The importance of thinking outside the box
Shlomi Niv, Global CMO at Cheetah Delivery, a last mile company in Israel, which delivers approximately 1,200,000 shipments per month – domestic and international – writes about the challenges of delivering to displaced communities, losing workers to the army and creatively managing PUDO volumes in times of war.
“On the morning of Saturday, October 7, the day of an Israeli holiday “Simchat Torah”, the State of Israel woke up to a new reality. A combined attack by the “Hamas” organisation which included rocket fire and the infiltration of 3,000 terrorists into IDF bases and southern cities.
In this combined attack, about 1,400 civilians and soldiers were killed and more than 240 innocent civilians were taken hostage including children, women, and the elderly.
On the same day, Israel declared war on the terrorist organisation and began preliminary military operations.
For Cheetah Delivery, the first days of the war were characterised by uncertainty for several reasons:
- Some Israeli workers were recruited into the army immediately.
- 40% of Cheetah employees are Arabs and some of them were afraid to come to work in the first days.
- There was 50% decrease in the volume of domestic orders
- Air cargo disruption due to flights being cancelled
- The Israeli Army closed major roads and areas in big cities
- Evacuation of approximately 150,000 Israelis from their homes in southern Israel and finding alternative accommodation such as host families, hotels, and community centres.
Cheetah Delivery’s management met to assess the situation in the first days of the fighting and it continues to hold similar meetings every few days in order to keep their finger on the pulse and provide solutions to problems that arise.
1. Regarding recruiting for the army – Cheetah Delivery has 9 logistics centres throughout Israel and employs 450 couriers on a regular basis and about 150 administrative staff. In each logistic centre there are several spare couriers who, on regular days, are employed in reinforcing busy distribution lines. Those Couriers were moved in order to fill the place of the Courier who were recruited into the reserves, and by doing that the frequency of those distribution lines was hardly affected.
2. The manager of the logistics centre had a personal conversation with all Arab workers who were afraid to come in the first few days and reassured them. Within a few days, all employees returned to work as normal.
3. To help Israeli businesses that experienced a decrease in orders, Cheetah offered cheaper prices for a limited period and offered a major discount for new customers. We also guaranteed continued activity and reached all areas of Israel with a very high SLA the next day.
4. Cheetah delivers a large volume of international shipments and works directly with Cainiao, which is the logistics arm of AliExpress. Together with them we looked for solutions for the arrival of shipments to Israel. Among other things: land shipments in Europe and then bringing them to Israel, renting charter flights and even sea transport. All this in order not to harm the volume of sending shipments to Israel and to ensure the preservation of Israeli e-commerce.
5. During the COVID Pandemic, Cheetah issued a government certificate that it is considered an essential enterprise. This certification was provided to all couriers, and it enables wider traffic movement in cities where there is freedom of movement difficulty for other delivery companies. Couriers who enter these places are subject to the army’s instructions and are obliged to protect themselves personally in accordance with the army’s requirements.
Cheetah operates 3 different types of deliveries: B2B, home delivery and deliveries to the largest network of delivery points in Israel (about 1200 3rd party PUDO points).
Here we encountered the biggest and most challenging difficulty and had to think of solutions outside the box.
We had 150,000 people who are currently not living at the address they assigned to their orders, so initially we were unable to make home deliveries in the first few days. Also, The PUDO points were filling up because the customers who had left their city did not come to pick them up and the volume of deliveries to the PUDO was increasing.
The solution that we found is an operationally complex solution but very convenient for citizens and has proven itself to allow continued delivery of shipments without violating the SLA.
For every customer throughout the country and especially for shipments that had a delivery failure in the evacuated areas, we scanned the parcel in our warehouse and gave the customer the option to change the shipment by SMS, whether it is home delivery or whether it is destined for a PUDO, to the new address where they currently live. After the customer has updated the address, we received an indication of this and re-sorted the package so that they could receive the parcel the same day or the next day without any delay.
90% of customers updated their orders by SMS and thus we were able to make a very quick change and avoided delays.
Also, we opened Cheetah’s own PUDO store in Ashkelon, one of the biggest cities that was evacuated. We recognised that many business owners who use Cheetah as a 3rd party delivery point were not opening their stores because they were evacuated, so we opened our own independent store to better serve the residents of Ashkelon. The store is located in the city centre and joins a network of 1,200 third-party points and 22 independent delivery points managed by us.
Cheetah Delivery has a tremendous commitment to our customers and recognises the enormous importance to the citizens of Israel to continue to distribute in order to help and maintain their routine and to ensure that every delivery that has been ordered will arrive quickly and efficiently.
Among our customers you can find companies that supply important medical equipment, auxiliary equipment for adults, equipment for schools and kindergartens and of course e-commerce shipments ordered from Israeli and overseas websites. The importance of our continuity is clear in order to help all populations in the State of Israel.
Cheetah Delivery, like all the people of Israel, stand united and pray that the situation will improve soon, and we can return to normal.”
For more information visit: https://www.cheetah-group.net/ or contact Shlomi Niv via email [email protected]