INTERVIEW: Obaid Al-Qahash, MD, Kedu

Can self-service parcel dispatch succeed in the UAE?
Obaid Al-Qahash believes strongly in the Parzel concept.
Obaid Al-Qahash believes strongly in the Parzel concept.

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Please explain the history of Kedu
Kedu is a multifunctional corporation specialising in several areas of automated services. The organisation aims to be the region’s leading business solutions provider and the Middle East’s premier one-stop-shop for professional and managed services, corporate consultation and mobile applications.

Kedu is dedicated to providing innovative methods, green solutions that reduce carbon emissions and services that offer our business partners and consumers true value, convenience and peace of mind. As part of that commitment, Kedu has provided an innovative parcel logistics service comprised of customised hardware and software.

This segment, Parzel, offers advanced solutions for both receiving parcels and sending them at conveniently located drop/collection stations.

What prompted Kedu to launch its Parzel logistics venture and why now?
The Parzel solution gives logistics companies a real alternative that can only improve their relationships with customers. We researched the UAE landscape and saw an opportunity to take a tried and tested solution and apply it to this market. Our research showed that there was a clear need for an alternative solution to logistics within Dubai.

We looked closely at the Dubai landscape and saw that the growth of high density locations within the city made it feasible to launch the service and provide a better logistics solution to our customers. Our deep knowledge and experience on the ground allowed us to offload the technological burden for our partners to streamline the processes.

Corporates require choice and we believe that the Parzel system will broaden the landscape and ultimately, give end users a service that fits with their lifestyle and provides an environmentally friendly alternative.

What is the concept behind Parzel?
Today’s busy customers require convenient and efficient means of smart parcel delivery and collection. Schedules are hectic, time is more precious than ever and the Parzel technology gives people the flexibility they require while giving retailers the ability to be more responsive to the needs of their customers. Similar concepts are becoming more common in various markets such as self-service checkout, automated check-in at airports and DVD rental kiosks.

By enabling customers to utilise these services in their own time, businesses adopting this technology are gaining a competitive advantage. Behind this advanced technology is a team of highly skilled professionals to oversee the total maintenance and functionality of Parzel.

The support team is active 24 hours a day, monitoring and controlling the network from the Network Operations Centre. Every measure is taken to ensure smooth and efficient operations. Adopters of this technology will be able to introduce significant enhancements to the end to end flow of the delivery process.

What range of services is currently being offered?
Currently, we are offering a pilot delivery solution with fully automated first and last mile delivery. Meanwhile, Parzel is deploying automatic delivery machines and the service will be extended to the public by the end of May. The target market is the corporate and individuals in the UAE.

What research have you conducted into the level of demand for such a service?
Over the last two years, we’ve invested heavily in researching this sector to find a viable, true alternative for the logistics market in the UAE. We have spoken to service providers, postal services, retail and logistics companies and, of course, to end users to find out how we could best streamline the process.

Our study showed us the demand for a solution to the annoyance related to parcel delivery, the delays, the failed delivery attempts, and the queues to pick up or drop off a parcel. What should be a simple function for consumers is consistently an annoyance for all concerned, not least the logistics companies. That is why Parzel was born, the first-and-last mile automation of the UAE logistics narket.

What is the coverage area for Parzel and how will this be expanded?
Parzel has launched three machines in DIFC, Marina Walk and Dubai Marina Mall. The plan is to develop this aggressively over the next 6-12 months. We will be looking at expanding the offering across Dubai, with a view to installing more machines in high density, high traffic locations across the Emirates and eventually, wider markets.

What are the problems that you hope to addresses with Parzel?
Parzel will reduce customer inconvenience and tackle inefficiency in the first and last mile segments of the delivery process.

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