The Middle Eastern supply chain sector is booming as e-commerce gains popularity and, as it grows, companies will need to work harder, faster, and smarter to keep their piece of the pie. Revenue from just the food delivery market is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 13.6%, resulting in a market volume of US$2.8-billion by 2023.
“In the Middle East, we are experiencing a boom in the e-commerce vertical, what was once a luxury for some, is now a requirement for all. Warehouses and distribution centres are required to deliver instantly and without fault,” stated Fadi Amoudi, founder & CEO IQ Robotics , IQ Fulfillment & IQ Xpress. “The beauty about the supply chain and tech sectors, is that it will never weather or die, in days of prosperity investments increase, people shop, and markets grow, which drives the wheel forward, and on other days, the supply chain is expected to maintain its output while being cost efficient, because still everybody wants to eat, drink, shop, fly and drive.”
Nations such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as well as the rest of the GCC are eager to embrace the growth and disruption in the e-commerce and e-fulfilment sectors, and are taking steps to achieve a new vision and global standing for their countries, in ways that are environmentally friendly, and an enhancement to their residents daily activities.
“We at IQ believe that robotics are not just in movies and spaceships, they are in your own backyard, in Dubai Investment Park, fulfilling your orders and your vision of the future. We believe in Dubai. We believe e-commerce in the region will grow more than predicted; this vertical is very interesting and promising and we are the first market mover,” noted Amoudi.
A lot of technologies are becoming more and more essential in the supply chain and logistics sector: robotics, smart tech, and analytics for example, but the real question would be what the defining need behind these technologies is: Is it digital? Is it automation? Hardware or software? Or both?
“In my opinion it has to be a hybrid of both, nowadays everyone requires a WMS [warehouse management system], but what people are figuring out is that this is not enough anymore. Organisations require a WMS, OMS [order management system] and a TMS [transportation management system] all linked into a data hub,” stated Amoudi.
“Robotics and automation is crucial, it’s a norm in many countries, but new to our region. When you talk robotics, you talk 99.9% picking accuracy rate, 3X human output, 70% less labour and seamless integration.”
According to Amoudi, the next big technology must-have are robotics for fulfilment, and drones and unmanned vehicles for delivery.
According to Amoudi, the e-fulfilment sector in the GCC region is still underserved, and not only, that but much of it is still run using manual processes, increasing margins of error.
“IQ Fulfillment offers the most advanced integrated automated e-fulfilment solution in our region to SME’s powered by robotics and AI to take the burden of fulfilment off their shoulders. With the rapid growth of e-commerce in our region and the focus and attention that governments give to the e commerce industry, the e fulfilment sector is expected to grow tremendously,” noted Amoudi.
The e-commerce market in MENA has the potential to grow 3.5 times by 2022, reaching a total market size of $28.5 billion and a penetration rate of seven per cent of total retail sales, similar to what is seen in continental Europe today.
“We aim to transform the entire e-fulfilment sector and we are starting from within. IQ Fulfillment is the first robotic fulfilment centre out of Dubai, UAE and we aim to open connected robotics fulfilment centres all over our region,” said Amoudi. “We think of ourselves as enhancers rather than disrupters as we would like to enhance customer experience by offering them the latest technologies in the e-fulfilment space. We are also ready at IQ Robotics to share this knowledge and technology with whomever wishes to transform from the regular brick and mortar into the new digital era.
“I believe that to transform one should be organisationally and mentally ready to take that step. That being said we are trying to bridge the gap in the e-fulfilment side from a personal level since we created a centre of excellence out of Dubai with all the qualified people that will design, process, implement and service such transformational projects while working closely with business owners hand by hand. IQ likes to keep it simple, and has built its three companies for that purpose.
“If you want it we can supply it, if you need it we can fulfil it. Our technology, services and know-how tends to all corners of the supply chain in terms of optimisation and efficiency. We offer advanced technology to the world, we set it up we operate it, we maintain it, and in case you don’t have the budget for it, you are more than welcome to use our own at IQ Fulfillment and IQ Express,” explained Amoudi.
One of IQ’s projects increased the project partner’s throughput by over 175%, and decreased costs by 42% through the development of a fully automated facility. Automation was achieved by using a combination of robotics, high end material handling, and warehouse, and transportation management software.
“Our region needs a plug and play, turn-key solution that is ready to deploy, hassle free! Stress free! And we are going to fill it by offering various industries different automated connected fulfilment solutions that’s specialised in each industry,” he said. “Technology alone will never be enough. Technology with people and humans working together side by side is the optimal effective solution,” stated Amoudi.
IQ Holding is a technology holding company that is specialised in the supply chain and logistics sectors. We operate Middle East and Africa, but we are looking at targeting the United States, and Europe too.
IQ Robotics is a technology engine that is disrupting the logistics and supply chain industry. It has exclusive strategic partnerships with global leading companies in the verticals of robotics, AI, warehouse automation, software solutions that are tailored and customised by IQ in order to transform the regular brick and mortar into the new digital era. We created a centre of excellence out of Dubai.
IQ Fulfillment is the first robotic fulfilment solution in the MEA region, integrating seamlessly with e-commerce operators, taking the burden of fulfilment off their business and freeing up resources to grow their brands. Our advanced intelligent robotic solutions and cutting-edge software platform ensure the most efficient and innovative revolutionary fulfilment solutions in the region.
IQ Xpress is a carrier solutions marketplace built around a powerful TMS software that offers cross border, first mile and last mile services. It is our carrier engine that enables us to grow and scale up all over without owning assets.
Top tips for finding the right tech partner: IQ
• Find a partner that speaks your language: Whether you are looking to increase your efficiency, or reduce your running cost, end goal alignment is key in order to meet expectations.
• Experience over glamour: Look for the partner that has been through multiple educational implementations, the influence of these experiences equates to millions in R&D.
• Does it make financial sense? A study of the investment in technology and automation compare to enhancements in the fulfilment process is essential in order to derive a pure formula that will fuel your transformation.
• A clear understanding of technology: Setting realistic goals based on the current technology in the market is key to pave the way towards the future, you might have a vision for the way things should be, continuous improvement is the key.
• Team, team, team: Artifical intelligence can never replace the human touch or influence, make sure that your partner will be on the battle ground, before, during, and after.