Addressing logistics challenges in Northern Nigeria through Jumia’s partnerships
The ability to buy a wide range of products through an online platform is undoubtedly an enticing e-commerce proposition. However, the value obtained from such offerings is incomplete without a robust delivery system and the convenience it offers to the customer.
At Jumia, we understand that a one-size-fits-all approach can only go so far. Therefore, we are constantly adapting to the nuances regarding package delivery for customers in various African markets.
Region-specific logistics challenges
While we have the right tools and people to handle logistics, serving large customer bases such as the Nigerian market comes with many hindrances. First is the infrastructure deficit. As you move further away from major cities and into rural areas, the road network often degrades
Fewer routes link various towns, many of which aren’t well maintained, while others easily succumb to extreme weather conditions. This can reduce the efficiency of our fleets when making drop-offs from one commune to another.
Secondly, some regions occasionally face security issues that render certain routes unusable. These range from separatist activity in the South-East to terrorist attacks in disparate segments of the North, oil militia attacks, herder and farmer clashes, and kidnappings scattered across various states.
Needless to say, such activity can jeopardize the safety of our delivery agents and the packages they carry along the journey to the customer.
Remedies to logistics challenges in Nigeria
To achieve a satisfactory e-commerce delivery experience, we segmented the region into four tiers with varying levels of demand relative to order volume. We also considered other factors such as road networks, vehicular traffic, addressing systems, and more.
This approach helps us determine the ideal positioning of distribution hubs and the allocation of other resources such as delivery fleets. At the heart of our logistics setup, we have warehouses and forward collection centers with substantial stock levels.
These facilities also serve as convergence points for items from different vendors’ physical outlets. Additionally, our seller center tool facilitates access to stock level management, with a clear Service Level Agreement outlining our expectations.
Furthermore, we have a vendor support team to assist with any challenges, such as sudden surges in order volume. Our warehouses are located in tier-one cities such as Lagos to enable next-day delivery, and a warehouse management platform underpins them. This technology complements fulfillment efforts, helping warehouse personnel maintain an accurate pick-list queue.
Subsequently, they can perform quality checks thanks to the Smart Quality Control features embedded within this tool. Our teams in the sorting centers can then prepare the master bag for the line-haul phase, ensuring that it contains packages with the same destination where last-mile delivery will begin.
To ensure successful last-mile delivery, we continually scout for and partner with delivery providers who can operate their fleets according to Jumia’s standards. Beyond passing on delivery lists, we collaborate to develop the best possible route plans and select the proper transportation means based on their knowledge of these locales.
Our team has also cultivated solid relationships with local authorities in several regions to maintain a near real-time picture of the security situation in vulnerable areas. By staying up-to-date on prevailing security initiatives, we can make realistic delivery time promises to customers and fulfill them.
Lastly, we have maintained a robust return policy by offering different methods for customers, such as in-app self-return and requests to customer support. These approaches streamline the flow of information to our delivery agents regarding returns. Consequently, they can always set off with address and product details for any returns along their next routes.
Client-centric logistics solutions
Our ever-growing expertise and capability in handling different kinds of packages across the country partly motivated us to open our logistics services to third parties. This effort simplified distribution for vendors irrespective of their activity on our marketplace.
It also helped widen the pool of clients from whom we could learn more about product- or industry-specific logistics challenges. As a result, we received in 2021, the Best Logistics Partner award from Unilever for effectively executing last-mile delivery with digitized visibility processes and resourceful support agents in Nigeria.
Future targets for our logistics wing
Our team is working on upgrading cities like Ibadan to tier one status and bringing next-day delivery to tier two cities like Abuja and Port Harcourt. We also intend to increase delivery speed in tier-three cities like Kano and offer tier-four cities a cash-on-delivery option.
We remain determined to run our logistics in a manner that decentralizes economic opportunities such as fleet provision, loading and unloading, security consultancy, packaging, and more. This ethos will enable us to adopt solutions tailored to each region’s unique needs and ultimately achieve a consistent delivery experience regardless of location.
Adetunji Lanase Country Manager of Jumia Services - Nigeria Before being the Country Manager of Jumia Services in Nigeria in 2021, Adetunji was responsible for the growth and expansion of logistics operations in Nigeria. Adetunji started as a Supply Chain Associate and has excelled in several roles at Jumia, driven by his love for logistics and e-commerce. He has held critical positions in Nigeria, including Head of Controlled Fleet Delivery, Head of Jumia Cross Border Operations, and VP Logistics. Adetunji graduated from Babcock University in Nigeria with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.