Now available! ‘Tamsang-Tamsong On-Demand Delivery’ platform, a business model based on Social Solidarity Economy idea by a Chula researcher that supports community ownership and synergies, creates jobs, generates revenue, and reduces consumer costs. This New choice for consumers is now ready to expand to many communities across the country!
Akkanut Wantanasombat, a researcher from the Institute for Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, presented the findings from his 2019 research “Rider-Heroes-Chains” that, in the delivery business, riders are underpaid while their working conditions are risky with low social security, while consumers are paying more for what they believe is the “best value”.
“While researching, we were angry to see riders, businesses, and customers being overexploited by food delivery companies, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. People commuted less as they worked from home which drastically reduced riders’ income. As for restaurants, they could not sell through their shopfronts and had to rely on online channels. They were charged so much for the commission that they had to increase their selling prices, resulting in consumers paying more than they should. All parties were worse off,” Akkanut revealed the factors contributing to the expansion of the “Riders-Heroes-Chains” research to “Tamsang-Tamsong On-Demand Delivery” – Development of Social Solidarity Economy Business Model Project.
This “On-Demand Delivery” is a research project that studies and develops a community-based delivery platform/business model based social solidary economy that is fair to all parties, while increasing career opportunities and stability for the community. More importantly, we hope that this project will create more solidarity in the community,” said Akkanut.
The On-Demand-Delivery Business Model Research Project is funded by many parties, including the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Collaborating Centre for Labour Research, Chulalongkorn University (CU-ColLaR), the Research Management Office, and the CU Social Innovation Hub.
“This project originated from the people’s tax and educational institutions. So, it should be returned to society. Therefore, the project’s success goal is not to measure the profit in money, but the benefits that will be generated in the communities and to build the knowledge of the much-discussed, but not implemented social solidarity economy in Thailand.”
On-Demand Delivery based on Social Solidarity Economy
Tamsang-Tamsong On-Demand Delivery is similar to other private platforms, but it is based on the core value of a “social solidarity economy” which provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to reach a common agreement while designing rules and regulations that benefit everyone. If one party wants to change a certain thing, the matter needs to be discussed and agreed upon first so that there is no conflict in the future. It’s something different from traditional business models, in which some people win, some people lose, or a “winner takes all.”
Though viewed as “idealistic”, the team is confident the concept is feasible, and will sustainably strengthen the communities.
“It may take some time, especially in the process to get all parties – riders, merchants, and consumers in the communities to see the benefits and understand how they’re going to benefit from this business model apart from monetary profit.”
The financial model is not the most difficult aspect of this business model, but rather the process of working with local people. Initially, the research team must understand social conditions and factors that create social cohesion, as well as factors that promote a sense of shared ownership and desire for participation in self-management.
“In the beginning, the cost of project management, technological development, and system maintenance will be fully shouldered by the research project. When the community feels they are benefiting and willing to take care of the operational costs to be fully run by the community, the research team will gradually step back, but will continue to provide technical support.”
On-Demand Delivery – Pay As You Go, No Surcharge
One of the major challenges in alternative delivery business is adjusting consumer attitudes. Akkanut says that most customers who tried the “Tamsang-Tamsong On-Demand Delivery” service were satisfied with the actual quantity (of food) and price (same price as a storefront), but not happy with having to pay for a delivery, which seems to be more than the promotional price on private business platforms.
“We need to raise awareness among the consumers about this business – the promotions, the free delivery costs, the discounts — that prevent consumers from seeing the actual costs they have to pay.”
“Our On-Demand Delivery platform does not absorb delivery costs or add any surcharge. Consumers have to pay the actual price, which is ultimately less than other platforms. So, we have to gradually explain this to the customers, so that they look at the total price, and not just the delivery costs.”
On-Demand Delivery, Convenient and Supportive of the Community
As a platform for communities, and by communities, the LINE application with which many people are familiar is used for placing orders. Chatbots are also available to communicate with customers.
“The team tries to make it easy for everybody to use the system without much digital skill – only a few keystrokes, and you can gain access to services.”
Most importantly, Tamsang-Tamsong On-Demand Delivery focuses on providing services within a radius of about 3-5 square kilometers. Restaurants and riders in that community are invited to participate in the project while targeting customers in the community. Each area has a different target audience.
“For example, Chula Sam Yan will focus on serving students, staff, and residents of this area. Some provincial areas may focus on caregivers of the elderly, bedridden patients, or elderly people in need who may have difficulties traveling around. The team will approach these people and introduce them to the tools, and train them for their benefits.”
The On-Demand-Delivery is a community-focused service with many business advantages. In addition to the more affordable overall price, consumers can order from more than one tier.
“For each order, consumers can order from more than one store because they are not far apart. Customers may have to pay an additional actual delivery cost, but there are no GP (Gross Profit) fees or commission to the platform. The customers’ costs will be reduced because they don’t have to order separately like any other platforms.”
On-Demand Delivery – a business model tailored to the local context
Tamsang-Tamsong On-Demand Delivery has been active since 2020 starting with the first Soi Ladprao 101 community. To this day, the community is still very active on the platform, with more than 70 stores and 44 riders.
Based on favorable feedback, the research team has expanded the platform to other areas, such as Chula, SamYan, Charoenkrung, Mueang Ake, Bang Khun Thian, Petchkasem, Nakkila Village, etc.
“Trials in a variety of areas are beneficial to the project, so we can examine certain factors, such as social and cultural conditions that are key variables of each area, and tailor the processes to fit those key elements.”
Up until now, the research team has experimented with adapting this business model to projects tailored to the needs of each area, including:
- Take Pinto (Bring Your Food Carrier) Project to reduce single-use plastic in the food delivery industry — a pilot project in Phuket by a Chula research team in collaboration with the Phuket Environment Foundation, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Phuket Chapter.
“Phuket is a tourist city and the food delivery industry uses a lot of plastic, so we want to reduce the amount of used plastic. The way the project works is that customers and shops each have a set of ‘pinto’ (Thai food carriers). When an order is placed, they will switch the pintos to lessen the going back and forth.” Akkanut also revealed the next step of the project that EV electric motorcycles may be used to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce energy costs.
- Worker Co-op business model at Surat Thani Province — a pilot business model that allows riders to become business partners and manage their own business, with prior consultation with consumers and stores when making decisions. Akkanut said that this model is currently under feasibility study. If operating results are good, it could be applied in other areas as well.
“Currently, the research team is very pleased that many rider associations have shown interest and have contacted us, for example, those in Samut Songkram, Pichit, Pitsanulok, and Chiang Mai provinces.”
Aiming to expand nationwide to fortify local businesses
Tamsang-Tamsong On-Demand Delivery business gives more benefits than monetary gain.
“Relationships in many communities have improved among riders, stores, and residents.” The research team hopes that the emerging solidarity will inspire communities across the country to try out this business model. We will be happy to facilitate.
“In the future, the development team may make it an open source, so anybody can tailor the platform to suit their context, and run it themselves. The only condition is that it is based on the concept of a social solidarity economy.”
Akkanut concluded that in the future, the research team will gradually improve the infrastructure to support expansion to new areas, each of which operates independently.
Consumers interested in using the “Tamsang-Tamsong On-Demand Delivery” service can check the service areas at https://www.ตามสั่ง-ตามส่ง.com/
or Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/tamsangtamsong101
or add a friend on Line at https://line.me/R/ti/p/%40456ttsxn
Communities or rider groups interested in trying this business model can contact Akkanut Wantanasombat, Institute for Asian Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Tel. +668 9000-6667, or email [email protected].