Technology has changed the way we do business today as compared to five years back irrespective of any industry. The companies had to go for huge investment for adopting right technology for their growth. Logistic industry also thrived during last couple of years and leading players adopted the technology required to sustain the market. Yet there are huge challenges for the players in this domain. Mr. Bhavik Chinai, CEO, Vamaship, first integrated logistics online platform talks to DT and shares opportunities and challenges for this industry. Below are the excerpts:
Q: What are the major challenges you face in the Indian logistics market?
A: The challenges in the Indian Logistics space are primarily about adoption of technology and the number of unorganized players in each logistics segment. Despite being in 2016 and players having access to excellent hardware which can stream real-time data, it’s adopted by a fraction of the industry due to foreseen implementation challenges and slow ROI. Hence, stakeholders across the segment have lower visibility of shipments and there’s a major opportunity in automating the flow of documents for international shipping.
Q: What are the current technology trend and advancement in this domain?
A: A fairly larger percentage of logistics businesses are family owned and family run, and the next generation targets professionalizing. The first change brought in is to use technology to automate any recurring process. We are witnessing a large number of freight forwarders and courier companies investing in ERPs, hardware for tracking, integrations and tech teams. Alongside, we’re witnessing a swing in sentiment in the logistics community toward partnering with shipping platforms like Vamaship and are growing synergies with startups helping traditional companies leverage their existing infrastructure.
Q: What best solutions do you have for consumers in India as Vamaship?
A: Vamaship focusses on three groups of clients, e-commerce platforms, small and medium enterprises, and individuals. We have built an automated platform in which after signing up, Vamaship becomes the only platform needed to ship general cargo, perishable, hazardous and valuable cargo by air, ocean and surface, across India and to 200 countries globally. The process to ship today requires one to visit a courier company’s office to ship, or contact multiple forwarders for quotes, or sign contracts with multiple truck brokers to start shipping, which with Vamaship reduces to a one page sign up form.
Q: What are your current investment plan for India?A: Yes, our primary investment would be in hiring, where we will be expanding our tech team by over 100% in the next 6 months. We already have 24x7 live-chat support and a call center for customer service where we’re investing in software and hiring. With offices in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, we’ll be expanding our sales penetration to 20 cities to activate a few more thousand SMEs.
Q: What will be your GTM for next six months?
A: We are six months old and with every new city that our sales will start targeting, our go-to-market tactic primarily is a combination of online and offline. Offline, our team will be making clients experience automated shipping and collaborating with trade associations, while online, we’ll focus on using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to grow our reach. Our core objective is to help consumers feel the Vamaship experience due to the strength of the product will help gain from word-of-mouth.
Q: Brief us about your targeted verticals. Please name some of your existing clients.
A: We’re targeting SMEs, e-commerce companies and individuals. We’re focusing across sectors and have clients ranging from mining to jewellery. A few clients are the Ashapura group, which is the world’s third largest bauxite mining company, Caratlane - which is India’s largest jewellery website, Athene – which is one of India’s largest contract manufacturer and hundreds of SMEs.
Q: Do you see any change required in government policy?
A: Our entire industry eagerly awaits GST. Effective implementation of GST alone would transform every industry in India including logistics. Another improvement we look forward to is additional information shared by the customs department through CBEC. There’s a major gap being explored due to lack of information which if partially reduced will help improve trade immensely. A large number of entrepreneurs would start businesses in global trade with ready information about import duty, notifications and export incentives and other relevant data through CBEC online.
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