Role of technology in making logistics seamless

The world is in a constant state of flux. Take Kenya for instance, the road and rail network has expanded considerably and you can travel to the coast in just 5 hours. Everyone you know likes their coffee or wine in a certain way. Just 5 years ago, most people had feature phones, with buttons you had to press thrice to get the letters you wanted. A Trump presidency was unthinkable and fries tasted differently. Now almost everyone and their grandparents have a smartphone. More parts of the country are accessible by road and rail and more people like chai lattes.

In this time, technology has changed the logistics industry in a number of ways

  1. The smartphone

Did you know that your average smartphone has at least 4 sensors? There are the accelerometer and gyroscope that help change your screen orientation. Some phones have light sensors, fingerprint scanners and even thermometers. All these sensors are constantly collecting data on smartphone users. The smartphone has become so popular, that we carry them everywhere without a second thought.

This has two implications for Logistics. First, is GPS tracking. All smartphones have GPS capabilities. It is possible to track the locations of smartphone users in real time. Before it was necessary for businesses to invest in expensive equipment and software to keep tabs on their fleet. Now the phone itself is an inexpensive and readily available GPS tracker with many other uses.

The second implication is the pervasiveness of smartphones. Legacy software was necessary to link logistics providers with their consumers. Now that everyone has a smartphone, the platform already exists. It is simply a question of how to leverage it.

Sendy, for instance, eliminates the need for a fleet in the first place. Its platform connects drivers and their cars to businesses that need them. The platform uses smartphone GPS to enable real-time tracking of deliveries.

  1. Data

Data is the oil of the 21st Century: cliché but true. Home appliances and phones are increasingly connected to the internet. McKinsey expects the Internet of Things industry to 581 billion dollars by 2020. The logistics industry is expected to spend 40 billion dollars worldwide on the Internet of things by 2020.

This growth boils down to the importance of data in business. With more data, you get a better understanding of who your consumers are and what they need. With more data, you can pinpoint inefficiencies in your business operations. Through leveraging mobile phones, it is now easier than ever to collect data on business costs, waiting times and routes.

  1. Documentation

Record keeping takes considerable time and money to do efficiently. Keeping the proper documents is necessary for a number of reasons. First, it is often a legal requirement to maintain certain documents. The Kenya Revenue Authority, for instance, requires businesses to maintain records of invoices and receipts that validate their reported income and expenditure. Documentation is also necessary for billing clients. Delivery notes serve as proof that goods were received by the customer and are a basis for invoicing. Sendy allows businesses to upload documents like delivery notes to their platform.

Before companies had to make employees carry around books with delivery note leaflets to track the movement of goods to their consumers. These documents are however prone to be misplaced or damaged. Technological platforms can solve this problem by generating and storing these documents online. Sendy for instance, allows Drivers to upload delivery notes. It also requires drivers to obtain the name and signatures of people receiving goods. This way Sendy customers have undeniable proof that orders were fulfilled.

Of course, technology is constantly changing and businesses need to stay ahead of current Trends. Using tech platforms such as Sendy could be one way of doing that.

Article by Glenn Ogolah, Marketing Associate

Meet July’s partner of the month: Japheth

How long have you been working with Sendy?

I started this year in the month of April.

How did you hear about Sendy?

One of my friends introduced me to Sendy.

What did you do before becoming a Sendy Partner?

I used to work as a declaration clerk but later left because I wanted to manage myself. I liked it much.

Tell us about your Family?

I have one wife and a baby girl who is in baby class with another one along the way, we live in Embakasi.

How has Sendy helped you?

I now know how to be my own manager in terms of time management, I used to wake up at 5am to go to work. But they still ask me to go back to work for them at times.

Any Challenges?

Customers sometimes request for delivery but go offline when you reach either the drop-off or pick up point, when I got there they cancelled the order. Also, today in the morning I incurred the same challenge but this time the client was unavailable.

What are your future plans?

I’m planning to go back to school God willing to advance my studies since I have a diploma in Clearing and Forwarding.

What’s your advice for other partners?

To be careful while on the road, watch all the road signs.

 

Congratulations to Japheth for being Partner of the Month!

Why everybody should take logistics seriously

It is no secret that East Africa has one of the highest logistic costs around the globe.

Various World Bank estimates suggest that transportation costs increase consumer prices by up to 40 per cent. Improvements in infrastructure, efficiencies and utilisation of vehicles have led to steady advancements in the past years. Rising fuel prices have also had an impact on the prices.

The rise of e-commerce has added another challenge to the equation. In recent years, more Kenyans have opted for the convenience of online buying. It is not rare to see social media merchants offering accessories for as little as Sh100.

PLANNING

But what sounds like a great deal might end up being a lot more expensive. Delivery of items might cost many times more than the product itself. Regardless of whether the seller or customer foots the bill, the overall cost of the product might multiply.

It then goes without saying that the uptake of e-commerce and logistics services by the manufacturers and end consumers is on the rise and may potentially increase the cost of products.

