As a co-founder at Delivery Solutions, Arshaad Mirza reimagined the e-commerce space, modernizing shipping with third-party orchestration and same-day delivery to best serve both retailers and customers. As an end-to-end service, Delivery Solutions streamlines the shipping process while providing an invaluable opportunity for retailers to extend their brand into areas they might not have otherwise had access to. He believes that every interaction a customer has with a retailer should be through the sacred lens of that retailer’s brand. Mirza spends his days making that a possibility for incredible retailers who hope to enhance their online shopping and shipping experiences for customers.
Prior to his current role, Mirza was a founder at LASH delivery, which was acquired by H.E.B. in 2017. He spent two years here, growing his hands-on knowledge of delivery systems. LASH Delivery focused on alcohol delivery in the Texas area. Before that, Mirza was a senior manager for Global Managed Services at Dell EMC. He transformed and optimized the delivery strategy to meet the $1 billion projected business revenue in 2015 and focused on the customer experience.
Mirza holds a Masters in Science in Information Networking and Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Arshaad Mirza: As a co-founder of Delivery Solutions, I reimagined the e-commerce space – modernizing shipping with third-party orchestration and same-day delivery to best serve both retailers and customers. I spend my days making that a possibility for incredible retailers who hope to enhance their online shopping and shipping experience for customers. Prior to my current role, I was a founder at LASH Delivery (acquired). I spent two years there growing my hands-on knowledge of delivery systems. LASH Delivery focused on alcohol delivery in the Texas area.
Delivery Solutions is the inventor of experience-driven orchestration. We were the first company to look at the fragmented third-party, last-mile landscape and use an intelligent orchestration layer to forge an ecosystem that retailers benefit from today. Form and function is at the heart of what we do. Whether it is solutions for delivery, curbside, in-store pick up, ship-from-store or post purchase, every interaction has technology and branding enhancing the interplay between retailer and consumer, leading to superior experiences.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Arshaad Mirza: At Delivery Solutions the pandemic provided strong tailwinds fueling our growth and helped establish us as leaders in experience-driven orchestration of the last-mile. We had the vantage point of seeing the impact of 2020 and 2021 on retailers that moved quickly to adapt to the shift to contactless e-commerce and fulfillment as opposed to those that did not make the transition. The last couple of years underlined the importance of having an omnichannel strategy that helps mitigate against unforeseen risks to distribution and supply chain channels and also brought the importance of employee satisfaction and loyalty front and center.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Arshaad Mirza: Pre-pandemic, the future of retail was already on a path towards immersive digital experiences and logistics on steroids putting superior customer experiences at the core of every interaction. The pandemic years have served as a catalyst for adoption both on the consumer and retailer end and we are seeing a massive investment in bringing inventory closer to the customer and reducing wait times. Businesses that are thriving are the ones that are transforming their physical footprint to also serve as hyperlocal ship-from-store and deliver-from-store hubs. The key to navigating these unprecedented times has been understanding the change in consumer sentiment and adapting to it.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Arshaad Mirza: Last-mile has been pushed into the spotlight with the pandemic creating havoc with traditional supply chain distribution channels. Businesses have demanded more from the last mile to keep up with consumer demand. At Delivery Solutions we have focused on expanding our ecosystem of fulfillment options to make experience-rich, contactless fulfillment a reality. Technology driven same-day delivery, curbside, in-store, ship-from-store offerings have been augmented with delivery to lockers through our partnership with Bell and Howell and access to better unit economics with autonomous vehicles through our partnerships with Tortoise, Wing and others. We also invested heavily in ensuring that our retailers’ brand equity is maintained in the digital interaction through robust post-purchase options that put the consumer in the driver’s seat with regards to real time optics on their purchases as they make their way to their homes.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Arshaad Mirza: If I look back, it would have been great to have had the opportunity to be aware of and prepare in advance for the exponential growth in the last-mile space. Of course, no one could have predicted the impact of the pandemic, and it feels good to have been able to stay nimble and adapt to the unknown. In 2022, we intend to focus on building awareness and expanding our footprint to service a wider audience that includes geographies beyond North America. We continue to double down on our technology investments and leverage predictive machine learning to drive orchestration outcomes that align with businesses’ objectives.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Arshaad Mirza: We are starting to see a semblance of normalcy return with the notion of the pandemic being at the tail end of its course. There will be a surge in in-store shopping, meeting in person, and we are already seeing the return to in-person business conferences on the calendar. I believe that there has been an underlying shift in expectations that will continue in a post pandemic world. Remote work will form a much larger percentage of the norm and will drive better work-life balance scores. Online shopping and the need for better, faster and cheaper delivery to the door will sustain at levels much higher than pre-pandemic. I also predict, and honestly hope, businesses continue to understand the importance of the “employee” and make fundamental changes that allow for a more equitable environment.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Arshaad Mirza: More than is recommended.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Arshaad Mirza: We have global teams and oftentimes we have folks working on the other side of the globe on real problems that are faced here at home. At every level of the organization, we have learned over the years to not take the normal for granted and use analogies to provide the context and urgency that may otherwise be lost. For example, we have dedicated slack channels for open communications with our teams, and we keep the communications touchpoints on everything in our operations in a collaborative momentum. Time zones, locations, PTO’s all do not hinder operations as the collaboration via those channels eliminates friction points that would cause delays. Everyone in the organization is on board, collaborating and moving things forward.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Arshaad Mirza: Last-mile fulfillment is relatively young, and the space continues to be fragmented. The unit economics of delivery continue to dictate transaction fees, throttling demand and autonomous vehicles are still years away from mass adoption to make an impact on cost of delivery. We are starting to see provider specialization that allows for non-standard products like furniture, alcohol, prescription drugs and others to participate in fulfillment from stores. Orchestration platforms like ours have helped foster an ecosystem that businesses can tap into and get the best of what is available today.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Arshaad Mirza: Drones fascinate me from the standpoint of their application and influence in both civilian and military context. We are working with our partner Wing to make drone delivery a reality for our customers. I’m looking forward to learning more of the capabilities and regulatory aspects that will help identify new market opportunities.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Arshaad Mirza: The Great Resignation makes it impossible for any executive to ignore the writing on the wall. There is a voice to the emotion employees have harbored for a while, and I believe the movement has enough traction to force some fundamental changes. We need to look at the data and understand the pain points that have brought us to this point and work collaboratively with employees to create an environment that fosters loyalty and pride.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Arshaad Mirza: I would have the ability to see the future. I’m always fascinated by points in time when the impossibles of today are rendered possible by the innovations in the future.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Arshaad Mirza: Success, to me, is a growing list of businesses across the globe that are wowed by what we enable for them, and in turn, a service that adapts and scales to meet the needs of the consumer and the community. As we mature in 2022, I look at success as being able to bring balance to our drive for hyper growth with investments in sustainable options that reduce the overall carbon footprint in last-mile logistics. One of our key metrics in 2022 will center around the well-being of our employees and the initiatives we can sponsor to listen and act for a better tomorrow.
Jerome Knysewzski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Arshaad Mirza for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Arshaad Mirza or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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