Just a month ago, the news on Amazon acquiring Whole Foods in the US rocked the grocery retail industry for good reasons, but the event did more than simply disrupt the industry. With so many other avenues to tap on, smaller companies should take this as a leap forward and a potential to grow through customer-focused solutions that put emphasis on last-mile delivery.
While there are many industries in which Amazon has already expanded across the world, this disruption can only push smaller businesses to adapt to change through a new level of speed and flexibility.
On 27th July 2017, Amazon Prime Now, dubbed as one of the company’s “most innovative products”, has just been launched in Singapore — and that means customers will be able to place orders for same-day or next-day deliveries.
According to information on the Prime Now app, there are two delivery options for Singapore customers for a limited time: a S$5.99 fee for orders above S$40 for deliveries within two hours, and S$9.99 for one-hour deliveries. Two-hour shipping for orders more than S$40 will be free. Subsequently, users will have to access the app with a membership.
What does this mean for smaller players on the market?
While this may sound daunting to smaller companies, this new launch can actually work as a great benefit for local businesses as more consumers become used to receiving goods on the same day, fact which pushes smaller companies to adopt alternative tactics.
Maarten Hemmes, CEO at CarPal, a leading on-demand supply chain management solution in Singapore, highlights that Amazon’s launch in Singapore pushes a movement (on-demand delivery within a few hours, for a reasonable fee) from the US to Southeast Asia.
According to Hemmes, CarPal was built with the same goal in mind. Today, local businesses – both B2C retailers and B2B logistics players – will have to enter this field in order to survive. To thrive, players will have to find a way to compete with Amazon without having to purchase warehouses and additional fleet, and that’s where CarPal can come in.
Next to providing the necessary technology, CarPal has been on the market for 3 years and has first-hand same-day delivery expertise as well as a fleet of 10,000 freelance drivers to help B2C and B2B businesses compete with big players like Amazon.
This isn’t done just for the sake of competition, but because Amazon will cause a major shift in the consumer landscape. Hence, businesses that will not adapt, will not survive.
Local businesses know that they can compete with the same levels of service like giants retailers provide, and even take it one step further.
Laszlo Kis-Horvath, sales manager at CarPal and a SEA logistics expert with over 5 years of experience in the region pinpoints that Amazon is expected to push local players in e-commerce and logistics to up their game significantly. As Amazon brings prime and same-day delivery at affordable rates and set a new standard on the market, companies will need to adapt to change.
The last-mile is only one part of the secret ingredients. Some other important aspects companies should focus on include strategically located and very efficient fulfillment centres combined with a mix of in-house or fixed contract drivers and flexible (crowdsourced) fleet that will ensure same-day deliveries at an attractive price point.
Adapting to change
To scale delivery operations, it’s important to find the right delivery management solution to ensure more efficient deliveries. In order to accomplish this, using tech to streamline operations and dispatch orders automatically is a must.
Today, it’s extremely important to plan deliveries by forecasting orders. For instance, during peak times of the year, companies will require a more solid plan on how to deal with an increased order volume.
Companies can then build a healthy last-mile ecosystem by expanding their networks and tapping into a hybrid fleet to drive cost down.
Last-mile can become a sustainable ecosystem where your very own fleet and partnerships with local delivery companies are successfully growing your delivery logistics. If properly managed, this scenario can offer companies the flexibility to scale the business needs and use multiple resources that fit increased demand across multiple locations.
Using tech as a competitive edge
In order to streamline operations and ensure that deliveries are timely, it’s crucial to leverage your services with tech to facilitate delivery speed as well as better manage the distribution of orders.
It’s important to look for a solution that is flexible enough to be layered on top of existing technology to level-up the management of drivers and the optimization of orders.
Real-time tracking through smart devices, smooth communication with drivers, having visibility and managing orders easily, optimizing routes for faster and cheaper deliveries as well as tapping onto a hybrid fleet – these are all great features that will help companies move a step forward and get an edge up this competitive market.