PharmEasy started in 2015 with a vision to deliver genuine medicines at affordable rates. Today, we’re serving more than a hundred thousand families in India. We set out to achieve our objective by optimising the supply chain and logistics.
Logistics is critical in the highly regulated business of pharmaceuticals. PharmEasy does not process orders without a valid prescription. Each order is inspected by the customer upon delivery and they reserve the right to return the medicines at their doorstep. At our scale, it’s imperative for us to solve logistical challenges via technology rather than more manpower. Thus, technology is the backbone of our logistics operations.
So, our logistics operations work this way:
Riders pick up prescriptions from customers. They then pick up medicines for those prescriptions from a licensed pharmacy. Lastly, they deliver it to our customers.
We decided fairly early in our evolution that we needed to track our riders performing each of these actions. So, the classic question of whether to build the solution in-house versus using a third-party solution got us thinking. We concluded that the rider app to manage pickups and deliveries was core to our business and we had to own it, as well as deeply integrate it with our order management backend.
However, building location tracking required expertise in device operating system and maps. Once built, we would have to constantly keep up with the latest and greatest in those technologies as they evolved. This was certainly not our area of expertise. Being an API solution, HyperTrack fits this need perfectly.
We use a number of 3rd party APIs in our stack. This is no longer an option. HyperTrack is the smart way of doing things and the need of the hour.
The use cases we have built with HyperTrack are order tracking and workforce monitoring. So far, it has turned out to be a fraction of the cost we would have incurred if we had tried to do this in-house.
In this blog, I am going to share a few problems that we have solved with HyperTrack.
The first and foremost reason for us to build order tracking was that we wanted to provide visibility into what is happening on the field. For our operations, it is absolutely critical that at any point of time we know the exact location of our riders. After we embedded HyperTrack SDK into the rider app, we were able to see the live location of our workforce on a map.
Verifying Customer Approval with Order Tracking
In the business of medicines, customers have the right to return medicines at the time of delivery. Hence, we advise our riders to make sure that the customers open the sealed package and check each medicine. Observing process adherence would lead to lower return rates.
With order tracking, we can now measure the time that our rider spends at the delivery location. We have set-up an alert that gets fired to the supervisors if the rider spends less than the expected time (The estimated time it would take a customer to verify the medicines). This has led to a reduction in the returns that we used to see.
Reimbursements Using Mileage Tracking (Planned for Future)
We reimburse our riders for up to 60kms of travel a day. We observed that a substantial number of our riders started declining orders later in the day, complaining that they have already travelled more than 60kms for the day. We had no way to verify that. Now that we have plugged in HyperTrack SDK, we will use the mileage data for rider reimbursements.
I believe that this is just a starting point in our journey to solve our supply chain and logistics problems using technology. With the power of live location tracking, the opportunity is unlimited. For example, we plan to use aggregate data to figure out bottlenecks in our supply chain. I am just excited to have started this journey and to have HyperTrack be a partner in this journey.
– Kushal Gupta
Product Manager, PharmEasy