Focusing on the last mile
Calyn Yap 
In the longer term, GoLog wants to establish airport luggage hubs, which would help travellers move their luggage to and from the airport

THE local logistics industry has seen strong growth on the back of the e-commerce boom in the country, but there is also increasing competition despite its brimming potential.

That said, GoBuilders Netsoft Sdn Bhd (GoLog) believes it has what it takes to carve out a niche in the market.

Leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence, its vision is to connect businesses with smart logistics and deliver a better experience for drivers and customers/users.

Its founder and CEO Ivan Chin Wen Hau explains, “What we’re building now is the process – the “brain” – so the system will automatically study orders and segregate it to the right drivers.”

“Through the use of technology, we intend to achieve a safer, faster and more reliable way for deliveries to be done,” adds its operations and finance head Justin Tai Yee Shen.

The on-demand logistics start-up delivers its services through a progressive web app-enabled (PWA) website. PWAs use a web interface to deliver a responsive, app-like experience for users.

While last-mile logistics remain a challenge, he says it is important to constantly improve based on customer feedback and concerns.

One such area is to improve the tracking system to enable customers to track the location of the driver fulfilling the order. Another is implementing a simple matching system for drivers to state their preferred delivery times and access orders that fit within that timeframe, which will be rolled out in two to three months.

These are among some of the items on its IT waiting list, which details improvements suggested by customers and drivers alike.


Looking to grow

This month, it will send out 20 agents to monitor the market and sign on more customers.

Chin explains, “Our agents would be similar to property or insurance agents in that they’ll be more focused on sales, but, in the worst-case scenario, as backup drivers. The main task is to sign up customers and get them to buy Logpoints to use our services. In return, agents earn commission.”

One Logpoint – the currency used in GoLog – is equivalent to RM1.

Apart from that, the start-up wants to create an ecosystem around its core delivery service to help connect local businesses. This will be done through the establishment of GoLog Business Hubs, where business owners such as car wash centres or food and beverage outlets can join to become a hub – reward or service partners.

“We came up with the idea so both users and drivers can have more benefits using our platform, for example GoLog member-specific promotions,” he adds.

Taking it a step further is the idea of the Business Hub Plus, which means GoLog will be able to use its space as a shared warehouse. The start-up is currently in discussion with business owners, but it hopes to run a test run as soon as May and a beta version in June.

Following the launch of the business hubs, it will look to raise RM400,000 from an equity crowdfunding platform to spur initial growth for the hubs and cover operational costs. At the time, it is open to outside investment.


Planning for the future

While the start-up is eyeing overseas expansion in its 2019 business plans, it will focus on creating a stronger foundation in West Malaysia this year, namely in states such as Melaka, Penang and Ipoh in Perak.

Along with expansion into the states, delivery areas for the drivers will increase as well. At present, it does deliveries from Seremban or Negeri Sembilan to the Klang Valley and the reverse as well.

In the longer term, GoLog wants to establish airport luggage hubs, which would help travellers move their luggage to and from the airport.

A traveller would – upon arrival in an airport – be able to deposit luggage at the hub, which will be tagged automatically with a GPS tracking beacon, picked up by a driver and then sent for check-in to the hotel on the traveller’s behalf.

Moreover, a traveller can also use this service to send luggage to the hub in advance, eliminating the hassle of having to find a storage space for luggage in the time between hotel check-out and flight departure.

“We’re talking about changing people’s habits. The first stop for you [as a traveller] is to the hotel to place your luggage,” says Tai.

As security could be a potential issue, he stresses that GoLog will be able to trace the luggage via the tracking beacon as well as the driver’s phone.

That said, plans for the airport luggage hub are still in its early stages as the start-up is still in the midst of adjustments.

He shares, “There are some aspects that are under discussion. For example, do we directly link with Malaysia Airports [Holdings Bhd], with the airlines, travel aggregator platforms or hotel booking websites?”

“We’ll first do it domestically as it’s important to test the idea, but maybe initially we’ll go for bus stops,” adds Chin.

Making a difference

ESTABLISHED in October last year, GoBuilders Netsoft Sdn Bhd (GoLog) is an on-demand logistics start-up that wants to focus on providing a seamless delivery experience for its customers and drivers.

Unlike other similar services, it does not charge based on weight limit but on distance travelled by the driver. Package size is a factor as well, as the start-up’s drivers include those using motorcycles and cars.

At present, it has some 150 active drivers and has fulfilled nearly 1,000 deliveries thus far.

The majority of its customers are SMEs, as it is becoming inevitable for these smaller companies to embrace technological innovation for better supply chain management. In terms of sectors, its customers tend to be florists, cake houses, balloon shops and event organisers.

GoLog founder and CEO Ivan Chin Wen Hau and its operations and finance head Justin Tai Yee Shen came up with the idea for the start-up following a bad experience with an online purchase two years ago.

“We went for the Formula One (F1) show in Sepang two years back, so we ordered F1 shirts and merchandise online two weeks before. We assumed it’d arrive in time, but it came three days after the event. We thought there must be a faster and better way to do last-mile fulfilment.

“Also, e-commerce is booming and logistics can’t cope with the demand and volume, with e-commerce players constantly looking for external delivery partners,” shares Tai.

The biggest challenge starting up GoLog, Chin says, was to build a team with the right core members that had industry expertise, finance capabilities and technology knowhow.

Another obstacle it faced was in adjusting the business plan. Initially, GoLog thought it was sufficient to link customer/business orders with drivers, but quickly realised it was not what their customers wanted.

Chin explains, “We started out quite optimistically and it sounded easy to find a group of people who wanted to send items and connect them to drivers. It turned out that customers and businesses demanded for something very different from what we perceived.

“After they have made an order, they don’t want excuses. They just want it delivered as per their order. In our phase one beta version, we only had a minimum viable product and it was a stage for us to improve and find out the real problems.”

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 274.