Systems and algorithms were created not to create difficulties for riders.
In fact, the riders are convinced of the system’s instructions precisely because they are usually effective and accurate. However, the system was criticized because the rider crashed at the time when the rider needed correct instructions the most.
This is a technical bug.
First few Today, an article in”People” titled”Takeaway Riders, Stuck in the System” swept the screen. The dilemma caused by the takeaway platform to the takeaway riders caused heated discussions, and the”rider” was also connected to the hot search on Weibo for two days. After the article was published, Ele.me quickly responded, saying that it would launch a”willing to wait another 5 minutes” button, MeituanThen said that the system will give the rider 8 minutes of flexibility. Meituan acknowledged the technical limitations of the algorithm, which is certainly not a problem faced by its family.
The take-out platforms are all outside the system scheduling, leaving a back door for manual scheduling-as long as there is a place covered by take-out riders, there will be a centralized site, and the webmaster is the site manager.
In fact, before the smart dispatch system was developed in 2017, the webmaster was the brain most familiar with the entire area.
Now, the webmaster, like the rider, is deeply embedded in the entire food delivery system. They are connected to the system and the rider, and correct errors when there is a problem with the machine scheduling.”The stationmaster is doing the work of a repairman and a maintenance man,” Liu Haili told”e-commerce online.” He became a rider in 2015, was promoted to a stationmaster, and is now the regional leader in charge of 3 stations.
“People” quoted a webmaster in the screen-sweeping report that the webmaster was not to save the rider’s power, but to”excavate the potential and speed of each rider to the maximum limit”.
With this quote alone, it would be too sloppy to simply assign the webmaster to the role of the capital and the huge machine. In the interview with”e-commerce online”, we found that the webmaster is not a squeeze. Many of them start from the rider to the position of the webmaster, know the difficulties of the rider, and have feelings about where they come from.
There are also webmasters who start from the simple emotion that a team should help each other,”a team must help each other”.
To be more straightforward, the interests of the webmaster are almost the same as those of the rider. The assessment indicators they carry can reflect this-one of the assessment criteria is”rider retention rate.” This means that to maximize the value of the rider, even if it is the starting point of the station master, but in more cases, they need to consider the interests of the rider, and even assume the role of a comforter, persuading riders who want to”hope” to stay .
Whether it is the flexible scheduling of the system or the active or passive care for the riders, the stationmaster is the most”human nature” part of the entire food delivery system.
From 11 am to 12:30 noon every day is the peak time for lunch, and it is also the busiest time for riders and station masters.
The eyes of the station leader Zhang Tao and the dispatcher in the station have not left the computer screen for a moment—there is a map of the area on which the riders turned into dots and drove in different directions. In just 1.5 hours, he needed to keep an eye on the delivery status of more than 900 takeaway orders at the site.
Under normal circumstances, the system will automatically send orders to riders. But once it is discovered that the route is not smooth, the order imbalance between the rider and the rider must be manually dispatched by him.
Long-term command in front of a computer has made Zhang Tao different from ordinary people’s understanding of the route. The route in his eyes is a plane and an angle.”A rider, if the 5 orders received are distributed in an area with a 15-degree angle, is it better to deliver than orders at a 60-degree angle?”
The webmaster must stay in front of the computer . Commanders who coordinate from a global perspective do not need to end the battle, but they do not have a moment of freedom.”If you go out and send 50 orders and other people don’t have a reasonable schedule, isn’t it a waste of time,” Zhang Tao said.
There are many emergencies. A certain merchant eats food too slowly, which has constrained the delivery staff of multiple sites. The webmaster needs to sell some face to remind the merchant. In the event of a traffic accident, the station master must also support and coordinate the rider from the rear.
At lunch peak, impatient customers will always click the reminder button. The reminder tone sounds both in the rider’s headset and in the station. When a serious order breaks, the mechanical female voices may even overlap.
At one o’clock, the reminder tone gradually disappeared, but the system prompts frequently sounded again, but this time it became”There is a rider requesting a break, please deal with it in time”,”A rider initiates leaving get off work, Please handle it in time.” Zhang Tao has to process these applications again, but he must also make sure to leave enough staff to dispatch the next orders.
