Key supply chain disruptors in the Middle East and Asia

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Gautam Kumar, co-founder and chief operations officer for e-commerce software developer FarEye, identifies three key trends likely to affect supply chains in the Middle East and Asia in 2019

Spurred on by growing customer expectations, supply chain and logistics providers in the Middle East and Asia (MEA) have evolved significantly in recent years, but there is still a plethora of challenges that need to be addressed.

As we step into 2019, let us quickly glance through three major supply chain and logistics trends that are likely to impact businesses in the MEA region.

Adoption of advanced supply chain and logistics platforms
In the Middle East, small-scale restaurant owners are finding it difficult to compete with food aggregators that have no intention of generating profits. Revenue from the food delivery market is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 13.6% in the Middle East, resulting in a market volume of US$2.8bn by 2023. Hence, it’s not surprising that investors will continue to fund food aggregators.

Not worried about generating profits, these food aggregators are seldom known for playing by the rules and conflicts of interest with restaurant owners are common.

The question is: How does a restaurant compete with these aggregators who deliver food at cut-throat prices? There is no easy answer but adopting an advanced supply chain and logistics platform can surely solve a lot of problems.

By using supply chain and logistics software, restaurants are able to increase fleet visibility, boost the customer experience, optimize delivery routes, customize delivery locations and predict communications. With the way e-commerce is flourishing, it may become a necessity for organizations to digitize and automate their logistics operations completely.

Dealing with inaccurate addresses
The incorrect and inadequate postal address is a major problem that supply chain and logistics business face in the MEA region.

A large logistics company in Dubai has said that it is common to see packages and letters addressed to a person in a city with no proper delivery address. All the company has to go on is a name and a mobile number. It then becomes the delivery company’s responsibility to investigate, research and find out the intended delivery address.

To resolve the address problem, supply chain and logistics companies need to embrace artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning platforms that can leverage advanced technologies to geolocate a customer’s delivery address intelligently.

Improving last-mile delivery to boost the customer experience
Growing customer expectations such as next-day deliveries, customized delivery locations and paperless billing will continue to drive businesses to embrace advanced supply chain and logistics platforms.

Online customers in the MEA region want retailers to deliver an ‘in-store’ purchasing experience that provides instant gratification. According to Google, only 53% of retailers in the UAE offer click-and-collect as a service, and only three retailers offer next-day delivery.

The only way to keep on top of this ‘customer experience’ trend is to drastically improve last-mile deliveries with advanced software-as-a-service-based logistics and e-commerce platforms.

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