We have been able to help increase driver-owner revenues by 30% — Uttam Digga, Porter

In a conversation with Uttam Digga, the Co-Founder of Porter, Express Drives understands how technology is important for the logistics industry, the importance of AI, some of the technologies used by Porter for middle and last-mile delivery.

uttam digga, co-founder, porter

Technology is playing an important aspect in every industry, including logistics. Technology has helped the logistics industry overcome restrictions in the movement of goods, increase the income of delivery partners, and augment customer satisfaction. One such popular brand in the logistics industry is Porter, which has become a household name. Porter is well-known to move goods from point A to B, no matter the size. 

For Porter to be successful, the company needs to adapt, as with any business. As the Pandemic did prove to be a hurdle, it helped companies evolve and look at possibilities to strengthen themselves, and the logistics industry as a whole. To understand more, Express Mobility spoke to Uttam Digga, the Co-Founder of Porter. 

What are some components that Porter identified, to help strengthen the Indian logistics segment?

The first step to addressing a problem statement is to identify the pressing issues an industry faces and acknowledge them and at Porter, we did just that. We understood that the Indian logistics sector is highly fragmented with a very low technology adoption rate. Our solution to address these problems was to come up with a technology-first approach to logistics matchmaking and the results speak for themselves.

Porter is now a market leader in India’s leading intra-city logistics market which is valued at $40 Billion. Our tech-enabled services have brought organisation to the sector by maximizing visibility to our driver-owners while also making the marketplace liquid. Porter has now created a virtuous cycle of strong network effect by leveraging our platform’s ability to quickly and effectively connect users with our driver-partners.

Our offerings are as varied as the demands of the Indian market with categories that include two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers to ensure efficient and effective transportation of goods. Our offerings also cater to weight classes ranging from a mere 20gms to 2.5 tons.

At Porter, we constantly strive to create value for both of our stakeholders. With our innovative platform approach to solving the logistics sector’s capacity utilization problem, we have been able to help increase driver-owner revenues by 30% while also helping customers save cost by 20% for all their logistics needs. The platform also ensures a more user-friendly experience for customers, with lower wait times and higher availability.

How can data analytics and AI help map regions where customers are dependent on logistics the most?

At Porter, our primary focus is to perfect the art of “matchmaking” between our driver-partners and our users. We continuously strive to enable the platform to streamline the matchmaking process and help match supply with demand. The goal currently is to make our solution accessible and dynamic by making the platform contextual. Certain key technology enablers that are currently being tested like real-time analytics and modelling are instrumental in realising our goals.

How will the recent investment secured by Porter help the logistics market?

We are primarily looking at 4 levers to concentrate our efforts on to achieve our short- and medium-term goals with the capital infusion from the Series E funding round. Our first lever would be geographic expansion within India to cater to and service customers in a multitude of cities apart from the 15 cities that we already operate in. Our second lever would be to expand our categories and offerings to service a wider user base.

We are exploring categories such as multiple commercial vehicle options, rental and outstation services, packers & movers, and others. Our third lever would be expanding our user base by creating newer use cases for enterprise customers and individual customers alike. Our final lever for growth through capital infusion is investments in creating an allied support ecosystem to the logistics space. Our vision for this offering would be to create a non-logistics ecosystem aiding in the seamless functioning of the logistics sector. 

Strategically for these 4 levers to be executed effortlessly, stellar talent from multiple fields including but not limited to technology, engineering, product, marketing, and strategy is required. However, currently, our focus is to provide our customers and driver-partners a product that is automated wherever possible and with the highest quality while also being economically viable for both parties. Our strategic intent, therefore, is to keep our team efficient while ensuring quality and productivity. 

What are some technologies used in middle and last-mile delivery?

Our solutions to address the middle- and last-mile delivery market is 3-fold. To address problems on customer retention and new customer onboarding we are looking at making the booking experience as seamless as possible and also providing necessary information visible to the customer at any time during the transit of their package. Our driver-partners being an integral part of our operations are catered to by our advanced cash flow system to ensure on-time payments thereby improving working capital for them. 

The platform also inherently helps provide our driver-partners with a consistent revenue stream and a sustainable livelihood. The core of our business however is still our matchmaking software which enables a liquid marketplace that connects customers with drivers by improving visibility and efficiency. At Porter, we are also constantly on the lookout for newer technologies that enable our core tenets of operation to help us grow from strength to strength.

Would Porter consider changing its fleet to EVs? What are some hurdles faced for this transition?

EVs are undoubtedly the way forward for the logistics sector to ensure a sustainable and greener tomorrow. At Porter, we are taking on the role of catalysts for change by working closely with our driver-partners to enable the shift towards sustainable logistics. We currently have 500 operational EVs across five cities in India, and we hope to increase this number to 20% of all operational vehicles under Porter’s platform in the coming years. 

What is the impact of the proliferation of e-commerce firms on logistics?

The e-commerce industry has definitely been a boon to the logistics sector, especially during the pandemic. E-commerce giants in the Indian ecosystem are now offering doorstep delivery enabled by their respective logistics partners. Therefore, logistic partners are now key stakeholders in the e-commerce boom India is currently experiencing thereby increasing our scope by supporting this thriving market.

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First published on: 31-12-2021 at 14:43 IST