22-year-old Zhang Tao is the youngest webmaster in the entire area. Two years ago, in order to have a more free life, he changed from a construction truck driver to a takeaway brother, and grew from a team leader with two or three people to a station leader with 70 riders. In more than a year as a rider, Zhang Tao did not have a bad review.
Managing a 70-person medium-sized site is not easy. Zhang Tao gained trust and authority through the experience of imparting”zero negative reviews” by other riders.
And another webmaster Wang Jian is more like a service-oriented manager.
Wang Jian tried a variety of small businesses before the age of 38, and gained the ability to deal with all kinds of people in society. At the end of 2015, his business was so weak that he decided to take out food to solve his life. At that time, the industry was just emerging, and the biggest requirement for webmasters was to have crowd cohesion. After being a rider for 3 months, he was promoted to stationmaster.
In addition to scheduling during the lunch and dinner peak periods, Wang Jian also organizes a mobilization meeting for the riders during the rest of the time to help the riders solve trivial matters such as arrears in telephone bills, no money to eat, and a broken car. .
After the evening peak is over, he will complete a day’s rehearsal. After dinner, he will go to chat with some riders as a daily cohesion.
How much is the penalty?
Uniting the delivery staff is one of the most important tasks for the webmaster that Wang Jian understands. He claimed that the webmaster is the patriarch of the delivery staff.”Eating and drinking Lhasa will take care of everything.”
This attitude is based on the site’s delivery staff retention rate, as well as his own understanding of the delivery staff. . He feels that takeaways come from different backgrounds, takeaways are even the first jobs of many people in the city, and the stationmaster is their little leader and the only person they can rely on.
But using”parents” to describe the relationship between the webmaster and the delivery staff is too intimate. There must also be rules and punishment systems, which are related to the operation of the entire site and the income of the site owner.
For the courier, he stipulated that the overtime delivery fee will be halved, and the negative review and complaint will be deducted 50-200 yuan.
This is already the lightest punishment. He gave an example. Some webmasters fined the money, which was too vicious. The worst day could be fined up to 500. For complaints and early delivery, the fine was 200 yuan.
This is also the reason why Wang Jian does not look down on many”airborne stationmasters” nowadays.”Nowadays, many college students have not run takeaways after graduation, so they just come to be the stationmaster. They only go to give tasks, but they don’t know that the rider runs out on a single order every day, and you are fined for this or that fine. People are here to make money. , It’s not for fines all day long.”
As an old webmaster with 4 years of experience, he started as a takeaway. He believed in understanding and tolerance after practice.”We really feel overtime. This is too normal. Many orders or weather problems are almost inevitable for newcomers.”
Many webmasters have shown great tolerance to newcomers, although Sometimes this tolerance is based on”retention rate” considerations. If a rider’s order is met with compensation, most sites will help to bear half of the compensation. If a new rider has a problem, the site is likely to pay for it in full.
The fine and the amount of compensation is a power that the webmaster holds in his hand, and it is also a part that can be transferred. The webmaster’s understanding of the delivery staff determines the difference in the penalty rules for delivery staff and constitutes the final human space between the delivery staff and the system.
From loose to strict
Almost The walls of each site are covered with rules and event posters. These rules are often detailed to the number of attendance days per month, the number of orders per day, and the subsidies that riders receive from each order.
The punishment system is also very clear. Overtime rate, bad review rate, complaint rate, and abnormal cancellation rate constitute the four dimensions of the evaluation. Each item can only be qualified if it is controlled at 1-2%. This means that for every 100 orders sent by a dedicated rider, there is only 1 error tolerance space.
The salary of the rider is directly linked to the order volume and evaluation. Their assessment also affects the income of the webmaster. If the rider can pass the assessment, the platform will give the site a reward of 0.5-1 yuan per order, and the site manager will take 10%of all rewards. For example, a site can send 30,000 orders without bad reviews every month, and the site manager can get 3,000 yuan in commission in addition to the basic salary. If it is not completed, the site will need to pay a fine to the platform.
