Stay organized with collections Save and categorize content based on your preferences.

Zeemart: Streamlining F&B procurement with the machine learning capabilities of Google Cloud

About Zeemart

Zeemart is a food and beverage (F&B) procurement platform that connects buyers and suppliers to make discovery, purchasing, and communication easier through a simple interface. With offices in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Dubai, Zeemart aims to help businesses make smarter buying decisions by aggregating orders and streamlining the purchasing of goods to lower costs.

Industries: Technology
Location: Singapore

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

Zeemart’s F&B procurement platform is faster and more reliable after moving to Google Cloud and using Google Kubernetes Engine and Firebase to scale quickly and seamlessly to its growing user base.

Google Cloud results

  • Reduces the number of technical issues by 80%, using the machine learning-powered problem-solving capabilities of Firebase
  • Google Kubernetes Engine delivers auto-repair capabilities, eliminating the need for Zeemart team to be on standby 24/7
  • Delivers up to 50% time savings for Zeemart’s customers: less time spent placing orders and tracking price increases
  • BigQuery learns customers’ purchase habits to help reduce risk of wrong orders and minimize over-ordering and food wastage

Helps cut costs by 30% with Google Kubernetes Engine

The food and beverage (F&B) industry is a dynamic one, with a variety of restaurants and suppliers at different stages of growth. Because of this, processes for purchasing food are often not standardized, with many invoices still done with pen and paper. "Restaurants usually work with anything between 20 to 30 suppliers, so it can be tough to keep track and accurately monitor cost," says Keith Tan, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Zeemart, an order and invoice management platform designed to help food suppliers and restaurants save time and money throughout the procurement journey.

Zeemart staff

According to Keith, new F&B outlet owners are often focused on front of house matters such as restaurant decor and food quality but miss out on the finer back of house details such as food supply, where a lot of cost can be saved. "There’s an understandable drive to look at sales, but a lot of leakages in revenue actually stem from back of house details," says Keith.

"Zeemart connects suppliers and restaurants through a simple interface, making discovery, purchasing, and communicating a much easier process," he says. Launched with only 15 users in 2017, Zeemart has increased its user base to 1,400 users across five countries. As the company continues to grow, it is now looking to further enhance its offering by streamlining development processes and leveraging the data and analytics technologies of Google Cloud.

"The migration to Google Cloud means that everything is now in one place. Having a single cloud provider that ticks all our boxes means our work is more integrated, convenient, time-saving, and it has also lowered our costs by 30%.”

Nagarjuna Yellina, Chief Technology Officer, Zeemart

Migrating to the cloud for improved app efficiency with Google Kubernetes Engine

Before migrating to Google Cloud in early 2019, Zeemart was run on two separate clouds. "We had one cloud for staging and another for production to save costs," says Nagarjuna Yellina, Chief Technology Officer at Zeemart. When it came to operations, there was pressure to make sure that everything introduced was compatible with both clouds. Today, the team is more confident when launching new products because it no longer has to worry about dual-cloud compatibility, and can focus on building the platform's capabilities instead.

"The migration to Google Cloud means that everything is now in one place. Having a single cloud provider that ticks all our boxes means our work is more integrated, convenient, time saving, and it has also lowered our costs by 30%,” says Nagarjuna.

On top of this, Nagarjuna shares that migration was a hassle-free process due to documentation provided by Google Cloud. "I was particularly impressed by the instructions manual provided, which was clear and intuitive,” he says, adding that with minimal knowledge around how servers are run, engineers easily completed the migration by following along with Google Cloud resources. "About 80% of our migration relied on the documentation provided by Google Cloud, and it saved us a lot of time as everything we needed to know was right there," says Nagarjuna.

As part of that migration, Zeemart is now using Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) to better manage the load of its applications. "When we first built the platform, the focus was primarily on adding new features, so we didn't really think about the load,” shares Nagarjuna. “However, as we continue to grow our user base, we need to be able to scale quickly to manage spikes in traffic and Kubernetes has really given us the confidence to do so.”