Whether you operate a small e-commerce shop or would like to sell your agricultural products, spend some extra time on planning your logistics.

And regardless of the size of the shop, everyone has to consider aspects such as packaging, billing, labelling, warehousing, transportation, payment, mobile payments or cash on delivery, returns and exchange.

INCONVENIENT

To reduce the cost of a product for the consumers while maximising on returns, there are a few things to factor in. The most obvious is delivery.

While many sellers still deliver goods to their customers on their own, this becomes inconvenient as soon as demand grows. Delivering it by yourself might seem to be cheaper but it will take away precious time. Furthermore, acquiring delivery vehicles is expensive.

Other delivery services require you to drop the package at their offices, which will also affect your productive time. That is why most e-commerce shops opt for door-to-door deliveries to reduce delivery time and enhance safety and customer satisfaction.

PACKAGING

To many sellers, packaging is more of a necessity than an important choice. But the right packaging will save you money as it reduces damage and increases product safety.

Traditionally, one would pay the same amount per package regardless of whether you deliver one or five to your client. Not anymore, especially with modern door-to-door delivery companies.

All companies that deliver directly to clients are struggling with a high rate of returns. Don’t take this for granted. You have various options to reduce this cost. Ensure that you communicate properly and that your goods live up to the expectations of the client.

OPTIMISATION

Also, consider the protection of goods to be delivered. Every damaged or stolen product is a financial loss. Rather than working twice as hard to recover the loss, insure goods in transit and track them in real time.

Lastly, optimisation of logistics is equally important. A sale is not a sale until it is paid for. And how well businesses manage their logistics will determine if their clients will pay or return the goods.

 

Article by Marvin Kirschner Growth Hack Lead at Sendy. This article was also published on 17th August in the Daily Nation.

Sendy targets SMEs with a 33% price cut on prepay deliveries

Kenyan based delivery platform Sendy has reduced prices of  Pickup, Van and Truck deliveries by up to 33% in a move to have more small and medium businesses do deliveries through the platform.

A Pickup and a Van now costs Ksh. 1,500 for a 5Km distance while a 3 Tonne truck costs Ksh. 4,500 for a 20Km distance. Doing deliveries using a Pickup or a Van will now cost Ksh. 750 less, while a 3 Tonne truck will cost Ksh.1,400 less.

Speaking in a press statement, Sendy Founder and CEO Meshack Alloys said that the decision to reduce prices for these vehicle categories was in a move to increase deliveries for Pickup, Vans and Trucks while creating demand for drivers using their platform to make an income.

“We decided to reduce prices of these vehicle types not only to increase uptake of customers doing deliveries with us but most importantly, to create demand of our Pickup, Vans and Trucks for our Drivers,” Mr. Meshack Alloys said.

With over 5,000 businesses already doing deliveries with Sendy, the company hopes to increase this number following the reduction of price for these vehicle types, mostly used by businesses.

“We would like to get on board as many businesses as we can to do deliveries with us efficiently using technology, to save them time and logistics costs. We would also like to target the SMEs such as the hardware owners and the mama mbogas to do deliveries using our platform by offering them affordable delivery prices.  We currently have over 5,000 businesses and hope to double this number with the various initiatives we are undertaking including making our prices competitive as well as having more partners to fulfil all our clients’ needs” Mr. Alloys added.

Recently, the company signed up over 5,000 businesses by connecting them to the Motorcycles, Pickups, Vans and Trucks in the platform, in a bid to help them optimize their logistics while saving on their operational costs and time spent on doing deliveries internally.

 

This article also appeared on the Business Daily on 14th August 2018.

4 reasons to get someone else to do your deliveries

I imagine you run a successful business somewhere in Nairobi’s underbelly where the real money is made on Kirinyaga road or one of the many nameless streets and buildings in the CBD. There are good days and bad days as it is with anything in life.

Back to your business. Every day you have goods coming in and going out. If you are a retailer, then it’s just receiving goods from your distributor and selling it to your customers. I imagine you sell automobile spare parts or miscellaneous machines. Ideally, the biggest part of your job as a businessman or woman should be getting more customers. However, moving goods is almost a full-time job. It is not just you. This is a challenge most small businesses have to deal with as they grow. It is probably a normal part of your life by now.

It should not be that way.

  1. New customers and not deliveries are how your business grows

It may seem like a strange thing to say at first but think about it. You get paid by your customers. It, therefore, follows that if you get many new customers, you earn more money. Therefore, it follows that recruiting new customers is where most of your energy should go. But that is probably not the case. Imagine yourself cruising up and down Nairobi in your Probox, making deliveries all day because your cargo is too precious and cannot be trusted to anyone else. It is hard work in service of your business but not the best use of your time. What if you spent that day talking to 10 prospective customers a day? What if you landed a deal during that time instead of competing with matatus for space on the road?

