As consumer behaviour shifted substantially from physically being present at a store to buy goods, to relying on e-commerce, especially since we’re still going through a pandemic, the sector responsible for the movement of goods is now witnessing good business. However, like every industry, the logistics sector was negatively impacted during the lockdowns. How far along has the industry come and how? These are a few questions Parag Aggarwal, CEO & Co-Founder, GoBOLT, a tech-enabled logistics company, answers.
How has the pandemic affected the logistics industry? What are the challenges it faces?
With the pandemic outbreak, almost every industry suffered and the logistics market was no exception. COVID-19 also brought about a shift in the consumers’ behaviour and preferences and they resorted to online shopping for all their purchasing requirements. This transformation in the consumer psyche rendered a significant impact on the logistics market since it is largely a consumer-driven sector. The driver community specifically faced a major setback as their sustainable livelihood was under threat.
The coronavirus crisis created a ripple effect on the logistics sector and posed various challenges on its path of survival and growth. It is one of the highly unorganized markets and owing to the pandemic, the entire logistics ecosystem faced various roadblocks. Be it the small vendors or the drivers, the sector could not function optimally.
The absence of consumer demand further changed the logistics landscape altogether for the small players. Eventually, they had to sell off their assets and completely shut down their operations. However, for the market to tread on the revival journey, support at the ecosystem level with a holistic approach is required so that the players can survive and thrive and continue their operations.
GoBOLT has seen a 6x growth in revenue in the past three years, what are the factors backing this positive growth?
We take pride in sharing that we are one of the few tech-enabled logistics companies that have witnessed significant growth as well as early profitability. Right from our inception, we have been consistent in scaling up our business, and over the years, we have been successful in carving out a niche for ourselves. Achieving a 6x growth revenue in the past three years is no less than a milestone for us and multiple factors have contributed to this remarkable growth.
GoBOLT is a tech-enabled logistics company that aims at improving the efficiency and speed of the supply chain. With our unique hybrid operating model and in-house technology stack, we have been able to exhibit cost leadership and flexibility to the E-commerce and Non-e-commerce industry players which have helped us win businesses across the sector. We primarily attribute our growth to our capital-efficient asset-hybrid business model, strong execution capability, proprietary tech-stack enabling operational excellence, and our ability to cater to diversified business segments.
We have been continuously focusing on enhancing our services, expanding our network, and increasing our business share, both with respect to the current customers and new clientele. This has also played a pivotal role in pushing our growth in the market. Furthermore, we have majorly benefitted from the significant growth of the e-commerce segment in India owing to the pandemic-induced social distancing norms and the surge in online shopping by consumers. Technology penetration in logistics is another key factor that has given the requisite push to GoBOLT’s growth.
What does GoBOLT bring to the table that makes logistics operations more efficient? How can your technology stack assist in improving the supply chain?
Innovation is no longer an option but has rather become the dire need of the hour in order to cope with industry dynamics and have a competitive edge in the market. Hence, the logistics players are quickly adapting to innovative digital technologies to enhance their operations.
We at GoBolt believe in optimally leveraging the potential of technology to provide seamless services to our patrons. Our tech-enabled solutions extensively contribute towards the quick, seamless, and efficient functioning of our operations. GoBOLT is backed by a robust in-house technology stack which has been developed post thorough market analysis and combining the expertise of various leading supply chain professionals. It helps us digitize the supply chains of the non-e-commerce industry, gives us visibility across the supply chain nodes, and also helps us identify the pocket of inefficiencies in the whole supply chain.
We work with the sole aim to ensure express delivery and improve the efficiency of the supply chain. The algorithms used in our tech stack help us in achieving this very objective- identifying the inefficiencies in the processes and execution and helping us address the same effectively!
What technologies have proven to be revolutionary for the logistics industry in the past five years and what does the immediate future look like in terms of technology adaptation by logistics players?
India is at the cusp of a digital revolution and the logistics segment has been an active adapter of digital transformation. With the advent of technology and E-commerce, the logistics sector in India has witnessed unprecedented growth over the past few years. Even the small and medium players have embraced tech adoption so as to manage their operations seamlessly and efficiently.
Over the last 5 years, technology has been a combination of both hardware and software technologies. Earlier, hardware tech solutions exhibited IoT in logistics. The market saw the emergence of BS 6 trucks with ECU control mechanisms transmitting real-time data about the truck that would help in their maintenance and upkeep. Road safety technologies in driver cabins further focused on reducing road accidents. Whereas, software solutions in the logistics sector on the other hand have witnessed a tremendous shift.
Companies like GoBOLT have entered the market that offer route optimization algorithms, automated inplant management systems, warehouse management solutions, along with an end to end visibility of the entire supply chain.
We anticipate that from the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, to Big Data Analytics, and automation, firms will be inclined to incorporate these state-of-the-art technologies in their functioning so as to streamline and develop their supply chain models and manage the booming pressure. Digital transformation will play a pivotal role in improving the overall customer experience as well as in the bolstered growth of the logistics market. On the whole, tech disruption will indeed revolutionize the overall supply chain and logistics sector in the years to come.
Growth and expansion plan for GoBOLT
Recently GoBOLT has raised $20 million from Paragon Partners and its existing investor, Aavishkaar Capital as a part of its Series B round. We are in the process of using this capital to expand our footprints to newer geographies and improve our pan India distribution network. We are also keen to invest heavily in technology and bring about innovations in our SaaS-based offerings. Along with this, we will be focusing on enhancing our end-to-end express solutions as well.
We wish to double our revenue from Rs 22-Rs 25 crores per month in the next 12-18 months. Additionally, we are also aiming at continuing our profitable growth and target achieving 1500 cr revenue in FY 25 along with focusing on our vision of transforming supply chains to express supply chains.
Opinion | Will the logistics sector be the front runner in India’s EV transition?
Presently, EV is a breakthrough technology in the industry and has been gaining massive acceptance from the customers off lately. Be it for private or commercial use; Electronic Vehicles are all set to make their presence felt in the market in the times ahead.
Moreover, as per industry reports, they are expected to account for 30% of vehicle sales in India by 2030. Apart from environmental gains, this transition is likely to save crude oil imports worth Rs 1,07,566 crore, as estimated in a report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a Delhi-based think tank.
EVs are not just contributing to reducing the carbon footprint but are also reducing the dependence on ever-rising fuel prices. The logistics companies are waiting for such opportunities and hence would be the front runner to adopt the same. The logistics sector, which is directly dependent on various modes of transport, is also gearing up to deploy EVs to meet the requirements of the sector efficiently. The ecosystem is not just working on making a good product but is also laying down a strong service network across the country which will help the small players to move towards EV as well.
Industry reports highlight a similar trend and state that the global electric vehicle market size is projected to grow from 4,093 thousand units in 2021 to 34,756 thousand units by 2030, at a CAGR of 26.8%. They further share that India has already shown a keen interest to be a major part of this automotive paradigm shift. Adding to this, the country has already put forward the desire to become the biggest hub for electric vehicles in the future. Therefore, industry leaders consider electric vehicles to be a promising option in the long run, especially for the logistics industry!
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