Coca-Cola's supply chain improves AIDs drugs delivery
The Coca-Cola Company’s impressive supply chain is the result of decades’ worth of expertise; serving over 20 million retail points of sale every week.
Able to deliver soft drinks to remote African locations on a daily basis, Coca-Cola’s supply chain abilities put the efforts of governments and non-profit organisations to shame, who until 2010 took up to 30 days to deliver life saving drugs to places like Tanzania.
'Project Last Mile'
The delay in getting drugs to patients meant that only half of those seeking vaccinations in the country would find the appropriate drug was available, which led to ‘Project Last Mile’, a partnership between the Global Fund and Coca-Cola, which was designed to help maximise the delivery of vital drugs, medicines and medical supplies to the people who need them most.
Gabriel Jaramillo, General Manager of the Global Fund, said: "Unfortunately, when medicine is available, it doesn't always reach the people who need it. Supply chains in remote parts of the world often don't work efficiently, and that can mean that deaths that should be prevented still occur. What we noticed was that Coca-Cola's products always seemed to get to every remote regions and we thought that if they could get their product there, with their support, maybe we could too."
Originally developed in cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Accenture Development Partnerships, Yale University's Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI), and government partners like Tanzania’s Medical Stores Department, "Project Last Mile" was designed to allow Coca-Cola to share it’s expertise. Using Coca-Cola’s proven logistics models, helping Tanzania to develop the basics of supply chain management, implementing a new stock management system and allowing officials to sit in on Coke’s existing training programmes.
Since the pilot began in 2010, the project has benefitted nearly 20 million people in the ten regions where the revised distribution model has been implemented, allowing better access to critical medicines. It has reduced the lead time for medicine delivery, reducing the delivery time from 30 to five days, in addition to enabling health facilities to place their own orders for medicines; improving the availability of critical medicines in health clinics by 20 to 30 percent.
Building on the successes in Tanzania, the project has expanded to Ghana, to improve access to essential medicines and vaccines. Additionally, a partnership with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been established as Project Last Mile continues to expand to other regions. In scaling up into Mozambique partners will leverage an existing collaboration between Coca-Cola and the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.