In the fiercely competitive world of logistics, LogiNext is banking on Internet of Things to fuel growth.
Story by: Anirudh Raheja
Business dynamics change, and they do so quite frequently. It is this trait that has been providing LogiNext, a Mumbai-based company, specialising in the development of IT-based analytical solutions, a reason to progress and fuel growth. Quips Dhruvil Sanghvi, co-founder, LogiNext Solutions, that a logistics company involved in goods movement spends 30 to 40 per cent of its annual expenditure on heads like fuel. “Deploying analytics can help to optimise fleet movement, avoid any kind of over or under utilisation of fleet and curb unnecessary activities like fuel theft and unwanted routes,” he adds. Established in 2013, LogiNext has been posting good growth. It were the cab aggregators that inspired Dhruvil and Manisha Raisinghani to establish LogiNext. The duo decided to develop cloud-based algorithms for analysing and tracking. These, they found out, can help to plan, schedule and load balance commercial vehicles in real-time. “The outcome is the operator’s ability to plan the movement of fleet more effectively. Trucks can carry more load and fleet utilisation goes up substantially,” mentions Raisinghani.
It was after sensing a hyper-local and ecommerce surge, that the duo decided to implement their big data experience to help cut down on unnecessary costs incurred in logistics. With an aim to serve the entire transport ecosystem regardless of the fleet size, LogiNext, rather than opt for on-premise software, resorted to cloud-based software so that any hardware issues were eliminated. “Large companies have deep pockets. That is not the case with medium and smaller fleet owners. A cloud-based solution would reduce the requirement for a special hardware. It would also allow access to similar services, which bigger companies avail of, and from anywhere without paying a huge fee upfront,” states Sanghvi. To maintain system robustness, LogiNext utilises Amazon Web Services, world’s largest cloud company. The company keeps the source code with itself and has a data centre at Singapore. Its list of clients include Mahindra Logistics, JK Cement, S.M. Logistics, Asian Paints, HUL, Scorpion Logistics, V-Trans Logistics among others.
Product segmentation for the ecosystem
LogiNext has four solutions for the logistics industry on offer. Its ‘Mile’ solution, developed specially for last mile delivery and intra-city fleet movement, undertakes automation of resource capacity and delivery routes with real-time tracking and predictive alerts. Avers Dhruvil, “Balancing out the load with the fleet movement with the use of mobile apps. and cloud-based planning can help to identify bottlenecks. Eliminating these bottlenecks results in a saving of up to five per cent in the amount of distance travelled, and three per cent in terms of resource utilisation.” For inter-city goods movement especially, LogiNext has developed ‘Haul’, a cloud-based solution that is deployed using standard GPS trackers and miniature wireless sensors to tap the location data. In order to make data comparison easy, ‘Haul’ offers a wide range of reports based on service level agreements across third party logistics, partnering carriers, and trucks and drivers. Mentions Sanghvi, “This allows the drivers to take control, decide what route can be taken, and how they can efficiently plan their movement to do more loads, thus making more money rather than indulging in unnecessary activities like stealing fuel.”
Third product developed by the company is called “On-Demand’. It is about managing services through ‘uberisation’ of delivery service. Highly dependent on real-time location based on allocation technology, the nearest possible resource is automatically allocated the load transfer duties. “This is closely followed by seamless tracking, kilometre based travel, and integration of service level achieved during the process. ‘On-Demand’ helps in managing hyper local deliveries like electronics, groceries, medicines, apparels, and food according to Sanghvi. The fourth product, “Reverse, aims at optimising resource planning through clustering of last mile deliveries with reverse pick-ups for route planning and optimisation of capacity. “It covers all,” says Sanghvi, “from Return-to-Merchant (RTM) and Return-to-Origin (RTO) scenario especially in ecommerce.”
As far as the tracking part of its solutions is concerned, LogiNext works closely with a list of 250 approved vendors from whom its clients can choose a hardware. The company buys the products directly off the shelf, and as per the demand. Installation is done by the hardware manufacturer himself. Serving 150 clients in India and over 200 customers overseas, the company, states Sanghvi, through its solutions, helps to track vehicle speeding, vehicle movement, routes taken by the driver and his driving habits, which are often ignored. Such things actually impact the most explains Dhruvil. They impact the health of the vehicle, and also the health and mindset of the driver, he adds. If this presents an idea about what went into the development of the various products and solutions the company has come to offer, LogiNext, according to Sanghvi, has developed simple mobile apps. that can optimise the route for the drivers using GPS trackers and wireless sensors. These are installed in the vehicle, or can be carried by the driver. Either device allows the driver to understand what route he can take, and how efficiently can he plan his movement; do more loads.
Expansion on the go
When LogiNext began its journey in 2014, it had few customers in India, Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore to count upon. India for the founder duo – Sanghvi and Raisinghani, was a low hanging fruit. The company too had its base in India with offices in Gurgaon, Jaipur, Mumbai and Bengaluru. A decision was taken to set up a product development centre in India. It is managed by a team of 75 technology experts among the overall workforce of 350. The company will be shortly registering a subsidiary in Singapore according to Sanghvi. This will help them to target newer markets. With primary focus on India, USA, South East Asia, and the Middle East, the company has already raised two rounds of investments. In March 2015, an Indian Angel Network invested close to half a million dollars in LogiNext. Paytm and Alibaba Group pumped in USD 10 million in September 2015. To further expand the scope of business, LogiNext has also partnered with Deloitte and Gartner. This, according to Sanghvi, is helping them to understand different concepts that exist in the market. It is also helping them to develop new products.
Doing business with bigger entities is proving to be easier than the medium and small scale entities mentions Sanghvi. The biggest hurdle perhaps is the shortage of funds in the case of medium and small scale enterprises. According to Sanghvi, medium scale enterprises are always short of funds and therefore unable to employ new technological developments like theirs. He adds, “Initially the response from large fleet owners was lukewarm. It is no longer the case as transformation is taking place in the field of trucking and logistics, and the demand for such products is rising. Once large companies are on board, smaller companies automatically get attracted opines Dhruvil. Problem comes when people are willing to use the software but are not willing to pay for it,” he adds. It is at this point that the company applies stress on building trust. States Sanghvi, “We show them case studies. We also offer them a one-month free trial. We ensure that our potential clients see and experience the benefits (of our solutions) before they feel comfortable and worth it to come on board.”
Optimistic about winning medium and small scale enterprises, Sanghvi is chalking out news plans for growth. He is well aware of the changing requirements of the transportation industry. He is also aware of the ecosystem changes that are in the making. For a player like LogiNext, which is emphasising on Internet of Things to make the transporters and logistics players earn better, the key to future growth may lie in staying agile and sensitive to the needs of its existing as well as potential clients. Competition is growing too, and with progress in IT and electronics, there’s so much more that LogiNext has to do, or has the opportunity to do.