Friday 24 May 2024
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This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on March 28, 2022 - April 3, 2022

Whenever customers leave product reviews on the sellers’ page on e-commerce platforms, most tend to comment on their experience with the delivery of the order, even though the purveyors have little to no control over the transport of goods, which is often managed by third-party logistics companies.

Damaging reviews caused by poor delivery processes aren’t just frustrating but also damning in some cases, often overshadowing product quality, which ought to be more noteworthy.

Inconsistent ratings reflect the ineffi­ciencies in Southeast Asia’s last-mile delivery services. With e-commerce being one of the biggest industries in the world — in Asia-Pacific alone, it is expected to grow 14.3% annually with a total addressable market of US$352.68 trillion by 2030 — businesses have to adapt to e-retail to survive.

What started as a means of survival to deal with the vast changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has evolved into a part of people’s lifestyles, and couriers and express deliveries have become an essential part of the logistics ecosystem, given that a seamless experience is crucial for customer satisfaction.

Hanif Wahid noticed the problem when he started Matdespatch, an express delivery service set up in 2016 under Early Risers Sdn Bhd. His extensive experience in last-mile delivery through Matdespatch inspired him to create Delyva as an on-demand delivery service platform in 2019 to integrate courier services with businesses.

Hanif left Matdespatch in late 2020 to focus on establishing Delyva. Matdespatch, which is now largely a business-to-business logistics platform, is run by a separate management team.

DelyvaNow is aimed at all who need delivery services, be it individuals; micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); or huge companies. All users need to do is enter the postcode of the sender’s and receiver’s address, and all 27 partners that service the locality will appear, with their rates, on the selection list. The company has partnered with renowned courier companies such as Pos Laju, Ninja Van and J&T Express.

Hanif admits that it was hard to convince courier partners when he started Delyva but when big brands saw the value of the platform, which aggregates third-party applications, more couriers came on board.

For businesses, especially those with large volumes of delivery orders, integration matters — from securing riders to shipping out products on time. But not all courier companies are able to deliver to every location, be it domestically or internationally.

“Instead of [having to individually] integrate the different couriers in a system, [businesses can] just connect with them on DelyvaNow and have access to all on-demand couriers. [This way, business clients] don’t have to spend months talking to the different couriers in different localities, and they can launch their business in those geographies in less than a month with Delyva,” says Hanif.

“On the other hand, business developers can focus on improving their e-commerce systems, instead of worrying about delivery. Businesses can leverage Delyva’s aggregator system while courier partners can tap into DelyvaNow’s client database to promote their services.”

Currently, MSMEs are the majority of businesses listed on DelyvaNow. Restaurants make up a significant volume of deliveries fulfilled by the on-demand delivery platform through third-party social commerce platforms such as OrderLah!, Maynuu and Maybank’s Sama-Sama Lokal.

Delivery riders: The backbone of courier services

Hanif says securing riders and maintaining a good turnaround time can be quite challenging. Unlike normal courier services, where riders usually pick up goods in a couple of days, DelyvaNow items are picked up within a couple of hours, which sometimes stretches the manpower of its delivery services.

To resolve this, DelyvaNow provides customers the flexibility to switch to other courier partners if a rider does not arrive by a certain time.

“Restaurants and merchants can somehow guarantee a delivery, compared with those working with just one [courier partner]. Right now, if all of a sudden, the chosen courier service cannot deliver, the restaurant will have to ask one of its employees to drop whatever he or she is doing to manage the delivery,” says Hanif.

“These are some of the values we are bringing into the market, not just Malaysia but also other countries.”

The start-up has introduced DelyvaX, a more extensive version of DelyvaNow that also acts as an e-commerce platform manager. With DelyvaX, companies that have their own fleet are able to automatically assign deliveries to riders or cross-integrate by having courier partners deliver on their behalf to locations that are out of reach for them.

“For the companies that use DelyvaX, they have that flexibility to manage their own fleet, or [have goods] automatically assigned to the nearest riders or drivers, as well as optimise their routes. They can also expand their coverage by connecting to couriers with whom we have connections,” he says.

Delyva is working to add more features to assist MSMEs by providing insights and analytics on their customers based on their existing database, which will be useful in their marketing efforts.

“Big brands that have their own stores or platforms have those features built into their systems. MSMEs don’t have the capacity to develop this knowledge in-house, mainly because of the cost. This is why we are working to include these services in our offerings,” says Hanif.

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