Every day, we help companies improve and modernize their delivery logistics infrastructure with cutting-edge technology. They are aware of the growing expectations from customers when it comes to delivery speed, visibility and exceptional service. However, many of the businesses we speak to are also considering building the relevant technology in-house.
The dilemma of building vs buying isn’t new and is applicable to most aspects of business operations. We understand the impact and implications of such an important strategic decision. After all, a delivery logistics platform impacts many roles within the business – management, dispatch, drivers, partners, customers and recipients. Like any other business decision, companies have to assess the pros and cons of both options.
These are key issues that businesses going through this decision-making process must take into consideration:
1. Time Constraints
Planning is imperative when creating or deploying a new operational system. Developing a bespoke software platform isn’t an easy task and it takes significant time and investment. While some companies will be initially lured by the idea of creating a ‘made-to-measure’ solution, it is important to set realistic expectations about the time it will take to build and complete and not just at minimum viable product stage.
On the flip side an out of the box solution is immediately ready and it should be built to have the capability to be customized to the client’s needs. In addition with the build model, future iterations, software updates and maintenance can also be extremely time consuming and in many cases hold back accompanies growth and speed to market.
2. Technical Expertise
While an in-house dev team may capable of developing a delivery logistics technology solution, it might not be their core competency. When purchasing a purpose-made solution from a tech vendor that specializes in the field, you’re buying technology that has been tried and tested by a team that understands the challenges from multiple points of views and client use cases.
It’s important to highlight that purchasing technology goes way beyond buying software – it’s also about tapping into the know-how of experts that will be able to assess, advice and even pre-empt future issues or challenges with significant foresight.
3. Platform Compatibility & Flexibility
There’s a misconception that vendor-based solutions are inflexible, not allowing modifications to their functionality. While an out of the box solution, will be created with certain use cases in mind, this doesn’t mean that they won’t fit the needs of vastly different organizations. When we created Bringg, we ensured from the foundation up that our platform could help companies manage their entire ecosystem as well as to help them integrate it with any other existing software platform used within the supply chain. Compatibility and flexibility also comes to play when leading brands need to ensure that all the platforms adhere to their style guidelines, specially as customer-facing interface becomes a key touchpoint within the online shopping/ordering experience.
In house development means often that the integrations will be hard coded and that if a third party system is changed for whatever reason it is not simple to change out one for another and API is rarely at the top of the priority list when developing an in house MVP.
One side of integration is with existing platforms within one’s own organisation, however another aspect to this is within your partner organisations. If you are a third party logistics company or a restaurant delivery company your customers (Restaurants and Carriers) will need to be integrated not just once, consistently and easily over time. Making this straight forward is not an easy process to get right.
4. Budget and Maintenance Costs
Technology needs are constantly evolving and one key consideration for companies is to be realistic about the budget, for both short-term and long-term costs. Maintaining a platform takes ongoing resources which often are not accounted for.
While having full ownership over the scope and scale of a platform will suit some companies, it is important that they take into account the ongoing maintenance costs and resources needed throughout the entire lifecycle of the product.
5. Onboarding, Transitioning, and Disruption
Adding a new technology to a company doesn’t end with creating or choosing the perfect platform that is just the beginning. Onboarding, transitioning over can cause disruption both to process, operation and mindset, and from our experience this is enhanced within the logistics space because of the direct impact the changes have on the day jobs of many employees and ultimately the customers and recipients.
Companies therefore must consider carefully what the onboarding or rollout for their technology looks like. Implementing swiftly and with minimal disruption is key however onboarding staff and getting buy in from all internal stakeholders and employees is key. Everyone should be well informed as to the added value the new technology brings to the entire operation and their role.