Leveraging technology for efficiency in e-commerce and logistics

E-commerce and logistics space in Kenya. [iStockphoto]

Tech adoption by business has been the greatest catalyst spurring a thriving e-commerce and logistics space in Kenya and the rest of Africa.

We continue to witness cutting-edge innovations that are further simplifying trade.

Nyambura Karita, the Chief Operating Officer of Sendy, explains the opportunities that technology has presented for businesses especially those operating in this digital age.


Nyambura Karita is the  Chief Operating Officer Sendy

Congratulations on your new role as Chief Operating Officer. What does this mean to you?

I work in a  high-impact technology company that has grown from being a small start-up in Nairobi to an acclaimed pan-African business in under eight years.

Our work touches thousands of households and businesses on a daily basis. I am delighted to contribute my knowledge and experience to take that impact to the next level.

What's the role of tech in revolutionizing the e-commerce and logistics space in the country?

The narrative around e-commerce and logistics in Africa is often centered around difficulty. Tech mitigates this in three main ways: discovery, efficiency, and cost.

Tech brings together logistics service providers who otherwise exist in a fragmented environment. It enables them to find each other as well as get ‘discovered’ by their customers.
It also streamlines operations processes to enhance efficiency, unlocking convenience, reliability and secure service delivery for customers.

Consequently, customers enjoy affordable and reliable logistics.

Today customers can get their goods picked, packed and shipped at the tap of a button. This is not only convenient for consumers but also beneficial for traders who are able to sell more.

What's the importance of digitizing a business?

Digitization gives businesses the tools that enable them to assess their health and efficiency.

To serve customers well, businesses should spend their efforts and resources only where appropriate value will be realized. Tools help them objectively assess whether real value is being realized.

Consumer behaviour is changing such that customers in Africa increasingly desire global-level standards in service delivery. Digitization helps unlock collaborative relationships and partnerships both locally and globally for increased impact.

Finally, digitization enhances companies’ ability to adapt to both increased competition and changing environments. This will only get more important in the days to come.

In your assessment how is the adoption of tech by small businesses in Kenya compared to the rest of Africa?

Digital penetration in Kenya is very high, largely catalyzed by the game-changing innovation that was M-pesa.

Since markets are not homogenous, drivers such as culture, availability of technology and payment infrastructure and regulation will contribute to varying adoption levels.

Many countries lag behind Kenya because of these. That said, innovation in Africa is constant. Five years from now the tech landscape will have shifted in a big way.

What's the biggest opportunity for businesses in this digital age?

Reinvention. The last two years have proven that the businesses that survive are those that can adapt quickly in a healthy sustainable way.

How optimistic are you in the quest to democratize trade through Sendy’s solution?

Very optimistic. Our solution lowers traditional barriers to trade for all sizes of business. By targeting both the cost and efficiencies of logistics, we open up the space for individuals and businesses that would ordinarily be excluded.

Internally, we have a clear vision and strategy, and an incredibly capable team. Externally, we are already realizing the impact.

By taking away the headache of logistics from them, users' platforms have attested to sales growth of over 100 per cent, and significant logistics cost reductions.