Born out of the necessity to expedite shipping and delivery, Ninja Van is one of the most promising logistics companies. The company recently concluded the series C funding, wherein it received close to $85 Mn. Combining this with the Series A and Series B funding, the company has received close to $117.5Mn funding.
This company has come at a time when investments in the supply chain, as well as logistics tech startups, are higher.
Image Source: Techinasia.com
Before we get down to the lessons that can be learnt from this on-demand delivery solution, let’s acknowledge what the company has achieved.
Ninja Van- An Overview
Lai Chang Wen had started his own fashion venture “Marcella” when he was unable to find shirts that fit him perfectly. It was during this stint that he realized the inefficiency that lay in the logistics and delivery department. Where eCommerce was supposed to offer to expedite delivery of products, the logistics was unable to support this assertion.
Lai Chang Wen saw an opportunity and attempted to innovate the traditional style of logistics to not just accelerate delivery but also to streamline it. Ninja Van was born out of this innovation.
They went hands-on with sorting and delivery to understand the functioning, and even to identify how it can be done better.
Today, the model, the company has created, allows optimization of sorting, packing and delivery. Where the old methods used manual sorting, Ninja Van has used technology to allow easy sorting at the start itself. With this sorting, they are able to choose the driver and the route to be used to deliver the packets. The routes have become shorter, thus reducing the wait. They can even appoint drivers when they need, thus creating a place for on-demand logistics.
Now, that’s interesting, isn’t it? Bringing technology to the core was one of the major reasons why the logistics worked. So, now we can easily move on to the three lessons we can learn from this tech startup that reformed logistics as we know it.
The Lessons Learned from Ninja Van
When a startup succeeds the way Ninja Van did, there are business lessons that it gives out, which you should pocket. Here we will discuss a few things that Ninja Van has taught from the way it has conducted itself in the market of innovation and technology.
Lesson 1: Always think of solving a problem
If you are planning to start a new business or, you want to ensure the idea that you have nurtured succeeds, think of solving a problem at hand. That always works. The new business idea that Ninja Van had was to accelerate the logistics and make sure the customers don’t have to wait for their delivery. You will also need to think about solving the problem that your niche may be suffering from. It could start with just one problem, and probably your startup could provide a holistic solution.
So, the next time you have an idea, make sure you start analysing the idea and think about how it can actually solve the problem. If your idea is not going to make any difference, they might as well shelve it. You will not be noticed if you are just another sheep in the herd. You will need to stand out, and for that, you might want to think differently, identify a gap in the existing model and find a solution.
Uber for cabs is an excellent example of problem-solving. They identified that people were unable to call for cabs on time, which is why they decided to offer an app-based solution that will allow the people to hail a cab whenever they want.
Lesson 2: Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty
Ninja Van team knew that if they wanted to solve the impending logistics problem, they would need to first enter the operations. They will need to find out where and at which part of the delivery most of the time is consumed.
Mr Lai asked his engineers to make deliveries and his operations people to learn technology. He had to get everyone on the team to do everything so that they understand the problem thoroughly. It is only when you get your hands dirty that you realize the solution.
The engineers could understand the delivery issues perfectly, as they started delivering the packages. This helped them build the ideal technology that would help accelerate logistics. The operations people got their hands dirty with technology, and so could help with aspects concerning the operations and how the technology can help them.
So, when you are planning a business, it is important to get your hands dirty with all aspects. It can be confounding and may seem like moving out of your comfort zone. However, when you set out to do it, you will actually enjoy and find better ways to do your business.
Lesson 3: Know what others are doing, don’t follow them
While Ninja Van was well aware of what the other companies were doing, they weren’t learning things from them. It is common to follow someone who has reached a zenith, which in this case would be the numerous logistics companies. However, Ninja Van wanted to do things differently, for which it was important not to follow anyone but to create a separate path for themselves. They knew how the companies worked but, they wanted to make sure they did not repeat any of that in their working.
It is important to know what your competitors offer and how but, you need to carve your own path. It is important to offer something unique, which will later become your USP. In case of Ninja Van, bringing technology to their core business became the highlight, which has helped them in ensuring quick deliveries.
Ninja Van started from the scratch to bring things into an order. Though the niche was already driven by leaders, Ninja Van managed to break through it with its innovative and useful idea.
As a new business, you will need to think innovation, usability and uniqueness before you bring your idea to the floor and discuss it with any iPhone app development company. It is important to solve a problem, which will, in turn, help your idea turn into a business success.