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Connecting the dots in logistics industry

Connecting the dots in logistics industry

Created by young entrepreneurs, Vaahika.com aims to bring about a total transformation in the Indian logistics industry by increasing both efficiency and revenues, writes Huned Contractor.

The burgeoning Indian logistics industry is poised to be valued at about $130 billion. Yet, the sector suffers from lack of organisation and an ancient mind-set. Operations are carried out just as they were in the 1990s. In fact, the logistics industry lacks access to a single gateway connecting the manufacturer, transporter and the end-customer. For manufacturers, there is limited access to transporters and knowledge of market freight trends is fairly restricted. Due to lack of a comprehensive logistical solution, manufacturers in India are in need of support to reduce their transportation costs.
For transporters, with the number of individual/self-owned fleet owners increasing, smaller transporters are seeking expansion. They require greater access to load availability while truck drivers/owners need quick support on return-load bookings. This kind of service is limited only to specific routes because of insufficient and inaccessible business network. For consumers, whether it is shifting apartments or moving out of the city, the entire process is highly inconvenient and tedious. For those looking for household transportation, the choice of transporters at extremely competitive rates is far and few.

The beginning

Given this scenario, Vaahika.com has been established out of this need to create a one-stop solution to meet the increasing demands in the transport and logistics marketplace. Founded by Siddharth Jain and Shashank Jain in July 2015 – the former a graduate from IIT Roorkee and the latter an alumnus of IIM Shillong – Vaahika.com integrates all the three components of logistics viz. the manufacturer, transporter and the end-customer, and does so in partnership with Frost & Sullivan under their ‘Companies to Action’ project. “The word ‘Vaahika’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Vaahan’, meaning mode of transport. Be it the consumer’s need to ship loose goods, a manufacturer looking for bulk transportation support, delivery of mail or couriers, fleet owners looking for load to support their uptime, or an individual truck-owner seeking transportation load, we provide the solutions to all such problems under one roof,” says Siddharth Jain.

Siddharth began his stint with the automotive industry in Tata Motors in the Sales & Services division of its Commercial Vehicle Business Unit (CVBU). He then charted out new horizons in Frost & Sullivan as a Principal Consultant for the automotive team, steering the commercial vehicle business. Shashank too hails from a business family in Kota, Rajasthan, which has been in the logistics business for over 30 years. He started his career in sales and marketing in Pidilite Industries, following which he joined FACE as the head of regional business development for the northern region. He facilitated and strategised the entry of the start up in the region. Shashank is also the founder of Real Time Logistics which provides comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions to its customers.

Meanwhile, under this partnership, Frost & Sullivan will support Vaahika through strategic advisory in a wide array of areas covering all aspects of its growth and evolution as a leading force in the Indian logistics industry. It will also support Vaahika in its fund-raising activity to fuel its growth plan. “We see Vaahika as a strong, technology-focused company that can drive significant improvements in fleet utilisation and logistics efficiency, benefiting both shippers and carriers, and thus emerge as a leading player in this sector. The Indian logistics industry is relatively unorganised when compared to leading global markets and hence is in urgent need for transformation,” says Y S Shashidhar, Managing Director and Partner, Frost & Sullivan.
“Freight aggregation through an online platform can add a great deal of efficiency and effectiveness in India’s logistics sector. Vaahika’s innovative service for shippers and carriers is expected to bring about tremendous economies of scope and scale to the largely unorganised trucking and logistics sector in India. Frost & Sullivan’s companies to action growth partnership (C2A GP) platform is aimed at enabling early-stage companies, such as Vaahika, in developing robust growth strategies, and build and scale up brand and demand of their services and solutions, while realising their full growth potential. We look forward to catalysing Vaahika’s strong and positive impact on the Indian logistics industry,” adds Shashidhar.

Aiming high

Vaahika’s founders come from a business background in inter and intra-city logistics of over three decades. Their aim is to generate 1 million truckloads by 2020. To date, Vaahika has executed shipment of over 5,000 tonne of manufactured goods from Rajasthan. It already has more than 300 vendors and 150 clients on board. The company has grown at a remarkable pace of over 50 per cent month-on-month (MOM) in its count of shipment executions since initiation of its services in October 2015. “We are confident that we will be able to add significant value to transporters by increasing efficiency and revenues. Together with Frost & Sullivan we hope to build value across boundaries, and create a single window ecosystem to access all logistics services seamlessly,” states Siddharth Jain.

“In a short span of about five months, we have generated a traction of close to 15 truck loads daily. We currently have more than 200 vendors on board which provides us with enough of network to support pan-country transportation from Rajasthan. We have more than 100 active clients on board in the SME and MSME space. Vaahika intends towards bringing the entire freight industry online and basic Telematics services through a mobile phone application, thereby creating an ecosystem of smart transportation in India. In essence, Vaahika is solving logistics problems using a technology solution that helps in generating an online pool of floating load and its inherent bidding module then facilitates availability of competitive freights. It also helps transporters in booking their return loads in advance and adding new business routes, thereby providing a 360-degree solution to all logistic needs,” explains Shashank Jain.


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