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Interview with WHENSO Labs’ CTO: Logistics as a Brand Differentiator for Retail and E-commerce Business

By Thomas Cheah • June 13, 2018 • Filed in: Business Innovation, Digital Transformation

Adit Rahim (Head of Corporate Communications for Sedania Innovator Berhad) interviewed Elbert Chuah (CTO of WHENSO Labs) in our Hard Talk session at SME Innovation Stories #4 (hosted by Fusionex) regarding why logistics is an essential element to deliver modern brand experience for retail sector. Many customers today have high expectations on logistics services from retailers especially those with e-commerce operations.

Adit Rahim: Many retailers and e-commerce owners tend to overlook logistics out of a concern for saving costs. What are the potential business risks of doing so?

Elbert Chuah: Most retail owners are often blind and clueless on the last mile delivery. They may have very good products or services, but if their logistics operation is not efficient, customers might just walk away due to long waiting time and they are left clueless on whether their order is being processed or otherwise.

Elbert Chuah“Most retail owners are often blind and clueless on the last mile delivery. They may have very good products or services, but if their logistics operation is not efficient, customers might just walk away due to long waiting time and they are left clueless on whether their order is being processed or otherwise.”

- Elbert Chuah, CTO of WHENSO Labs

Adit Rahim: We keep hearing today’s customers are increasingly demanding for full transparency to their orders status. Is that true? What are the top 5 customer expectations on logistics and delivery service?

Elbert Chuah: They want to: (i) receive acknowledgement on delivery confirmation, (ii) know their delivery ongoing (in-transit) status. (iii) know the ETA of their delivery. (iv) have a two-way communication with the delivery crew. (v) be able to provide review and feedback.

Adit Rahim: Most e-commerce companies outsource their logistics operation as they believe it can be handled more efficiently. With logistics technology getting more prevalent and affordable, do you see any compelling reasons for them to internalize their logistics?

Elbert Chuah: There is such a trend towards internalization of logistics operation especially in the F&B retail. This is due to the changing customer behavior that increases the demand of food delivery services. Having your own logistics team supported with latest logistics technology will ensure better control and provide better visibility of your operation to manage demanding expectations of today’s customers.

Adit Rahim: You mentioned that the first step to improve logistics management is collecting useful data. What are the key data to collect? And how to collect them?

Elbert Chuah: We created a dashboard with metrics and KPIs that measure our operation efficiency. Some of the useful metrics such as capacity of the man power versus the delivery load and the trend of idle resources can give us a lot of insights on the gaps for improvement in our logistics operation. With mobility becoming more pervasive, collecting these data is no longer a no longer far fetch.

Adit Rahim: Assuming that the data are collected as you recommended, what’s next? Can you inspire us on the possibilities and potential opportunities to drive better customer experience?

Elbert Chuah: Once these data are captured, they should be used as case study reports to understand the operational issues. Aside from helping the company to understand their delivery crew better for performance appraisal, they can also gain useful insights on customer needs, preferences, and spending patterns.

What is SME Innovation Stories Series?

This is a talk series that shares and analyzes case studies of digital transformation projects in the SMEs. The objective is to provide inspirations for SME business owners and CEOs on variety of ways they can innovate their business. The discussion will be presented in storytelling form of real-world projects, instead of theories and concepts.

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About The Author

Thomas CheahThomas Cheah is the Principal CTO-for-hire of Procto. He helps business owners and executives to innovate their business model thru strategic technology management so that they get 80% of the benefit for 20% of the cost. If you have innovative ideas but do not the technical expertise, he is your partner to validate and build your digital business models. Thomas believes that constant business innovation is increasingly important in today's business environment so that our business is prepare for rapid change of customer behavior, rising cost, and globalization in order to stay ahead (or away) of competition.

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