by Kuonal Lakhapati

With the popularity and success of Uber, the mobile on-demand startups industry is turning into a gold rush in India. “On-demand deliveries” or “Uber for X” would still be unknown to many, so what exactly do these On-demand companies do? Well, it’s actually very simple; provide a platform which helps supply meet demand in real time. And how do they achieve this? Of course with the help of Tech.

What is On-demand delivery?

Rise in delivery space gave birth to quite a few “Uber for X” or “on-demand startups” in India, which deliver anything and everything on-demand. These on-demand startups connect the seeker and the provider in real time across various sectors. For example, a person can now order for his favorite pastries from any local shop in proximity and get it delivered at doorstep or get the groceries delivered to any location with a click of a button. So the idea is get anything delivered anywhere at a preferred time slot.

How does it work?

On-demand delivery concept is mainly dependent on technology. Customer would make use of mobile applications or web application to place an order. This order will be processed and passed on to the nearest vendor for fulfillment of the order. Once the vendor is ready with the order, order is pushed to the nearest delivery boy who will deliver it to the end customer within the committed time. The delivery boys usually have smart phones, which help them in viewing their order list as well as end customer details. However, the biggest challenge one could face here is to reach the right addresses using the mobile maps. Our present geographical information systems do not detect most of the times the addresses provided by the customer.

How do they locate the customer accurately?

In India, addresses are still not well structured unlike most of the western countries. In that case, how to identify nearest vendor or nearest delivery boy? How to ensure the address provided is the correct address? Unless the address is provided correctly, maps would not be able to detect location. The solution to this problem is Geocoding. So what is Geocoding? It is nothing but the process of associating an address or a name of a place with coordinates on the map.

Geocoding can be done manually where someone would check for the customer address and pinpoint it on the map and lock the coordinates. High tech hyper-local companies are now using reverse geocoding technique where in they will be able to connect with individual customer via smart phones in real time, grab their GPS signal and translate it in to coordinates when they place an order. Startups like Zippr have taken up this challenge and are building an ecosystem to map the complex addresses in India.

How to make timely deliveries?

The next step is to meet the challenge of timely deliveries. The technology enables GPS based route planning and sends real time ETA to the end customers. Features like route optimization and scheduling can help hyper-local companies to reduce their delivery costs by 30%.

How the dream of high tech logistics is achieved?

For most of the high tech logistics players, half the battle is won once they get the geocoding right. Thus most of the new generation logistic companies as well as the traditional ones are leveraging technology to optimize their operations and bring down their logistics cost. The ultimate aim of using technology is to provide real time visibility and reduce human dependency thus creating a good customer experience. Most of the on-demand startups are adapting to new technologies and probably we will soon achieve the dream of high tech logistics.

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