Approach with caution! Seriously smart people at work… our Chief Technology Officer Pawel Kaplanski discusses the tech engine that’s at the core of Deliver In Person’s differentiation.
Good morning, Pawel! Firstly, you’re no slouch in the smarts department. Can you give us a quick overview of your experience in the tech space?
Good morning! I sure can. My interests are Artificial Intelligence, data science and optimisation, and computer programming. I have a PhD in AI from Gdansk University in Poland, and upon moving to Australia, became an Assistant Professor at Sydney University. Previously I worked in software engineering for Samsung. Supply chain optimisation is my specific area of application, and I’ve published 45 papers and filed 2 patents in this field. That’s how I came to be a co-founder of Deliver In Person – we’re in the process of filing a third patent for what we’re building here!
Pawel, terms like ‘proprietary tech’, ‘AI’, ‘machine learning algorithms’ are all bandied about constantly but there’s often little insight into what these mean. Can you break it down for us?
I can try! Proprietary tech simply means tech that’s been built specifically for a company that they own – it’s not open-source or available to be bought, and it’s treated like a competitive advantage. There’s definitely a degree of privacy involved, because you don’t want to give away the secret of what you’ve developed! AI means artificial intelligence, and similar to machine learning algorithms, it’s the ability to create software that will become increasingly efficient – it learns from the data that’s input to improve itself over time.
Okay, so what’s the challenge you’re trying to solve?
Very simply, to create a logistics network that’s unbelievably efficient, so it can stand up to the demands of same-day eCommerce needs and is infinitely scalable.
And how do other players in the industry navigate this today?
Well, firstly compare with traditional logistics infrastructure. They load up their parcels into vans first thing in the morning and that’s it for the rest of the day. The daily routes and routines are fairly static. Even if someone has a parcel 2km away, you can’t deviate from the established process – it needs to be collected by the ‘collectors’, taken to a sortation centre some distance away, sorted, and then allocated for delivery, to go back 2km from where it began!
When you look at point to point couriers, such as the food delivery companies that have diversified, they can manage optimisation but only for a single parcel, from point A to point B, to show the most efficient route. Imagine if a company is doing 10,000 parcels a day – that’s 10,000 individual routes. Whereas with an eCommerce specialist such as Deliver In Person, you have drivers doing, say, ten parcels per hour – so over an 8 hour shift, that’s only 125 individual routes. You can see the reduction in both cars on the road, and the kilometres needed to shift 10,000 parcels.
So, what have you developed for Deliver In Person?
The first optimisation is the physical – using a micro, mobile sortation approach rather than big fixed infrastructure that’s located remotely. Think of this like a pop-up shop – a sortation location that can be nestled in the heart of the most active suburbs, and moved as demands dictate!
By decentralising distribution with this approach, we can use AI optimisation in real-time to constantly route deliveries through the most efficient path. It’s not ‘set and forget’ in the morning, at every point it’s gaining time and minimising distance.
And lastly, what are some of the wider benefits?
Environmental sustainability is a driving purpose for us. This approach means fewer kms and less carbon emissions as drivers are using the most direct routes and there’s less ‘back to the source’ inefficiency to drop off undelivered parcels or travel into the remote areas where sortation centres are usually located.
Then there’s less wastage with our drivers – waiting time is reduced and they’re delivering more parcels per route, so they’re earning – not burning!
All of this adds up to a more efficient, sustainable and reliable same-day delivery service for both our business customers and the end recipient.