Jan 7, 2018

Mauritius businesses doing home delivery are still not using GPS/online maps

It's 2018, and technology keeps advancing at a frightening speed. People are searching by voice, web platforms know more about us than our families, and self-driving cars are almost ready for a launch. Technology runs the world, and the world cannot run without technology.

Yet, in Mauritius, there are amazing things going on. Businesses that do home delivery still do not use GPS or online maps.  In the case of GPS systems, it is true that there is a cost involved. However, even in Mauritius, these do not cost that much. I was shopping around last year for a system for my car and the cost back then was around Rs 12,000 for a basic system. Ultimately I did not buy anything because my phone suffices for me to get around in places where I need to look up the address and I don't go in far-out places that much anyway.

However, if you run a business where home delivery forms a critical part of your operations, shouldn't you invest in these systems? I had several deliveries scheduled in November and December, and more coming this year, and each time, I had the drivers phoning me to ask for precise directions when they already had my full address. This address can be found in Google Maps and since it is found there, I presume it can also be found in most GPS systems available in Mauritius. My house was built in 2017, and it is already found in Google Maps, which shows just how updated and precises Google's flagship tool is. For the record, Google Maps was officially launched in 2005. I was not able to determine when they added Mauritius but I presume it was at least 10 years ago.

I'm Google Maps, and I am free.
It's annoying to have to give directions to a place in 2018. Sure, I understand that the driver will need to phone anyway to confirm that I am home for the delivery, but when I have to explain a driver how to get to my place from Port Louis or Rose Hill and in some cases basically act as their aide, something is fundamentally wrong in how this business is being run. It shows a reluctance to adopt technology and ensure the best possible experience for the customer. Even if the driver himself may not be tech-savvy enough to use these tools, it should not be hard for someone else, say an officer from the organization's administrative department or a trainee, to print the directions using a key place in my vicinity as starting point. This would at least allow the driver to locate the street where I live.

Imagine being a huge business in Mauritius, doing deliveries all year round but being reluctant to put processes in place to streamline how your deliveries are run. I also imagine that it is dreadfully inefficient when the driver needs to stop, look up my phone number and ask for directions (whether they actually stop driving before phoning is another debate). So it is possible that this is actually resulting in a loss of money for the business (remember folks, time is money and in Mauritius, petrol is not cheap). So, even if the initial investment in purchasing GPS systems may be high, it would probably result in savings in the long terms. And running a business should be about one primary thing: making sure the customer walks away happy and has nothing to complain about.

The next time I place an order and they give me a sheet to "draw directions to my place", I am going to tell them to just look it up on Google Maps. And if they are not willing to do so, I will take my money elsewhere.

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