Technology is king

Technology is king

Despite logistics companies being better prepared to do business in 2021, the severity of the second wave has taken a toll on their manpower. It is why there have been huge delays in online delivery and our orders reaching us later than pre-Covid times. “A large percentage of warehouse and delivery staff got Covid or have had an emergency in their families,” says Harsh Vaidya, Founder and CEO, WareIQ, which takes care of logistics of clients such as Wingreens, Monsoon Harvest, Bolt Coffee, Flatheads, Kama Ayurveda, Just Herbs, Lotus Herbals, and more. Rhitiman Majumder, Co-Founder and CEO, Pickrr, adds that irregular flight schedules have also led to an obvious delay in Turnaround Time. Managing manpower and keeping them motivated, especially when their peers test positive, is draining, reveals Anshuman Singh, Chairman, and Managing Director, Stellar Value Chain Solutions. “We have been fortunate enough to have an extremely low incidence of positive cases across India, which is less than 3 per cent of the total manpower. We created a central monitoring group last year itself, the Stellar Protection Group, which monitors safety protocols through control towers, and are doing multiple townhall sessions, motivation through rewards and appreciation,” adds Singh. In this crisis, LetsTransport Co-founder Pushkar Singh notes that companies’ main concern is the well-being of their driver-partners and on-ground teams. To ensure that, RT-PCR tests are being conducted and effort is being made to get manpower across all warehouses, distribution centres, and e-fulfilment centres, vaccinated. A Grofers spokesperson adds, “We are providing daily meals to everyone working in our warehouses and are paying higher wages to our delivery partners, up to double of their normal salaries.” Tackling Uncertainty Prasad Sreeram, Founder and CEO, Cogos Technologies, says, “NCR region has a different set of restrictions as part of their lockdowns, causing further uncertainty on the interstate movement of goods, and creating trouble for the logistics companies. Moreover, there are not enough fuel stations, especially in remote parts, which lead to delays.” While orders are piling up in warehouses, the uncertainty has also led to a massive drop in orders for non-essential goods. Vaidya notes, “There is a surge in the demand for healthcare products and products like packaged food, daily groceries, masks, sanitisers, etc., that are a basic necessity. e-Pharmacy is witnessing a surge as we are processing 100,000 orders a day. The rise in fuel prices has added to the costs, and a large percentage of pincodes have turned unserviceable for all courier partners. Some apartment societies have stopped door deliveries, because of which a lot of parcels go missing.” While some firms are facing challenges in segregating goods as essentials and non-essentials and getting an e-pass for successful delivery, others are unable to manage inventory due to fluctuation in demand and supply. Vaidya says, “There would be a one-off surge in demand for a particular product one week, and then excess inventory builds up in the next week. The pandemic has essentially created inventory chaos.”That’s why WareIQ is only focusing on essential Covid supplies, and are processing about four lakh such supplies a day. Competing with Amazon, it allows e-commerce brands to offer next-day delivery. Turn to Technology Anshuman believes technology is the only solution. “All exceptional handling has been made is 99 per cent tech-driven. We plan to own direct communication to sellers’ customers in-house so that there is no lag with customers receiving updates. Our WareHouse Management System, as well as Transport Management Systems, is 100 per cent on the cloud,” adds Anshuman. Pushkar seconds him saying that an updated tech platform even helped LetsTransport. “More and more manual processes are being digitised to reduce/remove physical touchpoints and human interactions. Shifting to sustainable growth with the EV evolution and upgrading ourselves with the latest technologies is what we are focusing on right now,” he adds. Even Grofers has scaled up the supply chain and manpower since last year. “This helped us serve over 2 million households from the beginning of the second wave. We plan to add over 7,000+ more personnel across functions. Additionally, we have hired close to 500 women employees at our warehouses,” says a Grofers spokesperson. WareIQ is providing brands with the ability to make smart inventory placement decisions across a pan-India network through their AI engine which allows brands to be near their demand centres. Cogos Technologies is also helping all its stakeholders — customer, driver and vehicle owner — adapt to their tech product. “Our partners can now book, schedule or assign a trip by just using their phones,” adds Sreeram.

