Meituan Unveils Algorithm Rules for Food Delivery Order Allocation

After the government urged firms to improve working conditions, Chinese food delivery giant Meituan published its rules showing how the company’s algorithms allocate orders.

The person in charge of Meituan‘s food delivery business said that the dispatching platform conducts an analysis of its delivery men and women, orders, and merchants along with other pertinent information in an effort to find the best and most efficient combination of delivery person availability, time, and distance.

However, in areas such as viaducts with poor signals, it is difficult to identify the exact position of delivery personnel which may lead to an unreasonable dispatch, resulting in riders unable to complete delivery according to the estimated time. For this problem, Meituan currently has solutions such as order transfer and reassignment, and will continue to increase investment in technology R&D to overcome the problem caused by complex offline situations.

In addition, in the current dispatching mode, besides the passive dispatching, delivery personnel can choose orders recommended by the system or grab orders they are interested in, so as to achieve a balance between work and rest.

In order to continuously optimize the experience of the delivery team, Meituan held several meetings to listen to their opinions. There can always be unexpected situations in the process of food delivery, such as a delayed order, no contact with customers, sudden failure of vehicles and so on. In response to these emergencies, Meituan launched its pilot of “after-meal scheduling” and the function of “active reassignment”.

The “active reassignment” function is aimed at abnormal situations in the distribution process. This function has been piloted in Changchun, Yinchuan, Qingdao and other cities. The pilot data shows that the timeout rate of reassigned riders has dropped by 51.79% at the highest.

The after-meal scheduling mechanism refers to reducing the waiting time of delivery for merchants by optimizing the dispatching mechanism. At present, 2400 stores across the country have participated in the pilot project. In 32 pilot stores in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, the average waiting time of delivery personnel has decreased by 51%, and about 72% of merchants have reported that the overall experience has improved.

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Meituan has also built a reporting and processing system for abnormal situations, helping the delivery team solve problems in a more timely manner.

The person in charge of Meituan‘s food delivery business said: “At present, we still have many challenges to solve in dispatching orders. We will continue to increase investment in technology research and development, improve the real-time acquisition of our delivery team’s basic data, and continuously improve the efficiency of order allocation.”