  1. There are better things to do with money

To do your own deliveries, you need to buy a car. Most likely you will save up for months or years to acquire that pickup or Probox. Alternatively, you can take a loan worth a few hundred thousand at least. But as a business person, you need to think about opportunity cost. What could a few hundred thousand do for your business? Perhaps you could get larger premises. Perhaps you can improve the quality of your product. Maybe you open a new outlet to better serve your customers. You should also consider that vehicles depreciate fast. They lose their value rapidly once you drive them off the yard. Why tie up precious capital when you have an alternative?

  1. Trust and accountability

Perhaps you have an arrangement with you’re the local pickup guy and his crew. You stroll the corner of the street and haggle then he gets two random people to help him load your goods and offload them when he gets to where he’s supposed to go. You find yourself increasingly paranoid about his movements. Often you or your employee has to accompany those goods. If not, some items might disappear or the pickup guy might run a few errands on the way before actually delivering your goods. You have to keep calling and following up to make sure things go according to plan.

  1. There are better ways to do it

There are a number of logistics service providers out there that can serve your logistics needs effectively. The foremost of these is Sendy. Need a fleet of pickups? Think again. You have access to thousands of Pickups, Vans, Trucks and Motorcycles at the touch of a button. You think you cannot trust delivery guys? Well, goods are insured while in transit. You can track Drivers in real time on your phone. You do not need anyone to accompany those deliveries and you can rest easy. Your deliveries do not have to have drama.

Article by Glenn Ogolah, Marketing Associate

 

Sendy creates delivery opportunities for drivers

Sendy Founder and CEO Meshack Alloys. Sendy is a company that connects customers with drivers to help deliver goods from one place to another. It dispatches orders in real time to its available drivers and empowers them to make money by connecting them to delivery opportunities. Sendy CEO spoke to Financial Standard about the experiences.

How long has Sendy been in operation and what has it achieved so far as a delivery platform?

It is a delivery platform whose mission is to connect businesses with local drivers. The company links customers with drivers to help deliver goods simply and transparently using a technology platform. Over the years, Sendy has managed to work with over 5,000 businesses and 50,000 individual customers because it is cost effective and efficient.

What about its pricing and safety?

The pricing is given upfront based on the distance covered. The platform also enables users to track their deliveries in real time and all the packages are insured while in transit. By doing this, Sendy gives the users peace of mind as they conduct their businesses.  Sendy’s platform allows businesses to outsource their logistics to quality and affordable service.

How would you explain the logistics sector in Kenya? How has Sendy positioned itself to tackle the challenges that come with handling deliveries?

Looking at a company’s operational expenditure, logistics cost is one of the largest components. For most firms, building an in-house fleet to deliver goods is capital intensive, time-consuming and wasteful. They will have either too many or too few vehicles on standby, limited means to track journeys and calculate fair prices. Outsourcing to informal transporters can be risky especially on high-value goods. The pricing is also not optimal because they factor in their inefficiencies such as idle time. By contrast, Sendy offers an easy to use service, lowers cost and increases transparency on the deliveries and the driver. It also provides peace of mind by connecting businesses with insurance providers to secure their goods while in transit. Companies using Sendy has managed to reduce up to 30 per cent of their logistics costs.

Explain Sendy’s operational business model.

Sendy provides a platform that links drivers with customers who have delivery needs. Drivers and owners of delivery vehicles are recruited, vetted, trained and linked on the platform. Customers then place delivery requests using the web or mobile application and they get connected in real time to the relevant vehicle. The customers get their price upfront and they can choose to pay by M-Pesa, card or cash. Sendy takes 20 per cent of the delivery cost as revenue and the remaining 80 per cent goes to the owners of the vehicle.

Who owns the company?

Sendy is a Kenyan company. I started the company in 2014 together with three other co-founders – Malaika Judd, Evanson Biwott and Don Okoth.

Why do you say Sendy is not a courier but a delivery platform?

Sendy is a platform that connects customers with delivery needs with drivers. It does not own any delivery vehicle but provides technology that makes delivery of goods simpler, cheaper and transparent.

There have been new entrants in the logistics industry lately. How is Sendy dealing with competition?

Sendy doesn’t have direct competition. Our indirect competitors include the informal transporters, traditional logistics companies, and in-house logistics. We stand out from the competitors by enabling users to make delivery request conveniently using our web or mobile application. We also differentiate ourselves from the competition by offering transparency in pricing, ability to track deliveries and security by connecting users to insurance providers that offer cover for the goods while in transit. Thanks to our real-time analytics tools, businesses are able to track their logistics costs in real time.

What are Sendy’s future plans?

Sendy operates in Kenya but there are plans to enter the Ugandan and Tanzanian markets. At Sendy, we believe it is more than delivering goods. We believe that delivery unlocks potential, powers business growth and opens up a world of new possibilities. Sendy is focussing on partnering with SMEs, corporates, and manufacturers to unlock new possibilities by powering their business growth.

This interview was first published in The Standard on Tuesday, July 31 2018.