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Bedok Mall and Tampines Mall to undergo an In-Mall Distribution trial

Nurdianah Md Nur | March 15, 2016
The trial aims to enhance Singapore's logistics sector’s productivity, which in turn, also benefits retailers.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), SPRING Singapore and CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT) have signed a Memorandum of Intent to launch an In-Mall Distribution (IMD) trial.

To be held at Tampines Mall and Bedok Mall, the trial is expected to benefit 300 retailers. It is part of the Urban Logistics programme spearheaded by IDA and SPRING Singapore, which aims to transform the efficiency of the logistics sector through technology.

According to a joint press release, logistics resources are currently not well-optimised in Singapore's retail sector. Goods are delivered in an unconsolidated and uncoordinated manner, causing inefficient utilisation of delivery trucks, traffic congestion at loading bays of malls, and a shortage of delivery drivers.

To address these challenges, the IMD trial will pilot a dock scheduler and queue management system that enables Logistic Service Providers (LSPs) and tenants with their own delivery fleet to book specific delivery timings at the mall. This could reduce traffic congestion and trucks queuing outside the malls by ensuring that delivery timings do not clash.   

As part of the trial, a 'change of custody' system will be introduced to improve efficiency during the handing and taking over process of deliveries. Handover processes from LSPs to retailers usually take a long time as receivers need to manually count items. Since this change of custody system secures and registers the inventory of items at the shipment level electronically, it frees the receiver from manually counting items and further streamlining processes. It also enables LSPs to make more deliveries - from the current four deliveries a day to as many as six to eight daily deliveries in future - thus reducing the operating costs in the long run

 Besides that, the trial includes the recruitment of In-Mall Logistics Operators (IMO). These operators will be stationed within the mall to receive and consolidate deliveries from suppliers, before making the distribution to retailers. IMOs can also perform additional roles including providing value-added services such as unloading bay facility management, security pass issuance and concierge services. As such, retailers can look forward to reduced operating costs by outsourcing jobs, such as stock transfer between outlets, goods return and on-shelf placement, to IMOs.

If the pilots prove to be successful, the IMD concept may be rolled out to other shopping malls owned or managed by the CapitaLand Group in Singapore.

"As a highly urbanised city-state, Singapore is well aware that demand on its infrastructure will only increase. Using technology to increase the efficiency and productivity for urban logistics in the retail sector is a significant step in the right direction. This will result in a win-win for businesses and consumers as well. The government is committed in its push for urban logistics innovations and we are glad to see the industry coming together to pilot this initiative," said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information.


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