When Domino’s Pizza first introduced the promised ’30 minutes or free’ guarantee policy, it saw a rapid rise in its market share among the U.S. pizza buying public. Ultimately, customers won: they received hot, freshly-baked pizzas quickly, or they received pizzas that might not be as hot or fresh, but without charge. It was a move that made a small, family run pizza parlor called DomiNick’s into a multi-million dollar chain of pizza restaurants.
Modern consumers value time immensely. A common thread that runs through every popular product today, be it smartphones or e-mails, is the efficiency and quickness they bring to customers’ lives. Considering India’s long history with delays, it is no wonder then that the Indian consumer has lapped up the recent floodof start-ups that promise to change the delivery situation from uncertainty to prompt reality.
The logistics sector is booming, touted to be worth $307 billion by 2020. However, the most important change is the rapid integration of cutting-edge technology and consolidation in an industry which was utterly fragmented and devoid of any modern technological intervention. The yawning gap in technology provided an opportunity to a number of start-ups to intervene and introduce innovative, tech-enabled solutions that solved the logistics problem and provide a seamless customer experience.
The changing buying behavior of consumers has also contributed significantly to this transformation. The rise of e-commerce, a growing middle-class with increasing disposable income and a surge in the number of orders has forced the logistics industry to move out of its comfort zone. Furthermore, the introduction of policies such as GST have encouraged logistics players to develop fleets that can travel longer distances with a greater load than have scattered routes with multiple warehouses within states just to escape taxes.
Logistics operations generally have four dimensions– time-specific deliveries, haul or the quantity of goods to be delivered, accessibility of the delivery point and ensuring transparency, optimization and seamless delivery operations. Startups, equipped with state-of-the-art technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and predictive analysis, have improved every aspect to achieve better last-mile connectivity.
APIs to book parcels, serviceability using maps, mobile apps for completing pickups, real-time alerts, route optimization, on-field resource accessibility to fleet security – technology has empowered the fleet owner as well as the consumer to monitor their assets during the entire journey. Thanks to 24x7 data collection, continuous communication with the consumer through SMS notifications and an efficient feedback mechanism, tech-enabled logistics service providers have ensured superfast services without compromising on service quality or assistance.
As we move into the nextphase of the Fourth Industrial Revolution backed by AI, futuristic delivery tools such as drones and IoT-enabled services are not just an element of fiction anymore, but are tangible realities being developed by numerous organizations right now.
In India, logistics companies were always reactive, not proactive. Until a consumer raised a complaint about poor execution of a delivery, companies did not start thinking about alternative solutions. The wave of new startups however, has forced the stakeholders to shake off complacency and change their perception of technology from an added expense to a key enabler. India’s logistics sector is thriving on technology and it’s time for industry players to jump on the tech bandwagon, or see it drive away, fast.
The article has been penned down by Ankit Garg, Co-founder and CEO, Wakefit.co