This kind of benefit is tied together, so that the stationmaster will lead the old rider to help the new rider. Among the takeaway riders, there is often a traditional mentorship. A new rider will always be taken by an old rider to get acquainted with businesses and nearby communities. The old rider in charge will teach the newcomer how to use navigation and even teach him how to communicate with an angry customer. But the benefits of binding sometimes make poorly performing riders a”target” for other riders.
Strict regulations and perfect assessment system were only available in the past two years.
The riders who joined the company before 2018 have felt this change. Before 2018, “there are few riders and the platform is very loose. We can leave as soon as the meal is delivered,” Zhang Tao said.
At that time, the competition among many food delivery platforms has evolved from the competition between Meituan, Ele.me, and Baidu Waimai to an even more intense rivalry between the two parties. In April 2018, after Ali acquired Ele.me for US$9.5 billion, the takeaway track was a battle between the two giants.
Faster delivery time, larger delivery area, and more neat knight uniforms (and more eye-catching helmet accessories) can all become promotional points for takeaway platforms to help them Occupy a larger market share.
The problem is not”fast” at all, but the peak and valley fluctuations are too large
The premise of solving all problems lies in finding a consensus.
A food delivery system requires the participation of four parties:users, riders, merchants, and platforms.
These four roles do not have their own interests, as many media have said. Their goals are actually very consistent and fast.
Platforms and merchants hope to have more orders. The former creates a demand for”get everything fast”, hoping to gain a larger market share in commercial competition, but at the same time it also raises user expectations . Users want to eat hot meals in the shortest possible time. In fact, riders prefer to run fast and send as many orders as possible in a day.
But the contradiction that this consensus cannot be reached is that the volume of orders in the food delivery industry fluctuates too much.
Even if he has been in the food delivery industry for 5 years, the peak period of food delivery often brings Liu Haili a sense of powerlessness. Noon orders account for 60%to 70%of the whole day, and the remaining 30%of orders come from the afternoon and evening. The 1,000 orders for a site must be compressed to 1.5 hours and all sent out.”At this time, people can only stack them,” he said.
In order to cope with the influx of orders during peak periods, recruiting more people is the most straightforward way. In order to ensure the user experience, takeaway platforms also suggest that the site recruit more people.
But if you hire more people, the most direct impact is the income of the rider.”The rider is to make money. He works 10-12 hours a day. After a busy period at noon, there is nothing in the afternoon. He can only earn more than 100 or 200 yuan that day.” Liu Haili said.
Webmasters need to consider more. How to balance the peak and trough periods of manpower so that orders during peak periods cannot be overtime and capacity during idle periods cannot be left idle. This is a difficult math problem.
“We can alleviate the pressure of distribution by double the capacity, but in that case, the cost of employment is too high.” Liu Haili said that the delivery fee for a part-time rider is 1 yuan higher than that of a full-time rider. . To a certain extent, the rider’s bursting caused by the tight capacity is also a consideration of interests after weighing.
“If the order is more even and the takeaway riders are relaxed, we can do it too.”
How to make takeaway orders more even?
If a platform only does take-out, there will always be peaks and valleys, but if the platform merges non-take-out orders, the riders’ order peaks and valleys may be flattened.
In fact, many big manufacturers are already doing such a solution. On July 10, Ele.me announced a comprehensive upgrade, from the food delivery platform to a “life service platform that solves all immediate needs around users”. Meituan did it earlier. The Meituan flash sale launched in 2018 is known as the”E-commerce platform where everything gets home in 30 minutes.”
To put it bluntly, these food delivery platforms from”delivering food” to”delivering everything” are merging similar items of resources to achieve the maximum allocation of capacity and make the situation of”busy at noon and idle in the afternoon” Get a more reasonable improvement.
In a huge system, individuals will appear vulnerable. Observe the contradiction with a magnifying glass, and all the oppositions have become tense. Making the algorithm slower, acknowledging technical limitations and improving is one direction. But acknowledging the value of the system and using another business approach to solve business problems may be a better solution. Business is not cruel, and technology is not the original sin.