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Ensuring fast, reliable deliveries for customers with Google Maps Platform

Editor’s note: Today’s article comes from Alex Papaspiridis, Head of Product and Agamemnon Papazoglou, Director of Strategy, Skroutz Last Mile. They share how Skroutz was able to automate its routing at scale and handle its deliveries in a more robust and agile manner, improving efficiencies and increasing delivery fulfillment rates with Google Maps Platform.

Skroutz is one of Greece’s largest online marketplaces, so we know that when it comes to deliveries, the one thing more important than speed is reliability. When we promise to deliver at a certain time, we want to deliver on that promise. But with Greece’s unreliable courier services, that was easier said than done. So in January 2020, we launched our own delivery service, Skroutz Last Mile, to provide our customers with a delivery experience to match the convenience of the rest of our shopping service.

We now provide a streamlined and highly flexible last-mile delivery service running on Google Maps Platform, built to handle the fluctuations in demand that typify online retail, and to withstand all the accidents, traffic, and last-minute changes that our drivers experience every day. 

But it wasn’t always so simple. When we first launched Skroutz Last Mile, we used a third-party platform. This platform ticked a number of boxes, but when we began to scale up and take on more deliveries throughout Greece it proved problematic. We couldn’t plan routes for large batches of orders, and were forced to process small batches one after another. This was hugely time consuming, and led to many sleepless nights processing orders before the morning’s deliveries.

Automated order processing for optimal delivery routes

Now, with Google Maps Platform, sleepless nights are a thing of the past. With its highly customizable parameters, Cloud Fleet Routing allows us to adjust all the necessary variables for each batch of orders, to ensure that delivery routes are as efficient as possible. And because the whole system is fully automated, we are able to process batches of orders seven or eight times the size of those we could with the previous system, in significantly less time. We can also process several batches in parallel, making our operation far more streamlined. 

Every evening, we look at what resources we have available for the next day’s deliveries, such as the drivers’ availability, the capacity of their vehicles, and the speeds they drive. We enter those details into the system, along with the details of the workload: how many packages, their size, weight, destination, priority level, when they need to arrive, and so on. Cloud Fleet Routing gives us the routes. And we get to enjoy a full night’s sleep.

The Skroutz driver team

Improving driver efficiency with fully integrated workflows

Google Maps Platform has also transformed the way our delivery drivers work. Because we were previously unable to integrate our routing app with the Skroutz drivers’ app, drivers would have to switch from one to the other during deliveries. This was particularly cumbersome when it came to delivering to out-of-home smart lockers, with drivers using the routing app en route, before switching to the Skroutz app to open the locker and complete the delivery, then back to the routing app to continue the journey. 

With Google Maps Platform, that has all changed. Thanks to the Last Mile Fleet Solution, we are able to integrate the drivers’ routes into our own app. We are now in the beta phase of integrating the Navigation SDK too, embedding turn-by-turn instructions into the drivers’ workflow. As a result, our drivers will be able to use a single app for their entire journey. We have already noticed a significant improvement in drivers’ efficiency, with the average time in the warehouse down from 41 minutes to 35 minutes per shift.

The Skroutz team can visualize drivers, traffic, and routing progress

Giving customers what they want, when they want it

At the same time, Last Mile Fleet Solution has streamlined the work of our operations team. We have a richer flow of information regarding our fleet, including real-time driver locations and traffic data, and ETA predictions for every package. Thanks to this data, we have been able to build both internal tools for our dispatch team to know, for example, whether the driver is on schedule and when they’re returning to the warehouse, as well as customer-facing tools to let them know exactly when to expect their package. We are now able to deliver our customers’ packages on time 94% of the time, up from 85% before implementing Google Maps Platform.

Altogether, it is a very different experience from just a few months ago. We were previously in a world of anxiety, worrying about the scalability and reliability of the platform. Google Maps Platform has now freed us from those constraints and given us the confidence to scale up our operations and continue to build a better product.

That’s good news for the Skroutz Last Mile team, who can now focus their energy on making our delivery service the best it can be. And most importantly it’s good news for our customers. They know that when we promise they will have their orders on time, we’ll deliver.  

For more information on Google Maps Platform, visit our website.

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