Nikita SharmaThe New Indian Express

June 01, 2021

Why e-commerce and D2C businesses choose 3PL for their fulfilment needs

Why e-commerce and D2C businesses choose 3PL for their fulfilment needs

Indian e-commerce has grown and evolved significantly over the last few years. Brands are increasingly turning towards alternative online selling channels beyond ecommerce marketplaces (like D2C and social commerce), to reach consumers. Thereby, requiring fulfilment services beyond the captive logistics of the ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon FBA.   Enter Third Party Logistics service providers (3PL).    3PLs allows e-commerce and D2C companies to save time and effort spent on organising and managing a supply chain by insourcing their logistics processes end-to-end, including picking orders from the manufacturing unit, warehousing, packaging, shipping, etc.   A market study conducted by Mordor intelligence showed that the Indian 3PL market is expected to register a growth rate of over 11.5% during the period of 2020 to 2025, with D2C and e-commerce entrepreneurs demanding new logistics capabilities and complex solutions from the 3PL service providers to help them in the successful management of supply chain processes, bring down conventional logistics costs and handle more complicated tasks as they scale. In this article, we explore why e-commerce companies are choosing 3PL providers for their fulfilment needs.   Rise of e-commerce in India A report by IBEF (India Brand Equity Fund) suggested that the Indian e-commerce market will reach US$ 99 billion by 2024, growing at a 27% CAGR over 2019-24. Source: IBEF (India Brand Equity Fund)   Among other things, this growth will be fuelled by the following factors: Increasing internet user-base and smartphone penetration: India has the second-highest active internet user-base globally and is also one of the largest data consumers. As per IBEF report, this number has grown by a significant proportion in 2020 and is forecasted to grow by approximately 60% by 2022. Graph by IBEF on Smartphone user base in India   Covid-19 PandemicThe Covid-19 pandemic has also undeniably contributed to the increase in ecommerce sales as citizens were forced to stay indoors.With more and more people staying indoors and on their screens, there has been a fresh influx of first-time online shoppers as well as an increase in online shopping in general in the absence of an offline avenue.   The 2021 Global Payments report by Worldpay FIS confirmed this by tracking trends across 41 countries and concluded that digital commerce had accelerated during the pandemic. The report projected the Indian e-commerce market, driven by shopping on mobile, to grow 21% annually over the next four years.   There is a good chance many of the first-time online shoppers will permanently shift a part of their shopping online, given that online shopping appeals to the time and comfort conscious consumers leading busy lives.   Logistics providers that are driving the Indian ecommerce industry There are primarily three types of logistics service providers (LSPs) that are driving ecommerce fulfilment in India. Traditional LSPs, Captive LSPs and e-commerce retail-focused LSPs.   In 2018, an in-depth analysis by KPMG showed that e-commerce retail-focused LSP’s (logistics service providers) occupied 28% of the e-commerce retail logistics sector, and this number has been increasing.     E-commerce retail-focused 3PLs E-commerce retail-focused 3PLs are designed specifically to handle the demands of e-commerce fulfillment, a lot more intensive operation than offline distribution and fulfillment.   Some 3PLs are equipped to work best with startups and SMEs and provide plug-n-play substitute to building infrastructure, while still giving access to demand analytics, fulfillment infrastructure and advanced WMS technologies.   Many SME’s and startups are choosing to take advantage of this. And some of the benefits include: Decentralising inventory for one or two-day delivery without investing time and resources on building infrastructure. (e.g., warehouses, forklifts, labor, etc) Alternative to hassles of fulfill orders in-house or via other captive marketplace logistics Saving several hours a week packing boxes and shipping orders. More time for strategic projects like marketing and product development.  Lower minimum order requirement   __________________________________________________________________________   Looking for a fulfillment service provider for your e-commerce or D2C business? WareIQ is a 3PL offering end-to-end fulfillment services that include smart inventory management, strategic and customised warehousing solutions and tech-focused optimisation of your supply chain to meet fast shipping timelines and boost sales. Get in touch to know more.

May 13, 2021

WareIQ D2C Scale up Series | Learnings with Ganesh Balakrishnan

WareIQ D2C Scale up Series | Learnings with Ganesh Balakrishnan

April 26, 2021

WareIQ D2C Scale up Series | Learnings with Mayank Gupta

WareIQ D2C Scale up Series | Learnings with Mayank Gupta

March 22, 2021

How can your Brand stand out with effective yet cool packaging!

