In India, the e-commerce sector has seen an unprecedented growth in the recent past. This growth was driven by rapid technology adoption led by the increased use of devices such as smartphones and tablets, and access to the internet through broadband, 4G etc, which led to an increased online consumer base.
The impact of this growth is especially visible during the festive season. With e-commerce now penetrating into tier 2 and tier 3 cities, over 80% of the total sales occur during this spell. According to a report by market research firm RedSeer, the five days of Diwali were expected to fetch a gross merchandise volume of $2.5 billion to $3 billion, up from about $1.5 billion in 2017.
However, the sudden growth doesn’t come without challenges. A surge in demand and an increase in customer expectations mean that the supply chains for the e-commerce players are under pressure like never before. The customer is prone to travel during the holidays and is depending on e-retailers for their gifts to friends and relatives. This means e-commerce companies now need to ensure that they adhere to their SLAs to provide on-time deliveries to their customers.
The day-to-day challenges for e-commerce players also increase many folds during this period. Fuzzy addresses and lack of first-time strike rate are some problems that add to the headache of the e-commerce players. Paper-based receipts and delay in deliveries are other reasons that cause last-mile friction with the customers. Lack of visibility of resources and the failure of normal estimates during the festive season are other issues that plague the e-commerce industries.
More often than not, these problems are beyond the scope of human intelligence, and the supply chain leaders require additional help to make business decisions. This led to Locus come up with AI-based solutions like Dispatcher and IntelliSort that caters to the needs of the e-commerce companies, especially during the festive season.
For starters, Dispatcher is the route optimization solution from Locus, whereas, IntelliSort provides automated sorting of shipment packages. These AI-based solutions use advanced geocoding and accurate address detection IP to automate the primary and secondary sorting processes. Clubbing of orders is based on properties such as preferred delivery time slots, priority orders, location preference, and order specifications (weight, size, content etc.). The solutions further provide an optimal fleet mix and route plan for the vehicles respecting business as well as local constraints such as traffic, or any special route restrictions.
This leads to reduced turnaround time for the customer by optimising first-mile operations, locations of warehouses/distribution centres, reducing sorting times at fulfilment centres and last mile distribution centres. The customer experience is further improved by predicts time windows of delivery, and Electronic proof of delivery (EPOD) which reduces friction in the last mile delivery and leads to the digitisation of the processes. The turn-around time is reduced for the customer by optimising first-mile operations, locations of warehouses/distribution centres, reducing sorting times at fulfilment centres and last mile distribution centres. The solutions also provide a hawk-eye view of on-ground resources and analytics to provide a comprehensive performance analysis of different business units.
Modern logistics solutions not only ensure higher profitability for e-commerce companies but a better experience for their delivery staffs owing to lesser hassle, truly adding a glint to every part of the supply chain.
The article has been penned down by Nishith Rastogi, co-founder & CEO, Locus