The “last mile” problem in logistics refers to the last leg in the delivery of a product from supplier to customer. It is often the least efficient link in the supply chain. For local third-party logistics company, Courex Pte Ltd, which supports retailers in their logistics operations, it saw opportunities to use technology to improve its operations in this final crucial stage to overcome challenges in delivering goods in dense urban cities.  

Through TechInnovation 2014, Courex came across a technology offering “Real-time Traffic Prediction & Route Guidance” by Nanyang Technological University (NTU). With IPI’s facilitation, Courex commissioned NTU to build a smart algorithm to optimise its route planning. The mathematically computed programme efficiently clusters articles for delivery and proposes the best route to deliver each article in the cluster. 

"Our smart algorithm can be scaled up to handle large numbers of traffic routes, which in turn means that the company can handle an exponential increase in deliveries. It is also self-learning and capable of providing alternative routes to drivers to avoid traffic congestion, enabling companies to achieve the most efficient delivery routes, saving both time and fuel costs,” said Assistant Professor Justin Dauwels, NTU’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

Courex has already benefited from improvements in productivity. For example, scheduling work that used to require two man-hours can now be autonomously completed within minutes with the new system.

“We are convinced by the returns of investment  in technology and TechInnovation offered an excellent platform for us to discover and explore potential technologies to achieve greater operational excellence. Beyond operational cost savings, efficient route planning has also enabled us to cut down on our carbon footprint. This innovation provides an added service enhancement to many reputed retailers who place their trust in Courex as the direct touch point with their customers,” said Joe Choa, Managing Director, Courex.