How can your Brand stand out with effective yet cool packaging!

Customer Delight”. The buzzword that is crucial during your customer’s unboxing experience! Designing this aspect of customer experience is an integral part of establishing an impressive brand. While shipping materials could often be an afterthought for most brands, an emphasis on branded shipping cartons can help your brand capitalize on retaining current customers. How? Let us show you    Staying On-Brand A branded experience shouldn’t end when you receive an order. Ensuring your shipping materials and packing process are on-brand will help your company deliver an experience most customers will remember. When your customer receives a shipped package from your brand, their very first impression of your product is going to be the carton. From there, what is the first thing they see upon opening it? And the next? From start to finish, there are many opportunities for your company to deliver a memorable experience that solidifies your brand identity.   Components of a Branded Shipping Experience Shipped products should be packaged in a way that enhances the customer’s experience of your brand. The order in which items are presented can add massive value and streamline a customer’s shopping experience.    Outer Packaging of a Fulfillment Container The first thing your customer sees upon delivery is the outer packaging of your fulfillment container. An important question to ask when choosing outer packaging is this: Should my company’s shipping packaging be branded or not? For companies shipping products that require discretion – such as adult products or high-end products – a plain and unbranded outer package is likely preferred, in order to prevent theft in transit or prying eyes from neighbours. For other products – especially perishable food items – it can be important to mark or brand the outside of the box to alert recipients of the package contents immediately upon receiving delivery. If your product doesn’t fit into either of those categories, consider what is best for your customer and your company. Will custom printed boxes and packaging material enhance your customer’s experience? If so, that can result in an increase in your company’s bottom line.  If custom printed boxes aren’t right for your brand (or if it’s currently outside of your company’s bootstrapped budget), another option to consider is pre-designed non-branded coloured boxes. These can be enhanced with a simple creative solution such as using a stamp to add branding or a sticker used as a seal on the outside of the parcel. Custom-printed packing tape is another great way to add branding elements to your shipping process. An additional perk of custom packing tape is that it serves to dissuade tampering during transit of a product.   Inner Packaging of a Fulfillment Container Choosing the inner packaging of your fulfillment container is another superb opportunity to highlight your branding. While many items are shipped with packing nuts, paper, foam, bubble wrap, etc you may differentiate your shipping experience by using materials that are more aligned with the ethos of your brand. For companies looking to promote their eco-friendly ethics, opting for biodegradable packaging or recycled materials shows your customers that you care about minimizing environmental waste. This gives customers the satisfaction of investing in a brand that promotes ethical, sustainable practices, which makes them feel even better about purchasing  Do you have a particular thematic colour scheme associated with your brand? Crinkle paper comes in most colours. Tissue, perhaps a more elegant option, can be printed with your company’s watermark!   Box Inserts Once the box is opened, will you take this moment to present your customer with something in addition to what was ordered? This stage in the fulfillment process is often overlooked, but it can greatly enhance the customer’s experience of unboxing their order. Here are some different options and ideas for box inserts:   Customization Opportunities   Personal touches At volume - handwritten notes aren’t feasible, a printed note card is more than adequate to evoke a similar welcoming feeling. Consider taking this opportunity to thank your customer or formally welcome them to your brand. Even packing slips can be personalized with a signature or stamp that says, “Packed for you by ____.” This reminds customers that your business is run by real humans who care about the customer experience. In an increasingly automated world, these simple human touches can make your brand stand out. Postcard inserts Feature a call to action, such as an invitation to join a social media contest. Ask customers to document their experience with a photo of their new products. Share your company’s origin story or brand values. Include an on-brand quote or introduction. Companies that offer high-touch support can invite customers to contact customer service with questions or feedback. Promotional material such as a discount code for future orders will encourage repeat sales and maximize a customer’s lifetime value. Gifts Delight your customers with an unexpected free item such as stickers, freebies, or other bonuses.  If your products can be distributed in sample sizes, this is a great cross-sell technique to introduce your customer to a new or complementary product. For the proper effect, the product sample must be of interest to the specific customer segment, based on the product ordered. Random or non-complementary gifts can have an adverse effect and may appear to be a tool for liquidating stale inventory.

March 18, 2021