The reliability of GKE has also freed up developers’ time, meaning that they no longer need to be on standby 24/7 just in case there’s an issue. "We would carry our laptops everywhere, even to the movie theater,” says Nagarjuna. “Thankfully, we don’t have to do that anymore. GKE is so reliable that hiccups are rare, and we can manage most issues from our mobile phones if needed."

With GKE managing its backend servers, Zeemart developers were able to build and launch a new payment feature in 2019 which allows wholesalers to issue invoices and collect payments on time. "Because of the stability of GKE, we've been able to build this new component and deploy it quickly to support our customers in keeping a more stable cash flow," says Nagarjuna.

"What's great about Firebase is its ability to find commonalities around the issues we face so that we can focus on the root cause and fix it. As a result, we've managed to reduce the number of technical issues by 80%."

Nagarjuna Yellina, Chief Technology Officer, Zeemart

A seamless user experience across devices and operating systems

Zeemart is available on web, iOS and Android applications, so it uses Compute Engine to help ensure that its applications work seamlessly across devices. It also uses Firebase to monitor its performance. "Firebase sends alerts whenever something is amiss and provides detailed information so that the team knows exactly where to look," says Nagarjuna. Although this has been helpful, he is most impressed by the machine learning aspect of Firebase. "What's great about Firebase is its ability to find commonalities around the issues we face so that we can focus on the root cause and fix it. As a result, we've managed to reduce the number of technical issues by 80%," he says.

As part of providing an end-to-end procurement service, Zeemart also helps its customers to store invoices on the app so that they can easily reference any historical records if required, to stay on top of their expenses. "Through Zeemart, we want to help customers digitally transform their procurement processes so that they can better manage paperwork. We are currently using Cloud Storage to save images of the invoices for easy reference, but are looking into Cloud Vision and how we can use OCR (optical character recognition) on our platform to improve this process," says Keith.

Zeemart app on smartphone

Using technology to help businesses save costs

More than just a procurement platform, Keith wants to help businesses save costs by using technology as an enabler to encourage smarter purchasing habits. He explains that vendors often have criteria like a minimum order value and cut off time. However, because they all operate independently and have their own channels of distribution, it can be difficult for restaurants to have an overview for comparison. "At Zeemart, we intend to collate all this information in one place. This is so that restaurants can quickly look at and compare the order requirements from different vendors to see what works best for them. With this information, we can also compile multiple orders from different restaurants to make one large order. By doing so, we are able to purchase in bulk and lower the cost."

Using BigQuery, Zeemart can understand the buying habits of restaurants and identify restaurants that are close in proximity so that the purchasing and delivery of goods could be done at the same time. "With BigQuery, we can understand the purchasing pattern of different restaurants and their preferred delivery time. We can then arrange for multiple orders to be delivered to a specific area at the same time for distribution among the restaurants there, which would further lower the cost."

"Currently, we service wholesalers and customers who are already in business with each other. However, with the machine learning capabilities of BigQuery, we can understand the buyer's behavior and what they regularly purchase. From there, we will be able to recommend new products that may be suitable for them."

Keith Tan, co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Zeemart

Paving the way for future products

In the near future, Zeemart intends to become an ecommerce platform that allows restaurants to discover new vendors through a catalog that lists and categorizes different vendors in one place. It will also provide recommendations to restaurants based on their order history. "Currently, we service wholesalers and customers who are already in business with each other. However, with the machine learning capabilities of BigQuery, we can understand the buyer's behavior and what they regularly purchase. From there, we will be able to recommend new products that may be suitable for them," says Keith.

With plans to go full steam on developing the ecommerce platform, Zeemart will be looking into Elasticsearch to help enable its users to discover new suppliers. "As an ecommerce platform, it has become essential for our users to find items that are from vendors outside of their existing partners. Along with the capabilities of Elasticsearch, we will continue to explore other AI and ML tools that Google Cloud has to offer and bring our business to new heights," says Keith.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Zeemart

Zeemart is a food and beverage (F&B) procurement platform that connects buyers and suppliers to make discovery, purchasing, and communication easier through a simple interface. With offices in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Dubai, Zeemart aims to help businesses make smarter buying decisions by aggregating orders and streamlining the purchasing of goods to lower costs.

Industries: Technology
Location: Singapore