THE surge in deliveries via its digital platform has helped GD Express (GDex) regain some business that was lost from its biggest contributor, which are the hotel, leisure and retail sectors.
“We have seen a net gain of 10% to 15% in delivery volume during this movement control order (MCO) period and will hire more staff for the digital platform, ’’ said GDex CEO Teong Teck Lean (pic).
In line with its strategy to be the premier regional platform for deliveries, the company will hire 300 to 400 more staff, on top of 4,500 currently, that includes free lancers and agents, in Malaysia.
Regionally, GDex and its partners have 10,000 employees while in Japan, the Yamato group which is its 22.8% stakeholder, has more than 200,000 staff members.
Post MCO, GDex will invest more resources in technology development and delivery infrastructure as it looks for more efficient ways of managing its distribution and delivery channels.
Adapting to the new way of doing business, it will also assist its clients to be digitised quickly.
The use of robotics, automation, real-time data and artificial intelligence are all in the planning, and will be executed at the right time.
The surge in volume during the MCO period had posed an operational challenge, but GDex was able to cope with it and clear the backlog in the shortest time possible.
Increased orders are coming from e-commerce platforms during the MCO period and also through cyber and Hari Raya festive sales.
Traditional offline businesses are switching fast to digital platforms; businesses are also selling through social commerce platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, or their own websites to boost sales.
Gdex wants to capture this volume switch, and also to get more consumer to consumer business, which are transactions between individuals, via its platform myGDex, where deliveries are picked up from the individual client’s doorstep.
Since the end of March, customers from China, who were almost absent during the lockdown, are now starting to ship their items again into Malaysia.
This cross border volume for e-commerce products from China, which used to contribute 8% to 9% of total volume, is set to recover.
Besides the increase in volume as economies reopen, the composition of this volume from offline to online, will also change.
Among its regional partnerships, GDex will focus more on improving and stabilising its presence in Vietnam, through its 50%-owned subsidiary Noi Bai Express and Trading Joint Stock (Netco), before it moves on to other countries.
Netco contributed about RM13mil or 15% of group revenue in the third quarter of financial year 2020.
PT Satria Antaran Prima (SAPX), a 44.5%-owned associate in Indonesia, is profitable, and has contributed about RM4.5mil in profits to the group in the past nine months.
The demand for delivery services in Indonesia has increased during the lockdown period, and SAPX has the ready infrastructure to deliver throughout Indonesia.
Netco, which has a bigger business to business exposure for transactions between businesses in Vietnam, had a slow start in the year as its customers were affected by Covid-19.
But Netco is quickly adapting to e-commerce deliveries and growing on a month-to-month basis; as the Vietnamese economy has re-opened since the end of April, volume is expected to recover.
Both SAPX and Netco are operating in high-growth emerging economies and their contributions to the group are likely to grow.
Besides launching the myGDex series, the company has transformed its operational module from handheld computers to smart phone applications.
It has converted its call centre to be cloud-based, having an open application programme for ease of integration with other platforms, acceptance of e-wallet payments and having dashboards to monitor operational performance.
Web Bytes, which is a 32.69%-owned associate, is a cloud-based point-of-sales and software development company that works closely with the internal teams at GDex to accelerate its digital transformation.
GDex has its in-house technology group as well as innovation and development teams.
As the group aims to stay focused on building up its business country by country, it is working to solidify its regional footprint.
Columnist Yap Leng Kuen notes the rapid development of multi-channels for digital delivery services. The views expressed are the writer’s own.