Mobility is changing product distribution fundamentally in ways like never before and it is disrupting all traditional ways of doing business. Traditional way has been that of preset beats that last mile workers like Sellers or Drivers follow like zombies irrespective of actual tasks, rather than following optimal dynamic routes, which would result in an obvious savings.
While working on a Unilever intrapreneurial project, Saubhagya Sahoo started investigating the possibility of a GPS-based dynamic route planning system, which could create optimal routes for several destinations and preferably for several drivers. “This was a complex challenge not solved by anyone before, and even if parts of the research (especially multi-destination planning) were Open-sourced by Google, there was not a single application or algorithm that solved the problem for enterprises as well as do this multi-destination-multi-driver planning. The end-user point of view was that nobody really knew enough to solve this age-old problem,” he said.
People know that deliveries were problematic, but no distributor bothered until the moment he realized that 41% of his distribution cost went into delivery related activities, and almost 80% of that was a black hole – with no data visibility. In terms of the impact on his margin or income, a distributor suddenly had a way of going for a 100% upside, besides long term benefits from superior customer service levels. So, even if the larger corporates didn’t grasp it at first, distributors, both offline as well as e-retailers that together made India’s trillion dollar retail market, would lap it up if we could somehow manufacture this solution.
This led Saubhagya to launch GrayDrop for Drivers, which is similar to what HUD and Black-box is to a Pilot. It provides a heads-up display with delivery status, drops, tasks, routes, road conditions, fuel points and ETA to the driver, while providing a real time Black-box like Analytics engine to owners and their customers to measure service efficiency, collections status, and dig-deep in case of non-compliance.
The technical solution of multi-destination multi-driver planning problem along with road hazard auto-detection and up to 20 other claims have been patented by Gray Routes, and all these 25+ High-end features are available to GrayDrop license users.
SuperMax Supply Chain Manager, CV Karthik, who happens to endorse GrayDrop, explains that the app has helped them in solving multiple critical problems with the same design – that of fleet owners managing and monitoring their delivery resources in real time, as well as that of operations managers planning last mile deliveries and measuring delivery compliance, besides providing damage and road condition alerts to drivers.