Lineman a Lean management case study

Ismaël Kizito PAPA

Lineman- an all-in-one assistant app with professional services to serve your needs in life!!

The people in Thailand often go to the restaurant and loves to eat out of their house. There are few issues with this situation. The restaurants are often small and the preparation and queuing time can last long. The last point is that few restaurants have a food delivery service. Lineman was launched in 2016 to address these issues.

Line is a Japanese company which has lots of success in Thailand. Line is used by one Thai out of two. The brand awareness and recognition towards Thai people is high. Line has a subsidiary in Thailand and the local team view the delivery sector as an opportunity to expand its activities. Lineman is composed of three core activities which are Messenger Service, food delivery and convenience goods delivery. I will narrow down to the food delivery part in this paper.

Lineman product is a separate application from Line chat app but it integrates with Line. After downloading Lineman app the first thing to do is to enter a Line ID for Line user. It is pretty straight forward for Line user but for non-Line user as they have to create a line account. Actually, Lineman is also a way for Line to increase its customer acquisition.

Once logged into the app in the food delivery category, the user find his favourite restaurants but also street hawkers. He chooses a restaurant places an order and pay a price composed of meal price plus a premium based on time to deliver and hour of delivery. Once delivered the user pay the driver with cash.

In order to release a wide restaurant choices from the beginning, Lineman made the choice to partner with Wongnai start-up which list 40 000 restaurant in Thailand along with customers reviews and customer photos of the dishes. Line decided to partner with a strong and trusted community app to get access to its valuable database and get visible to its user by providing a direct link to order from restaurant listed on Lineman Wongnai app. This partnership has a price in the form of commission (details not disclosed). In order to deliver your food you need to have a fleet, or do you? Line actually partnered with the largest delivery start-up in Thailand LalaMove. LalaMove provides LineMan with all vehicles from Van for convenience goods delivery to motorbike for food delivery. This partnership is commission based in the same way as Wongnai.

Thanks to this partnership, Lineman was able to have a fast time-to market and a full offer from the launch of Lineman. From the release in February to now (Nov. 2016) the service is only available in Bangkok which is the pilot for Lineman.

The strategy of Lineman was critical and they made the right choice. They cut on their margin to get as fast as possible to market, they started small with only one City and they are seeking for feedback from their users to improve their business by iteration. This is the perfect example of a big company which apply the principle of Lean management to create a product.

And the creation of the momentum was critical. The competition on this segment is strong and customer acquisition is key. Uber with UberEATS just waits to reach a critical size to introduce UberEATS. FoodPanda, one of the Rocket Internet Company invests lots of money in Business Development even though they don’t make any profit. Lastly Go-Jek the Indonesian Unicorn ($1.3B) launched 4 years ago have a huge appetite in South East Asia.

So what is next? We can expect that Lineman launches new cities in the future such as Pattaya and Chiang Mai. We can also expect that Line build its own restaurant database and motorcycle fleet to improve margins and be less dependent to partners. Finally an integration with LinePay (PayPal equivalent) will be relevant to facilitate payments from customers.