Banking on fleet standardisation

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Sri Bhagiyalakshmi Travels is banking on fleet standardisation among other new and non-traditional ways to grow.

Story by:

Ashish Bhatia

Established in 1989 by G Dayalan, Chennai-based Sri Bhagiyalakshmi Travels (SBLT) is banking on sound management practices, fleet standardisation and regular route reviews to grow. Looked upon as a ‘one-stop’ shop for all travel and tour arrangements, SBLT has grown to posses a fleet of 700 vehicles from two omni buses in 1989. Doubling the business to four omni buses in 1993, the company entered the corporate sector in 1996. Setting new customer satisfaction benchmarks through out its journey, SBLT continues to constantly focus upon service quality, periodic employee re-training, software and hardware upgradation. With a turnover of Rs.110 crore per annum according to D. Maran, son of G Dayalan and the managing director of the company, SBLT has come to employ 1500 people.

With branches at Annanagar, Koyambedu (CMBT), Poonamallee, Sriperumbudur and Parrys in Chennai, SBLT, according to Maran, has grown on the faith of its loyal customers and on referrals. “To build on a fundamentally strong base and keep growing, we are banking on pioneering ideas on fleet standardisation and route review among other key metrics,” said Maran.

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Exploring markets outside India, SBLT is looking at taking the pilgrimage tour route. Already offering tour packages to popular pilgrimage and historical destinations in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, SBLT, with semi-sleeper, sleeper and air-conditioned buses in its fleet. Out of the fleet of 700 vehicles that SBLT has, 600 vehicles are of the Ashok Leyland make. Expressed Maran, “Plying all over Chennai, our fleet is particularly known for its daily trips to regions like Peravurani and Ramnad among others.” Conducting ‘Hi-Tech’ daily bus trips across South India – to destinations in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, from Chennai, SBLT has Volvo premium buses in its fleet too. These are in the 24-, 35- and 54-seater form, and help to serve diverse customer needs. Apart from the premium Volvo buses, the company also has Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) of Swaraj Mazda, Tata Motors and Force Motors make in its fleet. It has smaller vehicles like Tata Sumo, Toyota Qualis, Toyota Innova, and Chevrolet Tavera too. Reflecting SBLT’s ability to address a diverse variety of customers, the fleet is adding a dimension to standardise. Having come to command a reputation for providing solutions as per the client need, the company, mentioned Maran, has made a name for itself in the corporate sector. Multi-national companies like Foxconn India Ltd., EID Parry (India) Ltd., Honeywell Electrical Devices and Systems (I) Ltd., Technical Stampings Automotive Ltd., Machellan Integrated Services India Pvt. Ltd., Hexaware Technologies Ltd., MMM Academy of Medical Sciences, Injecto Plast Pvt. Ltd., PHC Manufacturing Pvt. Ltd., Addision Pvt. Ltd., SSL TTK Ltd., Reliance Infocomm Ltd., and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., have come to avail of SBLT services, said Maran.

If a clientele like this provides impetus for growth, SBLT is looking at non-traditional ways to manage the business. To scale up the operations is important, averred Maran. Touching upon the opportunities and challenges that lie in front of the company, Maran stated, “Transportation has come a long way in the country. It has improved. However, the field is fast changing. Key metrics like passenger comfort, pattern of journey, fleet network, technology and communication are undergoing a massive change. The need is to find new ways to keep growing.” Stressing upon the need to work the key metrics to attain a successful working model, Maran opined that much depends upon the transport policy. “Like the Goods and Services Tax (GST), there is a need for a single passenger transportation tax across the country,” opined Maran. He drew attention to notification 128 (10) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, which emphasises on seats in tourist buses and speaks of push back seats and footrests. Of the opinion that the national notification could benefit the industry if the provision for sleeper berths are permitted, Maran explained, “The rule today states that sleeper coaches with national permits are illegal.”

Targeting point-to-point travel and staff transportation segments, SBLT, to attain growth, is looking at active government intervention. “Government intervention is necessary to develop infrastructure like roads and well equipped terminals,” stated Maran. Drawing attention to the rising demand for electric vehicles, Maran said that a move like this could actually turn out to be more profitable for a company like his. “Such interventions over a period of time will make it all the more lucrative for companies like SBLT to upgrade their fleet. We are open to procuring fully electric buses and play a role in the transport ecosystem to help lower the carbon footprint,” signed off D. Maran.

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Parveen Travels: Setting a trend

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Parveen Travels is banking on customer satisfaction as a key value for money proposition.

Story by:

Ashish Bhatia

Parveen Travels, a venture of the ABBE Group of companies, reckons customer satisfaction as the key value in its efforts to set a trend setter in the travel and tourism industry. In-line with the motto of the parent company, ‘service before oneself’, Parveen Travels is continuing its focus on customer satisfaction at every stage of its business. Headquartered in Chennai, the leading travel company is looking to expand in every dimension of the business. Apart from operations in India, Parveen Travels boasts a vast experience in receptive tourism, tour operations and meetings, conferences and events it conducts in the Arabian Gulf states of United Arab Emirates to stay ahead. According to A. Afzal, Chairman & Managing Director, Parveen Travels, the company is growing rapidly.

In India, the ISO certified company, Parveen Travels has been operational since 1967. The company operates 335 routes across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. It covers major cities like Chennai, Trichy, Madurai, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Thirumangalam and Ernakulam. With a fleet strength of over 1500 vehicles, the company, said A. Afzal, is a ‘one stop’ travel solutions provider. Catering to all segments of consumers through services across varied segments inclusive of inter-city, rental, staff transportation, domestic and international holiday packages, passport and visa assistance, and foreign exchange (forex), Parveen Travels has an employee strength of over 4500. Ferrying one million passengers covering over 550 lakh kilometres per annum, the fleet of the company is spread across economy, comfort, premium and niche luxury categories. Economy passengers can avail of options like a 12 seater Tempo Traveller or an equivalent. They can also avail of a 48 seater Ashok Leyland coach and/or a 24 seater Tata Leo for example. As part of the comfort coach range, Parveen Travels offers a 36 seater Ashok Leyland air-conditioned coach or an equivalent. It also offers a Tata Leo air-conditioned coach, and a 36 seater Isuzu coach depending on the need. In the premium coach range, a 10 seater Executive Lux Traveller from Force Motors, a 45 seater Mercedes Benz coach, or a 45 seater Volvo coach could be availed of. While the Executive Lux Traveller features an air suspension, which is claimed to be a first in the category, the cabin of the vehicle boasts of extra wide 2xl reclining seats, and sliding aisle seats. In case of the Mercedes Benz, stress is on easy access, and luxury and comfort features.

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Over competition, Parveen Travels claims to stay ahead on the virtue of value offerings. These include vehicle service and maintenance unit in over six locations in Chennai; government accredited service centres, transparent billing systems, and authorised spare parts dealers of various companies,. Apart from gaining advantage of reduced operational risk, reduced operational and maintenance cost, zero stock maintenance of spare parts and a stress free vehicle management system, the company also gains on-site maintenance services through a mobile service unit. With an infrastructure that includes a state of the art commercial and heavy vehicle service unit, an on site fueling unit, parking facility, and driver recreation and canteen facility, Parveen Travels finds it easy to offer value added services like a 24×7 helpline, online CRM support, SMS alerts and flying squads. Mentioned A. Afzal that the high level of services his company offers has led to the earning of industry recognition. Parveen Travels has bagged prestigious awards like the ‘National Tourism Award’, ‘South India Travel Award’ and the ‘Apollo CV Award’ among others. As part of its ongoing expansion exercise, the company has branched out into transport management services. The new segment entails working closely with pain points and hindrances faced by fleet owners. The vision behind enetring into transport management services is to offer stress free and economic transport solutions. To the schools and colleges especially. Under the transport management portfolio, the company offers end to end solutions that are inclusive of vehicle cleanliness, GPS monitoring, staff training, back up vehicles, and vehicle maintenance. To address key problems faced by the travel industry, including driver attrition, staff behaviour and punctuality, Parveen trains drivers. Drivers are imparted professional training through a government accredited unit. Over 1000 drivers have undergone training every year, said Afzal. Through a placement and consultancy service offering extended to drivers and the technical staff, the company has placed drivers in various MNCs like Hyundai and Renault-Nissan among others. The company, claimed A. Afzal, makes use of system oriented and professional solutions in a bid to avoid human error and offer effective services. An array of key benefits on offer to elevate customer experience include service flexibility, route optimisation, fuel cost analysis and control, reduced maintenance cost, driver management and live tracking solutions.

Despite growing at 14 to 17 per cent Year-over-Year (YoY) thus far, the vision to set a trend in the tourism and travel industry, and to attain a sustainable pace of growth is not lost by the company. Not after being threatened by challenges faced by the company and the industry overall. Mentioned A. Afzal, “the challenges faced by the company are those that are faced by the travel and tourism industry. He averred, price wars, growing overheads, unorganised players, poor returns on investments and change in the regulatory framework are some of the challenges that need to be tackled. “Offering a standardised service and matching price is a herculean task,” quipped Afzal. Stating that overcoming these challenges will augur well for Parveen Travels, Afzal mentioned. “Be it toursim where there are many avenues or staff transportation, where we could scale up to pan India operations, at Parveen Travels we believe only sky is the limit.”

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TVS Logistics chalks out ambitious growth plan

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Aiming at a revenue of Rs.7000 crores by FY2020-21, TVS Logistics has chalked out an ambitious growth plan.

Story by:

Bhargav TS

Multinational third-party logistics service provider, TVS Logistics Services Ltd. (TVS LSL) has chalked out an ambitious growth plan as far as the Indian market is concerned. The company is targeting a revenue of Rs.7000 crore by FY2020-21. For the current fiscal, the company is targeting a revenue of Rs.2500 to Rs.2700 crore. While the global revenue of the company has crossed the USD-one billion mark, according to R Dinesh, Managing Director, TVS LSL, for the last five years, the Indian business has been growing at a CAGR of over 30 per cent. Carrying out a change in the organisational structure and focusing on global integration, the company is looking at cross deployment and new ways to leverage opportunities created by the implementation of GST. Annouced R Shankar, CEO of Indian operations, that they are confident of the multi-pronged strategy to achieve the goal of Rs.7000 crore by FY2020-21. R Dinesh mentioned, “We are setting our focus firmly on the India operations to achieve a strong growth. Our India business, especially post acquisition of Drive India Enterprise Solutions Ltd (DIESL), has been growing at a CAGR of over 30 per cent for the last five years. Our emphasis is on accelerating growth to reach the target of Rs.7000 crore revenue in India.”

Leveraging global expertise, TVS LSL is looking at making a difference by inculcating operational synergies to provide end-to-end solutions and value-added services to its customers in India. Seeing a growth opportunity with global customers in India, and with Indian customers globally, the company, according to Sanjive Sharma, Global CEO, Rico Logistics (a part of TVS Supply Chain Solutions), has integrated as well as converted the aftermarket (non-auto) spare parts business in a solutons model globally. “Our capabilities are unique,” averred Sharma. Implementing a Matrix structure, the company, to offer best-in-class solutions to multi-national clients in India, and to Indian clients, according to S Ravichandran, Deputy Managing Director, TVS LSL, is keen to offer unqiue value propositions to its customers.

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Unique value propositions

Present in 14 countries, TVS LSL has come to manage over 10 million sq. ft. of warehouse space in India to tap the huge growth potential the market is offering. Providing end-to-end integrated logistics services to diverse sectors, including automotive, beverage, IT, healthcare, telecom, retail, FMCG and defence, the company is forging an indispensable link between suppliers and customers. Managing over 100 blue chip customers with the support of over 15,000 skilled work force, TVS LSL has decided to move up the value chain to retain its customers and attract others. Drawing attenttion to many service providers losing five to ten per cent customers every year, Ravichandran averred, “Our ability to offer a unique value proposition is ensuring that our attrition rate is low.“ Stating that a company would need to acquire 20 per cent business to record 10 per cent growth, Ravichandran mentioned, “We have to simply grow since our attrition rate is low. The investments and acquisitions that we have made outside India during 2008, 2010 and 2011 are helping us to create unique value propositions for clients across diverse industry verticals. We are implementing more IT systems that we have got from various countries. These measures, we are confident, will lead to 100 per cent growth. They are also a reflection of how we are striving to enhance growth.”

Keen to add value through acquisitions, and through internal development, TVS LSL is paying particular attention to the supply chain. It is emphasising on a ‘logistics strategy’ in connection with the material movement. Said Ravichandran, “Once I design the strategy, I also need to design my engineering. I have to look at the requirement of warehouse and equipment. I need to design my IT. I have to ensure that the people are trained to eliminate waste. The backbone of the logistics industry is its manpower.” With close to 950 vehicles in its fleet, the company is creating its own control tower IT system. The system is claimed to present TVS LSL with the visibility and transparency to ensure things don’t go wrong. According to Ravichandran, it is a single command centre for visibility, decision taking and action based on real-time data. A ‘back-end’ that the company is trying to develop, the control tower IT system represents common processes enabled by cloud-based technologies. These include basic functions of collecting and aggregating orders, shipments, inventory, and status. “This information is linked to other enterprise systems to provide global visibility. It is then transformed to become an input for supply chain execution solutions. Rather than wait for a situation to rise, it is always good to be proactive,” quipped Ravichandran.

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GST has not changed the business prospects of TVS LSL as much. It is perhaps because the company has been in the GST mode for four-to-five years. With the check posts removed, the transit time is going down. Challenges in the supply chain on loading and un-loading continue to emerge. Mentioned Ravichandaran, “GST will contribute some amount of growth. The rest will come from the initiatives we have taken in terms of elevating the capabilities.”

Expanding customer base

The acquisition of DIESL has helped TVS LSL to expand its customer base and client profile. Before acquiring DIESL, TVS Logistics was a company that served most auto industry clients. After the acquisition, the share of auto business has come down to around 70 per cent from the earlier 95 per cent. Dominant in the South and the West, according to Ravichandran, TVS LSL has excelled in the concept of ‘single’, ‘mother’ and ‘dedicated’ warehouses. Opening the doors to the FMCG sector, the acquisition of DIESL revealed that a part of its capability enabler was a concept called the ‘distributed’ warehouse. It referred to the availability of a consolidated warehouse at each location. Strong in the Northern and the Eastern markets, DIESL has brought to the table a good deal of warehousing space. With DIESL warehouses included, TVS LSL has come to have around 10 million sq.ft. of warehousing space. Claimed to have the most warehousing space, the company has come to offer dedicated warehouse space worth 250,000 to 300,000 sq. ft. Biased towards production supply chain, TVS LSL is invading new segments.

Global Centres of Excellence

TVS LSL has formed four Centres of Excellence (COE) in the UK, US, Singapore and India. Each has its own focus area. The UK centre, for example, focuses on contract logistics. The US centre focuses on production and in-bound supply chain. The Singapore centre focuses on freight forwarding. The Indian centre focuses on global technology. Created in April 2017, the India centre is based at Madurai. It is building new-age apps. and solutions by combining Indian ingenuity with global know-how. The know-how includes track and trace, which is about providing intelligent communication to the clients.

New structure

Apart from Finance, IT and HR, TVS LSL has created a new role of integrated business heads for four major regions in India. The company will have subject experts for key sectors like automotive, technology and engineering. With India taking a lead in adopting this strategy, the company is keen to standardise a template for global roll-out, albeit in a phased manner. With a firm belief that it is the people that are the most valuable, TVS LSL is providing them opportunities to grow.

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Aim for the best

Pune-based JFK Transporters Pvt. Ltd. wants to be the best transport company in India.

Story by: Ashish Bhatia

Established in 1980 by Adil Kotwal, Pune-based JFK Transporters Pvt Ltd. has been growing steadily. Keen to tap new avenues like Third-party Logistics (3PL), made attractive by the implementation of GST, the company entered the transportation business with a single truck that carried Godrej cupboards from Mumbai to Delhi. In pursuit of their goal to be termed as the best transport company in India, JFK Transporters’ expanded its operations to include tractor-trailers. Over time ODC carriers also added to the company portfolio, signaling an expansion to ODC assignments. Undertaking inter-state assignments to far away places like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the company has come to build a fleet of 100 trucks. With a plan to elevate the count to 1000 trucks in the span of seven to eight years, JFK transporters conducts operations in 15 cities across the country. The Indian Bank Association (IBA) approved company has come to have a network spanning across the globe, albeit through the Avaind Logistics business vertical.

Serving clients like Reliance Industries, Piaggio, Chevron, Linde, Hindalco, Castrol and Petronas among others, JFK Transporters, according to the Chief Executive Officer Jehaan Kotwal, is into the transport of lubricants and petroleum products among others. With stress on quality over quantity, the company, mentions Jehaan, would rather opt for a Rs.500 crore business turnover with a 20 per cent margin than a Rs.1000 crore turnover with a comparatively lower (10 per cent) margin. Driving a change, Jehaan is empowering the drivers of his trucks with a belief that it is they who will help him achieve the growth that he envisages. “My sensitivity towards the driver community comes from my father,” mentioned Jehaan. He expressed that it is the driver who is the most neglected in the country today. Keen to offer the best service, JFK Transporters is constantly on the lookout for innovative transport solutions, and the need to offer tailor-made solutions. Foraying into e-commerce last year, the company has come to offer last mile transportation service for cargo weighing over five kilograms and up to 1.5-tonne.

Niche service provider

With exposure to diverse industrial commodities like cement, power, steel and sugar, JFK Transporters is keen to turn into a niche service provider. It has structured its business into verticals like road transport, freight forwarding and clearing (CHA), air transport, warehousing, packaging, etc. With attention to present a positive Business-to-Customer (B2C) logistics experience, the company under the road transport vertical, indulges in project cargo transport, Customised Investment Logistics (C.I.L), first and last mile transport solutions, and door-to-door service. Withdrawing from last mile transportation very recently, and because of deteriorating margins, except for a select few customers, JFK Transporters, in addition to ODC carriers, has container trucks and tankers at the core of its fleet.

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Claimed to hold the record for the largest Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) consignment transported out of Pune, according to Jehaan, the company has to its credit over 100 projects. Carrying out complete transportation for one of the largest cement factories in Madhya Pradesh of Reliance Industries, JFK Transporters, averred Jehaan, is ranked as one of the best ODC transporters in the country. With no effort spared to out perform, the company, filling the void with the C.I.L is focusing on a strong understanding of the customer needs. C.I.L, stated Jehaan, is focusing upon understanding the needs of the clients, and offer an optimum solution. Customisation of the vehicle is carried out to suit the client need. Technology, trained labour and trucks designed for the purpose are integrated. They provide a seamless experience, opined Jehaan.

The focus, in the case of door-to-door service, is on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC). Cargo of diverse nature is exported globally, and with emphasis on reducing the bottlenecks. Introduced to cater to the company’s primary clients who were on a lookout for an end-to-end solution for their cargo needs the world over, freight forwarding, said Jehaan, has been rewarding. The projects carried out under this head include handling shipments, irrespective of their size and nature. Hazardous substances, and perishable items needing refrigeration, or liquid bulk shipments for example. Customs clearance services ensure a seamless process for the client.

Avaind Logistics

With offices at Nigadi and Chakan in Pune, and at Hyderabad, Avaind Logistics commenced operations in 2010. As an international freight forwarding arm of JFK Transporters, it is helping the company to control costs over its peers that rely on third party logistics. With a client base comprising of ThyssenKrupp, Thermax, Sandvik Asia, Reliance Cement and Gulf Cement Co., Avaind Logistics offers speedy, safe and smooth transit. Shorter lead times and greater convenience is backed by competitive freight pricing and flexible shipping schedules. Offering value added services like document transfer, order follow-up, and temporary warehousing, Avaind Logistics has at its disposal well-maintained and well-equipped open trucks and trailers fit for long-haulage. These trucks are equipped with GPS technology that offers not just real-time tracking, but also driver metrics. Performance gauging is made easy. With flat-bed trailers of up to 80 feet length, low-bed trailers with a ground clearance as low as 1.5 ft., drop-bed trailers, and high-capacity pullers or prime movers capable of towing loads up to 200 metric-tonne available, handling prestigious projects, including the export of capital machinery and equipment for 3,000 TPD Clinker Grinding Machine, were successfully carried out. Known to provide optimum services in break bulk movement and containerised cargo, the company successfully executed an export assignment to Jebel Ali for Gulf Cement Corporation.

Tailored solutions

JFK Transporters started a new initiative last year, that of providing truck mounted cranes. This was born out the need to support a Godrej project where the use of conventional trailers led to material damage. Mentioned Jehaan, that conventional trailers were leading to material damage due to dropping. The truck mounted crane facilitated a safe pick-up and stack. Over time, the truck mounted cranes have come to find many uses. The JFK Transporters fleet has come to include three-to-five truck mounted cranes. A new project at Bihar is expected to take the number to 10 crane trucks. Announced Jehaan, that they are among the first few transport companies to have increased its Turn Around Time (TAT). This is in addition to achieving optimal reduction in cargo damages, he said. To boost the lube business, the company procured BharatBenz trucks with 28 ft. length. These have a rated payload of 21-tonne. Training customers to secure their load, Jehaan expressed, “customers should get the benefit of working with us.” Employing innovative approaches for last mile movement, include lighter vehicles, longer-body, truck bed-side covers, and container heights tailored to the project requirement, JFK Transporters is adhering to the practice of merging with other companies on common routes as per the client requirement. Drivers are supplied with mobile handsets.

Operating with an attached fleet of 100 to 150 trucks (own fleet amounts to 100 trucks, and makes up roughly 50 per cent of the total fleet strength), JFK Transporters, according to Jehaan, has a strong back-end system available. It is subject to partners providing a minimum business guarantee. Reaching the count of 100 trucks over the last three years from 10 trucks, the company is targeting 1000 trucks and 1000 drivers over the next seven to eight years. The tanker count of the company accounts to 10. The trucks dedicated to the transport of lubes account for 40 numbers. The rest of the fleet comprises of tractor trailers.

Global practices

Linking growth with global best practices, Jehaan is of the opinion that there is a long way to go yet. He mentioned, “Be it the driver wages, or the cost of trucks, India is way behind its global counterparts.” Drawing attention to the disparity in cost of building infrastructure versus the cost of labour and commodities, Jehaan said, “The cost of building per kilometre of road is high in comparison to the quantum of driver wages and the truck costs.” Confident of reducing up to three per cent of the costs incurred by going digital, Jehaan averred, “there is a need to make everything digital. Especially the Point of Deposit (PoD) system.” Terming the credit cycle in India severely inflated, Jehaan stated, “if freight cost went down, the GDP could be significantly boosted.” Stressing upon the need to use technology like GPS to track driving practices and not just optimise the route, Jehaan quipped, “There is a need to widen the insurance cover of the driver community, which is a dismal 0.1 per cent.” Stating that the drivers of his company were paid 20 per cent more than the industry standards, Jehaan drew attention to drivers being paid USD 10,000 to 15,000 in many global markets. “This is inclusive of insurances, “ he added. If the higher pay-scales has helped JFK Transporters to tide over the issue of driver shortage, Jehaan is well aware of the change the CVs in India are going through. He is quick to comment, that foreign entrants like Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) are forcing homegrown players to change. He pointed at Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles as well. In the interest of safety, Jehaan called upon manufacturers to offer airbags, ABS and other such features as standard.

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Future Outlook

Using third-party businesses to outsource elements of the company’s distribution and fulfillment services in logistics and supply chain, JFK Transporters is keen to tap projects that require professional transporters. Calling for a need to elevate safety, Jehaan is confident of his company carving out a larger pie of the lubes, petroleum and gas transportation business. Keen to leverage its long experience in addressing the changing needs of the clients, JFK Transporters is looking upon GST as a means to change the vision. It will, said Jehaan, present a huge opportunity to professional players. Of the opinion that fly-by-night operators will find it difficult, Jehaan explained, “Sustaining driver quality and assuring the availability of well trained drivers will continue to be a challenge. Transporters will have to change the way they have been operating.” As we seek new ways to grow, concluded Jehaan, we will realise our mission of becoming the best transport company in this country.

The Azadpur agri-supply chain

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Claimed to be Asia’s biggest agri-market, the Azadpur Mandi (agri-market) on the outskirts of Delhi is backed by an efficient supply chain.

Story by: Anirudh Raheja

Sunil Jaiswal has clocked good speeds to reach the Azadpur Mandi (agri-market) on the outskirts of Delhi. He is tense as the truck he has piloted from Himachal Pradesh is loaded with 11-tonnes of Apples. They have a limited shelf life, and are expensive. At the wheel of his Ashok Leyland Comet Gold, Jaiswal has reached the Mandi at one past midnight. He is looking tired. Negotiating a long queue of trucks entering what is claimed to be the biggest agricultural-produce market in Asia, Jaiswal has reached the market during the peak season for apples. Like him, there are numerous others that have ferried apples to the Mandi. Even in the dead of the night, it does not take long to understand that the fruit is in demand. With hopes high for a good price, trucks laden with apples are lining up in the Mandi for a quick deal. It is a continuous activity as more and more trucks continue to pour in. Their headlamps cut through the darkness.

Claimed to have an estimated flow of 5000-8000 trucks per day, the Azadpur Mandi on the outskirts of Delhi comes to life as the capital city goes to sleep. Reflecting a supply chain that is well oiled and fairly efficient, the flow of trucks across the market, spread over 80 acres, is simply humongous. Trucks of varied sizes find their way to the agri-market. From a tiny Tata Ace to a heavy 31-tonne rigid truck, and an occasional tractor-trailer, there’s a large count of trucks that bring fruits, vegetables, onions and potatoes, spices, food grains, and more from across the country. Imported agri-produce also finds its way to the market. If trucks laden with apples seem to crowd the market, there are trucks that have ferried pineapples and many other fruits too. A 15-tonne truck moves past. It is laden with onions. As it reverses into the slot, labourers like an army of ants begin unloading of the produce. A chat with the truck driver reveals that he has come all the way from Nashik. It has taken him two days to reach here. With onions having a limited shelf life, it is essential that they be ferried to the market within the shortest time possible. Two drivers have taken turns to pilot this truck in order to reach in time. The disappearance of border checks has made it easy and more efficient to travel. Avers the driver that he regularly ferries onions in his truck to this market. The trade, he mentions, is pre-negotiated by the consignee and the trader. His job is to simply ferry the goods. Apart from a large number of labourers, the people that make the Azadpur Mandi tick are the security men, administration staff, traders, labourers, drivers, and many others.

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A market of national importance, the Azadpur Mandi clocks up to 23,000 transactions per day according to the market sources. The market witnesses a peak season between July and December. The most traded, claim sources are apples. These, they mention, come from Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh. Grapes, pomegranates and bananas come from Maharashtra; Pineapples and ginger come from Nagaland and West Bengal. Having a limited shelf life, especially spinach and other leafy vegetables, the supply chain that connects with the Azadpur Mandi is about speed and efficiency. Lighter and faster trucks of 3.5-tonne are preferred to ferry vegetables from the neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Where the need to keep moving is important, two drivers take turns to ensure an uninterrupted journey.

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Ferrying potatoes from Uttar Pradesh (UP) in a 37-tonne rigid truck, Ramprasad mentions that the disappearance of border checks has made it easier to clock good times. Infrastructure at many places has improved, he quips. Including potatoes, a total of 118 commodities are traded at the Azadpur APMC market. These include over 50 varieties of fruits, and over 68 vegetable varieties. State sources that over 60 per cent of apples produced in Jammu and Kashmir are traded here. The lean season is from January to June, and has up to 5000 trucks finding their way to this market every day. With fruits like Mango and Lithchi finding their way to the market regularly from UP and Bihar respectively during the lean season, the amount of combined fruits and vegetables inflow during the last fiscal was a massive 47.7 metric tonnes. This was led by apples at 5.89 metric tonnes. Divided into four blocks – A, B, C, and D, the Azadpur Mandi houses a total of 1366 shops. Operating without a break, the most activity happens between midnight and early morning. Of late, the market, reveals a source, has witnessed some fluctuation in trade as agri-producing regions were hit by natural calamities like floods and drought. This affected the supply chain as trucks ferrying the agri-produce could not reach the market in time. States a trader that they are hoping for a good bumper crop. Drawing attention to less inflow of mangoes, he expresses that the inflow of apples looks good this year.

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The flow

The flood situation in Bihar has reduced the amount of trucks ferrying agri-produce from that region. Such calamities have an effect on the business mentions a trader. A trucker who has ferried potatoes from UP mentions that his business has slowed down. It has been some time and he has not been able to travel to Bihar to ferry agri-produce from there to this market. Stressing upon the need to ferry the produce in the least possible time given the tendency to perish, situations like these, he avers, make it very risky and difficult to do business. With many commodities seasonal in nature, calamities have a hard hitting effect. Happy to have received 11-tonnes of apples in a Tata 1613, a trader at the Azadpur Mandi is also worried at the same time. A consignment of pomegranates from Solapur is delayed. It is now well over two days that it takes for it to arrive. Heavy rains in transit are said to have caused the delay. It needs to be seen if rains have caused any adverse damage to the goods.

Not many shops away, an agent is off-loading a consignment of apples from a Tata 2416 truck. They have come from Himachal Pradesh with the journey extending over one day and two nights. Of the 24-tonne worth of produce, 20-tonnes will soon find its way to a trader at Mumbai. The rest of the produce has been purchased by a local vendor Amritesh. He has hired two Tata Ace and a Mahindra Maxxitruck to ferry the produce to his location at Janakpuri in Delhi. An hour later, Amritesh strikes another deal. This time with another trader for the purchase of pomegranates. He quickly hires four labourers for Rs.200 each to load seven-tonnes worth of pomegranates in the truck that he has hired. It is 5 am, and Amritesh rides the truck to his place. He will sell a part of what he has produced across a few retail outlets he has come to own. He also supplies his produce to a hotel and a hospital in his locality.

From Jalandhar, a SML Isuzu Sartaj has ferried nine-tonnes of potatoes. The farmer has accompanied the produce and is keen to strike a deal quickly. Visiting the market a little over once in four weeks, the farmer set out for the market approximately 10 hours ago. Not far from here, a 22-tonne Ashok Leyland truck has travelled from Tamil Nadu. It has ferried pineapples. The trader is happy as the truck has arrived ahead of schedule. He signals his subordinate to get the truck to back up into the unloading bay. Soon a flurry of activity is witnessed as labourers start unloading the pineapples. States the driver of the truck in halting Hindi that it has taken him a little over three days and nights to arrive here. In less than an hour, the trader has struck a deal with a smaller trader. In no time, a Piaggio Ape and Tata Ace line up. They are loaded with pineapples, which will be supplied to the smaller markets across the national capital.

With 16-tonnes worth of potatoes being sold off in a few hours after arriving at the market, it is a game of demand-supply states a commission agent. It is demand that dictates the price. If the demand is less, it can take longer to sell. The amount of risk is directly proportional. Over the years we’ve learnt to judge the extend of risks involved, and accordingly conduct the trade mentions an agent. As the day breaks, the amount of activity reduces. It does not halt however. During the day, trucks carrying food grains and spices find their way to the market. Refrigerated trucks are seen coming into the market. Explains a trader that such trucks transport highly perishable goods like peas, which cannot withstand heat. The demand for refrigerated trucks increases in the summer months. Refrigerated trucks are used to ferry agri-produce that has been imported, or is exported. The call for quality makes it essential to use such trucks. The demand for refrigerated trucks is said to go down conversely during the winter months.

To ensure supply chain efficiency, the Azadpur market, mentions a source, has invested in seven cold storages. Traders dealing in various commodities that require temperature controlled environment use these. Imported apples, grapes, and pears call for an amount of care. To store these, traders often use the cold storage facilities the market body has invested in. These fruits are imported from Thailand, California, China among other places says a source.

Organised trading

Set up with an aim of facilitate the marketing of Fruits & Vegetables (F&V), and to implement a regulation that will safeguard the interest of farmers, producers, sellers and consumers in the country, the Azadpur Mandi operates under the Delhi Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) Act, 1998 (Delhi Act No. 7 of 1999) and Delhi Agricultural Produce Marketing (Regulation) General Rules 2000. The market was established in 1975 by Delhi Development Authority, and maintained by it till December 01, 1979. Thereafter it is operated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC). The APMC set up a New Fruit Mandi (NFM), and divided the principal yard into three parts (New SubziMandi (NSM), Cement Godown Area and New Fruit Mandi (NFM)).

The Kela siding is part of a land which has been taken on lease from Indian Railways to conduct the trade of bananas, oranges and mangoes. Commodities here are transported in railway wagons from many places in India. Issuing licenses in 1976 for shops in various blocks to trade legally, a fee of one per cent is charged by the APMC on the total sale value of the commodity. On the basis of the arrival of commodity and revenue paid to the government, the shopkeepers have been allotted ‘phars’. Each ‘phar’ handles commodities in lieu with the market fees paid by them, reveals a source. Since bulk quantities are traded, the number of trucks that arrive every day is proving to be far more than the space available to conduct the trade. Compared to the earlier times, the flow of trucks has increased. Traffic jams and bottlenecks are increasingly becoming a regular happening at the market. Thankfully, says a source, commodities like papita and chickoo do not take large spaces to trade. Their quantity is as big as some other fruits. The commission agents charge up to six per cent of the trade. Farmers supplying their produce to the market have to operate through them. The number of licensed commission agents is said to be close to 2100.

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Okhla sub-yard

The Azadpur APMC also operates a sub-yard at Okhla. It is spread over an area of 10 acres, and includes 50 big and 218 small shops. Over 118 commodities are traded here. There are 191 commission agents. Serving largely as a local market in South Delhi, the sub-yard is said to source commodities directly from regions like Haryana and UP. The quantity of vegetables traded at the yard is more than the fruits, claims an agent. Established in 1987 by DDA, the sub-yard was later handed over to the APMC to operate. Witnessing the arrival of over 47 metric tonnes of commodities every year on an average, the Azadpur Mandi and Okhla sub-yard continue to successfully conduct business. Given the nature of commodities, waste disposal is a challenge. It does happen that the produce gets spoilt, states an agent. It is part of the risk of doing business.

To dispose spoilt produce is a challenge, he mentions. Putting the amount to less than one per cent of what is traded, the source avers that it is a cumbersome task to dispose the waste. Backhoe loaders have been provided for the task. Insists an APMC source that the market is cleaned every evening. A major clean up takes place every Sunday, they say, as the market stays closed. Only small vegetable trades are conducted on Sundays. With over 8000 trucks finding their way to the Azadpur Mandi every day during peak season, it results in humonguous operations. In the absence of an efficient supply chain that is majorly made up of trucks of various types, the agri-market would not be what it is. Deploying 250 people in association with the traffic police to manage the traffic inside the market premises, the APMC, according to a source, is taking various measures to facilitate a better buying and selling experience for all those involved. It is 5 pm, and the market is not at its peak for certain. Activity however is visible as trucks laden with food grains and spices continue to roll into the market. This market never sleeps, avers a source. He quips that neither does the arrival and departure of trucks cease ever.

Dassault Systemes drives auto industry transformation

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Dassault Systèmes aims to redefine the development and manufacture of commercial vehicles through innovative and sustainable solutions.

Story by: Ashish Bhatia

With an eye on the Indian auto industry, Dassault Systèmes is looking to redefine the development of commercial vehicles through innovative solutions like ‘3DExperience’. ‘3DExperience’ is a business experience platform that enables users to weigh the pros and cons of a prototype without physically building one. Serving CV OEMs like Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, and others, the company, at the 3DExperience Forum India 2017, held at Mumbai, announced that it wants to extend virtual universes to the commercial vehicle industry in India. Stressing upon the tie-up with Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles to enable it to take a new approach to product development with the use of ‘3DExperience’, Dassault Systemes aptly made it clear that it is looking to help CV makers to transform the way they design, develop and produce vehicles. Dassault Systemes sources revealed that Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles is looking at integrated digital data management experience to boost quality and productivity, and at the ‘3DExperience’ to accelerate vehicle development for regional requirements. Claimed to blur the line between the virtual world and the real world, the ‘3DExperience’, according to Olivier Sappin, Vice President, Transportation & Mobility Industry, Dassault Systèmes, provides digital continuity to accelerate innovation, improve product quality, performance, and reduce the engineering lead time and costs. Of immense value to commercial vehicle manufacturers, Sappin said that 60 per cent of the automobiles sold today are designed or engineered by using Dassault Systèmes.

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The right platform

Providing software solutions to help organisations to create value in their quest to offer a different experience with a single, easy-to-use interface, ‘3DExperience’ is helping businesses to design, analyse, simulate in a collaborative and interactive environment. It is helping businesses to test and evaluate a product or service at any stage in its development life cycle. ‘3DExperience’, according to Sappin, is giving rise to a final experience that is unique, impressive and value enhancing for the customers. Pointing at 3D printing, which helps to create a physical object from a three-dimensional digital drawing by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession, Sappin averred, “Manufacturers are producing 3D printing machines at the cost of a mobile phone, and of a good quality.” “Sophisticated industries are set to evolve, and we are looking at the cloud to offer our solutions,” he averred.

Transportation & Mobility

Constituting 50 per cent of Dassult Systemes’ business in India, the Transportation & Mobility sector is innovating and trying out new ways to sustain as well as grow. Constituting 30 per cent of Dassault Systemes’ business the world over, the ‘3DExperience’ makes a fit case for driving modularisation, and to manage competition. From strategic planning to design and manufacture, it provids a key to prepare a holistic definition of the product development process. Remarked Sappin, “We are looking at regulating the data that truck makers can get from a telematics solution. It will act as a feedback to engineering in a bid to constantly upgrade the product.” Expecting CV makers to use ‘3D Experience’ to gain a modular, glo-cal (global and local) and secure outlook, CV manufacturers are taking time to acknowledge the gains. Said R S Sachdeva, COO, Eicher Trucks & Buses, that it took 18 months to recognise business process efficiencies. These are expected to help the CV OEM to test new ideas, accelerate product verification and validation, and deliver innovative products to the market faster and at less cost. Informed Sachdeva, “With 3DExperience platform, we can digitally ensure that our customers’ interests are represented at every phase of product development, from product strategy to the shop floor.”

Based on the ‘3DExperience’ platform, the modular, glo-cal and secure industry solution experience unifies digital information in a single collaborative environment that is accessible and aids product planning and portfolio management, product development, vehicle integration, and manufacturing planning. It also provides partner access. Enabling the company to address the complexity of a diverse product portfolio with good agility; configure and manage global product designs, and to arrive at a bill of materials of all the variants, CV makers could look at meeting the evolving customer expectations for performance and quality. Empowering the CV maker to optimise costs and cycle times, ‘3DExperience’ aids to integrate processes, manage data, engineering and manufacturing value chain. “The value of virtual design is much higher than the cost of producing physically,” averred Sappin. He concluded, “We are going to see trading of design versus buying of parts given that there is a marginal cost of producing it. With the opportunity to electrify (automobiles) being massive, we are heavily investing in that space.”

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Olivier Sappin, Vice President, Transportation & Mobility Industry, Dassault Systèmes

Q. How is Dassault Systemes supporting OEMs to modernise CVs?

A. Our common practice is to bring all technological domains together. We get the ‘Design Studio’ to not only look at style but also to look into the main architecture that includes parts like cabins, ergonomics and contours, etc. We have invested significantly to develop a composite solution. Our Virtual Reality (VR) solution for instance is being used by every truck maker to improve the end product. To give you an example, we have partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) for a Design Studio. FCA was looking beyond just design activities. We engineered an architecture to propose a modern cockpit and an external structure. This has today extended to trucks. Surprisingly, the scenario at times is reverse. There have been instances when the truck market has turned out to be more advanced than the passenger vehicle market. An example is telematics. Passenger vehicles are drawing from telematics in trucks.

Q. What is the extent of your involvement with Indian OEMs?

A. From an Indian context, both Ashok Leyland and Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV) are using our solutions. We are looking at simulating the behaviour of the driver, in terms of accessibility of steering, mirror vision, ABS, clutch, etc. We are helping CV makers to look at the next generation cabin design virtually. By using our VR solution, various stakeholders have come together and signed off officially on the form, fit and the finish of the vehicle in terms of acceptability from the marketing and sales perspective. This is a big change from traditional ways of development. Our visual tools aid to look out for issues and help to chalk out solutions that are validated without a prototype. Also, everything related to crash, NVH, optimisation of structures in lieu of weight reduction as a result of fuel efficiency norms coming into effect. Other areas include tyre, chassis, engine, transmission or an axle where weight reduction can be achieved without compromising durability and reliability.

Q. How do you look at the Indian market’s transition from a seller market to a buyer’s market?

A. The customer today has so many options. Applications are driving business in mining, and in market segments like milk vans among others. Customers are taking orders based on this. Complexity is created in terms of how many permutations and combinations could be had of the chassis, engine, etc. How the vehicle could fulfill the promise made to the customers. This is where digitisation comes in. This is where we at Dassault Systemes are helping customers to model and visualise virtually.

Q. Are you helping global OEMs to adopt frugal ways of working as they look at localisation?

A. An example I would like to mention is Renault. We are working with them in India to set up a vehicle platform for their global business. The Indian team wants to leverage what is globally available by using the potential of the platform to increase localisation. A big challenge is to make a vehicle on par with global standards at an Indian price. To successfully adopt global practices for collaboration, all the data is made available on a common collaborative platform from a single location. It applies to auto component manufacturers as well. Most component manufacturers conduct the entire design practice from one location. They are developing products as we speak. These could be export oriented, and will be manufactured at plants that are digitally connected in an effort to keep tab of the differing key metrics. The Cummins facilities in India, for instance, are digital, and connected.

Q. Could commercial vehicle manufacturing cycles shrink?

A. The VR solution that we are offering is being used by OEMs to ensure that the full visibility of the truck can be analysed well in time. This is expected to accelerate in the future. The Japanese have been doing this for a while now. One key initiative expected to contribute towards shrinking of cycles is component design. It is difficult to give a metric as such on the scale of reduction that could be achieved. It could be 18 months to 16 months in case of passenger vehicles for example. In case of a completely new platform, it could take more than 18 months. In case of a facelift, it could take just 12 months. It is completely dependent on the complexities involved.

Q. How much does it cost for a manufacturer to purchase the 3DExperience platform?

A. Our software is useful right at the development stage. For us, it is a new business. Capable of providing a platform for everything before commercialisation of the product, the projects that we are involved in are touching domains like big data and analytics among others. The core focus is to reduce the lead times up to the start of production. This has a definite impact on end costs. Capable of helping an OEM to optimise the price of a truck by connecting with the development of the vehicle at every manufacturing step, and helping to optimise it with respect to its platform, the solutions save costs. A truck would otherwise cost more. We work towards the end margin. The key metric here is the cost of quality. One has to be certain that the axle, transmission, cabin body and various components are engineered to last for three years or 10 lakh kilometres when promising the customers a three year warranty on a truck or a bus. It boosts confidence. The confidence drips down to the supplier level since it is he who is responsible for the quality of materials. The potential permutations and combinations of what could potentially go wrong are immense. We offer certainty. If the steel quality, design, thermal properties, loads and behaviour are digitally designed, the manufacturer is confident on the warranty he could offer. A potential problem discovered at the end of the production line could result in severe strain. It could lead to wastage; create a need to rework, and stall the line. The impact on total finish cost could be astronomical. It would impact inventory, finished goods inventory, scrap generation and disposal, prototype costs and the brand image. It is to avoid this that many manufacturers invest in our technology. Our approach is termed as cost quality, and is the primary driver for manufatcurers looking to apply these technologies. Our project with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in the form of Design Studio, for instance, would have an immediate impact on the top line. It is really about innovation and new features. If you look at Cummins, the impact would be on the bottom line as the objective is to make cost efficient truck engines.

Q. Are you offering solutions for tear down and benchmarking practices?

A. More and more companies are providing data. At OEMs, one would find many dismantled vehicles. The availability of digital data on competition has brought in a big change in the manufacturer’s approach. We are not involved in offering data as such. We don’t own any data from any competitor. More and more platforms are however using our data to compare the architecture, dimensions, etc. Our solutions are often used at the product planning and strategy stage itself. We also offer a product that helps companies to study their brand image. A manufacturer launching a new truck could get all the press articles, blogs, forums for typical brands and competition for comparison to gauge the reach. It was previously a standalone product used by marketing companies in retail spares. Today, auto companies are using it extensively.

Q.How does your approach to OEMs differ depending on whether it manufactures passenger vehicles or CVs?

A. We do not look at the life of the vehicle really. We look at everything from the product development standpoint. We have specific solutions for both segments. For commercial vehicle manufacturers, we have truck modularisation, driver management, and more. These solutions are dependent on the life expectancy.

Q. What are the key areas of growth that you are looking at in India?

A. We see a potential for growth in our core domain because of the regulatory changes. Regulatory changes are making OEMs invest in our solutions. A level of maturity is coming in. A clear new domain that is emerging is electrification and automation. We are extending our solutions to commercial vehicle manufacturing with OEMs looking to modernise and upgrade. There is a special focus on improving the overall supply chain planning in the backdrop of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the way the ‘hub and spoke model’ is emerging. Our patented technology ‘Quntiq’ is a global leader in supply chain planning and optimisation. OEMs are willing to consider our solutions to reduce the burden on their working capital. It marks a crucial domain for us.

SmartShift expands operations

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SmartShift, a Mahindra Group venture, has expanded its operation to Chennai.

Team CV

A digital start-up from the Mahindra Group, SmartShift has launched its operations in Chennai. It is the fifth city that marks the entry of the company. Signalling an expansion of operations, the start up company operates in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad. Working towards elevating the efficiency in the last mile transport space, SmartShift is acting as a platform for cargo owners and transporters to work with each other, smoothly and flawlessly.

Ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship for both, the cargo owners and transporters, SmartShift is an intra-city digital load exchange platform. Enabling efficient transportation from one point to the other, SmartShift was developed to empower consignees (both businesses and individual users) to avail of an efficient service. They can access SmartShift service through an Android-based mobile app. They can also access SmartShift through a website, or the dedicated call centre. The key differentiator that SmartShift brings to the last mile transport logistics space is the ‘reverse bidding’ feature. The app. successfully emulates the bargaining process between consignees and transporters. It allows them to close the deal at a mutually acceptable price.

In 21 months since launch, SmartShift has emerged as the leading industry player in Mumbai and Hyderabad. It is gaining unprecedented traction in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, claim industry sources. Said to have become a preferred choice for over 16,000 stakeholders, clocking over 1500 transactions per day approximately, SmartShift is looking at the next phase. It is looking to achieve an ambitious milestone of creating a community of one-million stakeholders over the next three years. Kausalya Nandakumar, CEO, SmartShift, at the launch of SmartShift in Chennai, said, “We are delighted to enter the state of Tamil Nadu by launching our operations in one of its largest cities, Chennai. The city is in many ways a gateway to a state that has the largest SCV penetration. Tamil Nadu is a mature market with a strong industrial base. We believe this market has both the need and digital presence to adopt a transport aggregator model like ours. We are confident of driving exponential value in this market.”

With the logistics industry in India pegged at USD 130 billion according to a report, 35 per cent to 40 per cent of it is said to be in the intra-city space. It is expected that 18 lakh small commercial vehicles will carry out millions of transactions everyday, and across the country. “Going ahead we will not only focus on enabling improved business productivity for our customers but also nurture customer relationships, moving beyond mere transactional business,” mentioned Nandakumar.

Offering transparent pricing, and an efficient simple one-click booking process with the ability to track cargo after dispatch, SmartShift, claim industry sources, is already turning out to be a significant player. Citing the knowledge advantage SmartShift could profit from as part of the Mahindra Group, which has a stake in the Indian CV space, and an understanding of the ecosystem, sources opine that an amount of dynamic agility is expected of the company. As the first intrapreneurial start-up incubated within the Mahindra Group, SmartShift combines the process, governance and discipline of a large mature business with the tenacity, nimbleness and fierce competitiveness of a start-up. As a young company SmartShift is said to be strongly leveraging the multi-disciplinary mentorship of the Mahindra Group. It is also said to be leveraging the access to 150 Mahindra Group companies, working as a seamless logistics solution partner.

The unique SmartShift service allows consignees to book a vehicle in less than three minutes; negotiate the best price through a unique first of its kind ‘bidding’ feature. The service also enables the consignees to choose from a range of certified and trained SmartShifters. It enables the consignees to track the selected SmartShifter and ensure that the consignment is delivered safely and securely. Allowing cargo transporters to enjoy more business through faster and easier order receiving technology, SmartShift is making life easier for transporters and fleets. To avail of more business, it is also providing the option to accept or decline a delivery request based on pricing, or the availability of vehicles. Transporters also get an opportunity to explore and expand to other markets; to look forward to a higher earning potential.

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Aiming to expand to 29 cities with 70 per cent of the SCV base in the country, the near-term plan of SmartShift is to cover metro cities. The company is currently following a well charted road map, which includes an expansion to Pune, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, and Delhi NCR. Looking at turning the daily logistics requirements of SMEs at least 30 per cent more efficient, SmartShift, for transporters, is providing a first in the industry feature of phone integration and efficient pricing through return trips. With focus on community building, SmartShift is said to look at disrupting the present inefficient ecosystem. Driven by an ambitious goal of owning cargo transportation in the country, SmartShift currently services more than 1000 pin codes in four cities.