If e-commerce has heralded a revolution in the B2C retail space, it is also changing selling and buying patterns in the B2B space. While several online marketplaces cater to the needs of SMEs, making available a variety of industrial goods, Hyderabad-based SteelonCall Services has preferred to focus on only one product—steel. The online platform seamlessly connects the stakeholders involved in the steel supply chain. It offers multiple brands and grades of steel sourced from a host of vendors and manufacturers across the country at real-time market prices in addition to several value-added services required for steel usage.
Mjunction, India’s first e-commerce company and the world’s largest e-marketplace for steel, is perhaps its biggest rival in this space.
SteelonCall, established in April 2016, is focused on the direct delivery of steel from manufacturers through the digital marketplace. The stakeholders in the steel trade faced several issues in conducting business transactions despite steel being a basic need. This, in turn, led to unending delay in project execution and spiraling budgets, says A Ravi Kumar, CMD. “This spurred us to explore and capitalise on the tremendous potential a digital marketplace would have in a chaotic market like this. With our domain expertise in the steel business, we pieced together a robust platform, streamlined and transformed the way steel business is conducted,” he adds.
Currently, the products offered by the platform are construction steel – TMT bars, MS round, binding wire, fabrication steel, light structurals and heavy structurals. It plans to add special steel in the near future.
“We sourced about 38,000 tonnes of steel from Vizag Steel. We sustain our business through handling charges of Rs 200 per tonne levied on each transaction,” he says, adding that the final cost is lower by at least by Rs 1,500 when purchased online. Since its inception, the start-up has supplied more than 30,000 tonnes of steel with a transaction value of over `150 crore. Currently, the company services clients in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Orissa.
Setting an ambitious target of Rs 1,000 crore turnover, the e-commerce platform has recently signed an MoU with the government of Andhra Pradesh to set up a warehouse at Amaravati with an investment of Rs 32.68 crore. The long-term plan is to have a pan-India presence, build five warehouses and have partnerships with more steel companies in addition to Vizag Steel.
The platform has around 350 registered vendors, prominent among them being AR Steels, Vattam Steels, Srinivasa Steel Traders, Manikonda Steel Agencies. It has built a loyal customer base of over 500, including reputed builders, contractors and individual house owners. PVR Projects, Haigreeva Projects and Appolline Energy are some of the prominent ones.