Juan Pablo Pineda
COO
Mensajeros Urbanos
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Largest Collaborative Network of Couriers Continues to Grow

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 04/01/2022 - 14:58

Q: How does Mensajeros Urbanos optimize companies’ last-mile deliveries and why is it more efficient to connect with couriers through a third party?

A: The sharp growth of e-commerce often leads to unexpected peaks in demand, which disrupt distribution and stress a company’s supply and capacity to meet orders. Mensajeros Urbanos acts as a support for companies by offering fleets to face these peaks in demand.

Mensajeros Urbanos has built a strong collaborative network of logistical resources that is able to elastically and flexibly respond to demand peaks. Our network allows clients to expand their fleet on days of high demand, such as during the Buen Fin retail sales week to provide an excellent delivery experience to their customers. Additionally, our services mean companies do not need to invest in parking spaces for their fleets or purchase more vehicles.

Our flexibility and elasticity are enabled by technology. Through our predictive and tracing tools, we have created one of the most robust logistics networks in Latin America.

Q: How has the company grown since its arrival in Mexico in 2019?

A: Mensajeros Urbanos began operating in Colombia seven years ago and arrived in Mexico before the COVID-19 outbreak. Mexico was fundamental for us as it hosts many key regional players in Latin America. Our clients in Colombia also encouraged us to expand to Mexico, so it was a natural step.

Since arriving in Mexico, we have identified several areas of opportunity that have led to exponential growth. Last year, we grew 440 percent compared to 2020. As a result, our priority is to consolidate the business here just like we did in Colombia. We are operating in five Mexican cities: Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puebla, Queretaro and Mexico City. In the next eight months, we hope to expand to between another 10 and 15 cities.

Q: What type of clients can benefit from Mensajeros Urbanos’ services?

A: We have a multi-industry approach; our collaborative network, technology and solutions can cater to a number of industries. We have two main services. The first is Express, which is used mainly by restaurants, pharmacies and convenience stores to deliver in less than 35 minutes. Pharmacies are some of our largest clients in Mexico and Colombia.

The second product is Same Day/Next Day, which involves fleets for e-commerce, retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG). This segment is rapidly increasing as online shopping gains in popularity. 

Common delivery apps are based on a marketplace but Mensajeros Urbanos operates as a white label logistics provider. For example, pharmacies have their own sales channels and once they receive an order, they send us the information and we handle the delivery.

Q: How can clients make the best out of a solution like Smart Hubs and how can you help them plan for potential demand?

A: This business unit is in charge of managing product delivery for e-commerce companies. We have storage centers in several cities where we store the stock keeping units (SKU) in high demand. This makes distribution faster as we are already hosting those products in the city. In contrast, other players often have their products warehoused outside the city.

We have learned that having hundreds of dark stores in the city to make fast e-commerce deliveries increases costs significantly. Final users are not willing to pay 200 percent more just to get their product within 30 minutes instead of in two hours. Thus, our vision is not to have hundreds of dark stores but only one or two smart hubs that will be cost-effective for clients and customers.

Q: What are the incentives to become a courier in your platform?

A: All of our couriers are part of a collaborative network of partnership. Our couriers can use bicycles, motorcycles, cars or trucks. They have two major incentives to work with us. The first is that we generate high demand, so they have a variety of orders to take and can choose the type of distribution they want to perform. The second incentive is our socially responsible program that supports couriers in growing their services. For example, if they began working with Mensajeros Urbanos with a bicycle, we can help them grow and become owners of large trucks or even a fleet. This plan is just starting. We are providing financially flexible loans to our couriers so they can begin purchasing new vehicles.

Q: What are the main challenges for last-mile logistics in big cities and how does Mensajeros Urbanos leverage AI to solve them?

A: Our large network of collaborators allows us to have different options at hand for clients. Our broad range of couriers allows us to assign the correct order to the correct client to meet our delivery plans. Tech is the only way to manage a network of this size. In the region, we have over 60,000 resources on the network that are sorted into their orders through AI. Additionally, tech enables product tracing for the seller and the final client, significantly improving user experience. We also created an algorithm that adapts to clients’ preferences on how to prove delivery: for those who prefer vouchers, we send one to the clients’ phone once the package is delivered. The courier needs to take a photo of it to continue with their journey. This algorithm increased our delivery accuracy to 99 percent.

Q: How does Mensajeros Urbanos contribute to “green logistics” and decarbonization efforts?

A: Being sustainable is a must for every company today. Mensajeros Urbanos contributes through its large bicycle delivery fleet instead of fueled vehicles. We also measure the mileage covered by our fueled vehicles to track our CO2 emissions. Once the emissions are measured, we buy “carbon credits” from Silicon Valley-based Pachama, which compensates for those emissions through reforestation and conservation programs. Moreover, our fulfillment centers are plastic-free because we use corrugated cardboard to store products.

Q: What has Mensajeros Urbanos learned from working in Mexico?

A: Mexico is a large, densely populated country. While its market is much larger, its delivery culture is less established than in Colombia. For that reason, we have been consulting for companies that are just beginning to use e-commerce, forging an alliance between us and customers. We are keen on having local talent on our teams to generate the best solutions for local problems.

 

Mensajeros Urbanos is a B2B logtech platform that uses AI to connect companies with available couriers. It is present in over 20 cities across Colombia and Mexico.

Photo by:   Mensajeros Urbanos
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst