Ninja Van, Southeast Asia’s leading logistics provider, is extending its multi-year collaboration with Google Cloud to help businesses of all sizes seize digital growth opportunities and overcome supply chain disruptions. By running its platform and applications on Google Cloud’s scalable, secure and open-source infrastructure, Ninja Van aims to strengthen its leadership in last-mile courier services and expand upstream into supply chain management solutions.
Backed by the likes of Europe’s largest parcel delivery network GeoPost / DPDgroup and global investment firm B Capital, Ninja Van has operations in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It is now the trusted delivery partner for close to two million businesses and handles around two million parcels daily across Southeast Asia. To facilitate onshore or nearshore production and distribution for businesses in the region, Ninja Van recently launched Ninja Direct, a procurement concierge that offers services like supplier sourcing and management, customs clearance, financing, and shipments tracking.
“Retailers have shifted toward e-commerce strategies as opposed to selling through physical stores, especially with the pandemic forcing consumers to shop online more than ever before. With disruptions to the traditional flow of raw materials and finished goods, there’s also an urgent need for adaptive micro supply chains that allow businesses to ‘make where they sell’ and fulfill orders quicker,” said Shaun Chong, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Ninja Van. “We chose Google Cloud because of its proven ability to help us scale reliably and innovate at high velocity, as we address the region’s end-to-end logistics management needs.”
Freeing Up Talent to Drive Innovation and Impact
Ninja Van consistently evaluates whether it is making efficient use of its technical talent. This means determining how the cloud can empower its 150 engineers, developers and data scientists to build products that add value to the business, instead of spending time managing complex IT infrastructure.
With Google’s open cloud approach, Ninja Van’s technical teams are free to choose the tools they need to accelerate software development and scale more efficiently – while also reducing technology risk. For instance, by using Google Cloud’s open-source data processing platform – which integrates seamlessly with its data scientists’ preferred external data visualization tools, Ninja Van’s teams can comfortably process terabytes of data daily to support the company’s business needs.
To create its NinjaChat chatbot and simulate the quality and immediacy of in-person interactions, Ninja Van’s developers turned to Google Cloud’s open-source and pre-built virtual agents to bring the feature to life in a month, rather than spend three months building a machine learning framework from scratch.
“From a chatbot that enhances customer experiences to algorithms for fuel-saving route optimization – these are amongst the hundreds of new features released by Ninja Van each day. By automating application deployment and upgrades using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), our technical teams can avoid engaging in manual backend configurations and stay laser-focused on innovation,” said Chong.
“We’re actively hiring to bolster our technology teams in the region. Once we have the talent in the door, it makes zero sense to have them recreate code that exists and is ready-to-use, or manually select servers with the right vCPUs or RAM to deploy each application. We appreciate that Google Cloud puts open-source at the center of its solutions, while GKE does a great job at making sure things happen automatically. These allow us to avoid lock-in, reduce costs and truly give our in-house talent the ability to make more meaningful contributions to the business,” added Chong.
Security and Zero Downtime to Enable 24/7 Operations
According to a study by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, Southeast Asia’s e-commerce gross merchandise value was projected to have doubled in 2021 to exceed US$120 billion and is expected to reach US$234 billion by 2025. As Ninja Van continues to help retailers compete in this fast-growing market and expand its services upstream, reliability and data protection remain top priorities.
The demand for Ninja Van’s services have grown by three times during the pandemic. Whether it is preparing for major online sales events like Singles’ Day, responding to sudden surges in demand because of merchants running ad hoc campaigns, or making thousands of software upgrades each year, Google Cloud’s dynamic autoscaling capabilities enable Ninja Van’s website and mobile applications to handle 10 times the normal traffic with a smooth user experience, before scaling down to reduce costs when additional computing resources are no longer needed.
“Having benefited from security solutions that are designed by default into Google Cloud’s infrastructure, such as end-to-end encryption and automated patching against vulnerabilities like Apache Log4j 2, we will now work with Google Cloud’s security specialists on additional ways to reinforce our zero trust security model,” said Chong.
“Technology is the bedrock of Ninja Van’s 24/7 operations, so zero downtime is critical for avoiding delivery delays or backlogs. Security has also always been a top priority, but as our brand becomes more visible and we connect with more third-parties after expanding upstream, we’re making a deliberate effort to strengthen how we protect our customers’ data. Whether it’s ensuring uptime or preserving customer trust, the team at Google Cloud have been true partners in addressing our pain points. Our extended relationship will see Ninja Van run all our workloads on Google Cloud, as the team continues to play a key role in our next phase of growth,” added Chong.
“We’re proud to have played a part in Ninja Van becoming a leading end-to-end logistics management provider and one of the most admired technology unicorns,” said Ruma Balasubramanian, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, Google Cloud. “By investing in world-class talent and relentless innovation, the company is well-positioned to deliver the just-in-time production and distribution capabilities that businesses need to satisfy contemporary consumers’ desire for product variety and immediacy. Google Cloud will continue to uphold our high standards in reliability, collaboration, openness and security, as we support Ninja Van’s vision of connecting Southeast Asia to a world of commerce possibilities.”