all retail brands a platform to sell their products globally.

Last fiscal, when governments across the world imposed a complete lockdown to prevent the spread of this pandemic, e-commerce companies witnessed a surge in demand resulting in a sharp rise in their annual revenue for FY2020. According to business intelligence platform Tofler, major players like Amazon witnessed a 43% rise in its annual revenues to Rs 10,847.6 crore, while US major Walmart-backed Flipkart posted a 12% growth in its annual revenues to Rs 34,610 crore during the same period. In order to cater to the growing number of customers and maintain the database, e-commerce firms opted for new software solutions for better operational efficiency and transparency, improved tracking facility and enhanced efficiency in their supply chain. Now, due to the rising popularity of one-day delivery, e-commerce firms are opting for improved and enhanced SaaS solutions as it enables them to expedite their delivery process by streamlining their supply chain.

On similar lines, a few companies are already in the process of making deliveries intelligent. They have adopted a modular approach to create a platform that can adapt to their changing business needs. The low-code approach provides an environment to develop applications with a quick turnaround and minimal code to shorten the "concept to ship" cycle. Intelligence is brought into the platform through new world technologies like AI and Machine Learning. This algorithmic approach to areas like dynamic routing and loop optimization delivers tangible benefits to the client and end consumers.

To summarise, the SaaS market already offers a wide range of solutions for the logistics and transportation industries. Perhaps, the best advantage of SaaS is that it is extremely cost-effective for companies. It is not limited and the flexibility of customisation in systems provides businesses to pick the most suitable tools and eliminate unwanted services paying only for the services they use.

This technology is destined to grow further and with the involvement of Blockchain and AI, it will be able to deliver better results in comparatively less time. The developments will be worth watching.

Kushal Nahata

CEO and co-founder, FarEye

Kushal Nahata is the co-founder and CEO of FarEye, whose cutting edge logistics technology stack is delivering never-seen-before efficiencies for hundreds of customers across the globe. 
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