Updated: 22/12/19

Our same-day logistics management platform is fundamental to everything we do at Gophr. So, we thought we’d share how we built the brains of our business. We’ll explain how our system chooses and finds vehicles in real-time, why we’re different to traditional couriers and subsequently, why our customer satisfaction rates remain the highest in the same-day courier space..

 

Our same-day logistics management platform allows us to have total oversight to every part of the business. The reason we built it was because we wanted to be the ones to change an industry which was among the worst for customer satisfaction, with an average NPS score of 27. And, we have done just that, with our NPS score for 2019 sitting at 68.9. In doing this, we’ve developed a platform that manages and balances same-day logistics, courier supply vs. customer demand and makes sure it does it automatically and in real-time. Smart.

 

Establishing Supply & Demand

To lay our foundations, we looked at both sides of the supply and demand equation to outline what we wanted our platform to manage. So, in terms of priority, this is what we came up with:

 

Once we fully established what we were aiming to do with our platform, it was time to delve into the finer details.

 

The Devil is in the Details

With logistics, gathering intelligence around the customer, the courier, the location and the consignment are paramount to delivering a successful outcome. The higher the accuracy of the information going in, the greater the overall efficiency. So, we compiled a list of details that we needed to focus on with regards to supply and demand:

 

Gophr vs. Traditional Courier Companies

Now, the one big thing that’s missing here, compared to how most traditional courier companies operate, is the vehicle type. 

In the traditional courier space, the vehicle drives the price, followed by the pick up and delivery location. This approach is still widely used by courier companies, and came about because it was impossible to verify the size of the parcel. However, since the advent of mobile phone cameras, this no longer needs to be the case. 

Nowadays, it’s far easier to provide instant photographic evidence that the item the customer said was roughly the size of a shoebox was actually much closer to the size of a large buffalo. 

From the outset, we’ve always asked for the parcel size, so we can choose the most environmentally-friendly vehicle for the job. But, we always give you the option to decide for yourself. You can choose from bikes and cargo bikes to motorcycles, vans and more. We believe that couriers should be paid more to carry a box weighing 50kg (or a buffalo weighing 550kg) into their vans than a similarly sized box that weighs a fraction of that; the 50kg box is more work to carry and is physically more exerting.

“Road cargo should be treated the same as air cargo, where the weight and dimensions of consignments are absolutely crucial to managing work.” Click To Tweet

We think that road cargo should be treated just as carefully as air cargo, where the weight and dimensions of consignments are absolutely crucial to managing work. That thinking hasn’t quite made its way back down into road freight, and we want to change that at scale. 

To give some perspective, TFL’s most recent report mentions how poorly-utilised vans are in the capital; “The average load factor for vans in London is 38 per cent (about 300kg payload). Thirty-nine per cent of vans are less than one quarter full.” According to an older 2007 report, up to 60% of courier vans were even less at 25% capacity or less.

The truth is, asking customers what type of vehicle they want should actually be pretty irrelevant, as long as the job is done efficiently, arrives on time and is as environmentally friendly as possible.

This became very clear to us in our early customer research. We found huge amounts of people booking motorcycles to send envelopes less than 2 miles away. Customers often assume that motorcycles are faster and should get their quicker. However, over shorter distances, a cycle courier will generally trounce a motorcyclist. If you’ve ever seen a professional cycle courier at work (emphasis on ‘professional’) this should come as no surprise.

 

How We Built It

This research affected how our booking engine was designed. We built a platform where customers can: 

  1. Enter the pick up and delivery location for the job
  2. Define the item characteristics
  3. Choose from a list of vehicles that our platform suggests (users are still free to change to whatever they wish)

The key here is the direction of travel and capacity. Once requested, the Gophr system scans all the available active couriers that are suitable for the job. Those that are close by and travelling in the same direction are prioritised. It does this by looking at their existing pick up and delivery locations (including ETA’s and deadlines) and their current and future capacity.

If there’s any risk that a courier won’t complete the job on time or to the customers specific requirements, the courier will not be sent the job notification. This limits the amount of poorly-performed jobs, which means, no unhappy customers waiting on their parcels. Therefore most of the pain points of dealing with couriers are solved. 

This is a shining example of how smart technology can improve the efficiency and accuracy of an outdated industry. It also plays a huge role towards our outstanding customer satisfaction rates. 

There are many more variables and exceptions involved within the Gophr platform’s functions. However, we won’t go into all the details as it can get quite complex/boring.

With advancing technology and changes to customer demands, our platform is ever-evolving. We’re continually improving our system and feel that this logic allied with our API and all the other elements we’ve built are putting us in a very strong position to deliver some game-changing innovations going forward.

 

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