Malaysia-based TheLorry, an on-demand logistics startup connecting professional delivery drivers to customers, announced that it has secured an investment from Unilever. The investment is said to follow a trial partnership with Unilever in Malaysia in 2017, supported by Unilever Foundry, Unilever’s startup collaboration platform.

With the investment, TheLorry will see that it connects Unilever’s supply chain operations to customers so they can efficiently receive deliveries in a more environmentally friendly way.

Unilever seeks to leverage on TheLorry’s service that has, “transparent pricing with lower fees, ease of access to fleets with 24/7 connectivity, track and trace, and real-time market price benchmarking”.

TheLorry uses a technology that will support Unilever in reaching its customers with on-demand and on-time deliveries.

With TheLorry, drivers are able to capitalise on under-utilised and idle capacity, connecting them to available demand through a dedicated app and tablet device, which then provides free routing, communication, telematics, and insights to improve driving behaviour.

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In 2017, Unilever trialed a partnership with TheLorry in Malaysia to help the company complete 620 deliveries across a two-month period.

At that time, it managed to represent a 99.2 per cent success rate of order delivery through improved route planning and 6.2 per cent of secondary transport cost savings reducing efficiency gaps in load.

Unilever was then able to identify areas of improvement in communication flows between the company, third-party logistics providers, and the transporter.

Through a partnership forged with the investment, Unilever hopes to achieve secondary transport cost savings of 12 per cent through a delivery success rate of 99.5 per cent and on-time proof of delivery (POD) submission of 100 per cent.

Unilever will also support TheLorry with the rollout of operations across Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, with the opportunity to scale further across Unilever’s substantial supply chain network. To support this partnership Unilever will acquire equity of convertible preference shares.

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TheLorry will also move some of its core management to LEVEL3, a coworking space in Singapore connected to Unilever’s regional headquarters.

“Today we are excited to announce the next phase of our collaboration as we support TheLorry’s expansion across the region. This will benefit our customers and supply chain partners, improve efficiency in our system, and ensure there are fewer wasted driving journeys which will lead to environmental benefits in the cities operate in,” said Olivier Carnet, Head of Supply Chain and Manufacturing Southeast Asia Australasia and Head of Global Logistics, Unilever.

“We are currently focusing on the Southeast Asian markets, and we plan to expand into Vietnam and the Philippines, to not only strengthen our brand but to hopefully become a leading market player in the region,” said Chee Hau Goh, Managing Director at TheLorry.

Unilever and TheLorry both plan to expand operations across four markets in SoutheastEast Asia with a new base at LEVEL3 Singapore.