lauantai 13. maaliskuuta 2010

15 reasons why it is not reasonable to do groceries shopping the traditional way

We at Tuokko have a strong vision of transforming the way that groceries get to your own home.
Currently at least in Finland (pop. 5,2 million) the groceries logistics is a central chain-driven, self-service model. There are a few large companies working in everyday retail, and they have ordinary supermarkets and smaller markets.

Essentially everyone who wants to get hold of foodstuff, visits the closest
or otherwise best suitable shop 2-4 times a week. Getting groceries takes around 50-55
minutes daily per household, a national average.

Because the old small shops lost the competition to big chains, the consumer got
a little bit hurt: the economies of scale are deciding the game. It means that
an individual consumer has lost quite a lot of the power to decide what kind of things
the shop should preferably serve. Instead the consumer runs after several shops
in some cases - for example, a conscientious ethical consumer is likely not to get
all the stuff from a single shop. This makes the shopping even more timeconsuming,
and in addition to that, it also increases the fuel consumption - which is something
that almost all of us think is a negative thing. Not only because the fuel costs,
but because it spoils the environment and brings about toxic gases and particles.

Speaking in terms of numbers, we're looking to make this kind of impact:

  • decrease the daily time allocated to taking care of groceries, down from 52 minutes to initially 20 minutes (including shipment reception), and ultimately to 5 minutes. The way that this can be done is by utilization of many different techniques: automated inventory control, automated shipping thresholds, learning patterns of consumption, and proactive offers. 

Here are the 15 reasons that could make Tuokko service fly:
- if the consumer doesn't have a car available
- traffic congestion
- time consumption is considered negative
- sometimes the shopping malls are frustratingly large and difficult to navigate
- the sheer amount of walking in the shop is boring
- some people experience the carrying of groceries extremely difficult due to
- difficulty of understanding how the shop "works", ie. where its functions are
- no-one loves queuing!
- parking place problems and the very increased possibility of getting a dent in
the car (insurance companies have noticed this, that a considerable amount of
crashes happens at slow speeds in parking places)
- children do not want to go to the shop, or make a show there
- pets and shops not very compatible due to regulations
- faced with 10,000+ products, it is difficult to make a reasonable shopping cart
contents. People get confused at this amount of selection.
- difficulty pinpointing (locating) specific foodstuff or other products
- noticing at checkout, that the contents of the shopping cart have been formed
almost randomly, and costs are sometimes surprising
- it is not easy to determine the realtime value of one's shopping cart

torstai 18. helmikuuta 2010

tiistai 8. joulukuuta 2009

LiL - life is logistics!

What has happened when you get your meal in front of you?

A factory has produced the food ingredients. These are then transported within the country, and distributed to local depots, and from there the foodstuff is distributed to local supermarkets or hypermarkets. These stores gather basically all of us, driving back and forth between home and the store, almost daily (54 minutes on average per citizen, each day, in Finland). So we're spending 1/16th of our daily waking life in going to the supermarket and looking for stuff there. It's a lot. In addition, we spend a lot of fuel, nerves, and feel sometimes frustrated for doing it. Yet, year after year, we put up with this routine, because... Well, because that's the way things are done. It's the hunter-gatherer tribe history in our anthropologic memory; Man has to fetch food, hunt. It's a condition for living.

We've decreased this proportion significantly in Western countries. From the almost 10h shifts we did back in 5000 B.C., now we're only doing that 54 minutes per day. But could we optimize? Could it be done in a more efficient and pleasant way? Yes.

Enter Tuokko. We're here to create a service that really makes a difference. Stay tuned to find out more.

tiistai 1. joulukuuta 2009

Tuokko has grown with 2 people - now seven strong

We are now seven people strong. The changes are that we got a software architect, and a consultant interested in the project. It's really great to see that there's a strong, versatile team with complementary skills. There's a general plan regarding what we're doing. Next milestones will be a prototype of the user interface (for ordering the stuff to homes and workplaces), and building the database and algorithmic engine behind the scenes. We're planning to do beta testing at some point in mid spring 2010. Some days have been quite hectic with communication, planning, stemming the features, getting rid of some extra functionality at this point; seeking venture, writing this blog, and discussing all of the above. In a word: lot of work, but also very rewarding.

maanantai 23. marraskuuta 2009

A Design Moment of Tuokko

A session at Maarintalo / Helsinki University of Technology. Most of
the design took place this time in Maarintalo premises, a place at
HUT where you can sip some coffee, make a pizza in the microwave, and
enjoy a beautiful view over to the bay. It's one of my favorite places
to be at, since people going there and doing their stuff inspires me.
I did evaluation of what kinds of fleet possibilities exist; ie. how
can we maintain a lease plan, or what kind of costs and benefits exist
in buying the fleet wholly or partially. The going price for complete
turnkey solutions is around 100 euros / month / vehicle. This would
include repairs caused by ordinary wear, seasonal change of tires,
and in case of emergency we'd get backup vehicle to ensure continual
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keskiviikko 18. marraskuuta 2009

Test Driving for fleet vehicle selection has started. Audi is first try.

The first test-driving for Tuokko fleet is now the Sportsback model of Audi A5 automatic, 2.0 liter diesel engine, and the ESP system. I think it does not have DRP, or then I just missed the feature during discussions with car dealer. DRP is a normal ESP -- stability control subsystem, but will specifically make a difference between the other stability control systems, and the Audi one). More about
the technology can be read from this link: DRP / multitronic.

Another case, the Audi TT model can be tested later in the beginning of
2010, maybe more suitable for summer roads. Quantity available for test
driving is currently limited, though I called only one shop so far. Finland
has at least 50 Audi sales and maintenance shops just in Southern region.

I'm forking out economics and the equation for estimating total costs per kilometer
travelled; the durability of these cars, maintenance network coverage, and costs
of maintenance. Also calculating how much it costs to transport an item
that has a known volume and weight. The weight factor is probably quite
negligible, except it has an impact on the physical stress of the job. We can't
assume everyone can lift 40kg just like that. There's different driver physiques.

It's always a good idea to book beforehand the test drives, so
you don't have to drive between different shops and get disappointed
if there's no cars available. And you save time & gasoline.

maanantai 16. marraskuuta 2009

Fleet management and financing costs

We are looking for currently fleet management solutions for a transportation fleet of 4-5 vehicles in Finland. If you have further interest in providing solutions or links to these kind of resources, kindly asking you to mail me at jukka.paulin(/at/)

We will consider all alternatives and will be making decisions in the next 3-6 months. The project is undergoing constant development, our software and command center is main priority and scheduled release is in Q2/2010. We are also looking for partners in venture capital, risk management, and algorithm/programming development in logistics.

/the Tuokko team