Technology, teamwork keep delivery on dot

There was never a time before when consumers bought from a plethora of brands without leaving their homes.

Before online shopping made a splash, purchases on the Internet were short of unthinkable as many doubted that the process was secure and that the items purchased would be accurate as to what was advertised.

With online shopping booming, Martin Yu, head of SPX Express, logistics partner of Shopee, said modernizing delivery services is needed, starting with its automated SOC 5 sorting facility in Calamba, Laguna as the country’s biggest.

“At SPX, we aim to provide a seamless logistics experience connecting buyers and sellers. I kept asking myself how we could further support the country’s expanding digital economy and drive further improvements,” Yu related to the Daily Tribune.

Each day, over 3 million packages pass through the facility’s conveyor belt with scanning machines powered by artificial intelligence and high-precision lasers. Since SPX launched the facility’s pilot operations in the third quarter of last year, Yu said its sorting efficiency has climbed to 60 percent.

Consequently, he said the time to complete the full process of unloading items for sorting to loading them into delivery vans has been cut by two hours.

“Given the incredible growth in e-commerce, it is equally important to ensure that logistics can keep up with the surge in transactions,” Yu said.

Data from Statista show e-commerce revenues in the Philippines could grow by at least 11 percent annually, with over 39 million shoppers adding items to their cart online several times a month.

Community service

SPX taps over 300 delivery hubs and residents in the hubs’ locations to serve customers across the country while helping generate jobs in communities.

“While automation has been a game-changer for us, we firmly believe that the human touch is irreplaceable,” Yu said.

The automated facility, for example, employs some of the 600,000 residents in Calamba, he said.

While there is still no concrete plan to open another automated facility, Yu said SPX is studying to add more small delivery hubs to reach more customers.

“Building this whole automated facility takes time. We need a new set of drivers to be trained on using the trucks and knowing the delivery routes,” he explained. 

“But there’s a push to increase our coverage to make sure hubs cover tighter areas. They’re smaller so they become easy for riders to enter more areas,” Yu added.


Amid the constant and fast-paced nature of the logistics industry, Yu said he has learned to value time more in all aspects of life.

“One of the best things I’ve learned from SPX is that setting short-term goals and milestones is important,” he shared.

“Whether it’s hitting a new milestone at work to enhance SPX’s efficiency or just consistently making it in time for my kids’ bedtime for one straight week, I like having something to look forward to,” Yu continued.

As online shopping and other technologies help people save time and energy as opposed to traveling to physical stores, Yu recommended some other activities consumers and business leaders can do to use these resources wisely.

Couch potatoes not allowed

“I feel it’s important to have activities that keep us fit,” he said.

As a tennis enthusiast, Yu stressed sports train the mind and the body to stay sharp and agile, while also allowing people to have fun.

“You know how it can be in offices. A lot of time is spent on the desk answering emails, attending meetings, and playing sports helps in maintaining good health,” he said.

“My measure is how many parcels get to the buyers within two or three days. I think that interval improved last year by 20 percent. But I think the biggest effect would start this year,” Yu said.

Yu shared that the new facility is the main and largest in the Philippines in terms of the number of machines.

Robots employed

He said the machines include smart cameras and robotic tools that sort items more accurately and faster.

The machines scan and carry around over 3 million parcels daily, while the facility spans 25,000 square meters, Yu said.

Calamba Mayor Roseller Rizal expressed optimism that the new Shopee facility could encourage small entrepreneurs in Calamba to expand their business amid the popularity of online stores.

“In today’s era of globalization and digitalization we live with online shopping and we are never going back because online shopping has made it a lot easier for us to purchase goods from all over the world,” he said.

Rizal shared the business environment in Calamba is being supported by over 600,000 residents and 11 industrial parks, as well.