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We plan to expand into textile sectors in coming months

Feb 12, 2021
We plan to expand into textile sectors in coming months

LetsTransport is a new-age, reliable logistics platform aiming to disrupt on-time delivery with last-mile efficiency. The company was founded in 2015 by IIT-Kharagpur alumni Pushkar Singh, Sudarshan Ravi, and Ankit Parasher. It is a series-B funded, last-mile tech-logistics solution provider for intra-state deliveries based in Bangalore. It offers reliable, affordable, and professional services, structured to serve enterprises. Co-founder and CEO, Pushkar Singh chats about the future of logistics in India and the company’s foray into the textile and apparel sector.

Give us brief information about the company and how it evolved over the years.
LetsTransport is a tech-logistics solution provider for intrastate freight deliveries. Founded in 2015, it is one of the largest urban logistics service providers in India. With its aim to improve the livelihood and work environment of the urban trucking community along with improving the efficiency of the sector the firm has on-boarded more than 80,000 LCV truckers at national level to date. Currently, the firm is catering to urban logistics operations of 17 cities in India by working across industry sectors such as organised retail, FMCG, e-commerce, distribution and 3PL companies. Some of its clients include Amazon, Bisleri, JioMart, JSW Cements, Pidilite, Britannia, Coca-Cola, Delhivery, and Udaan. The company offers customised logistics solutions for clients, along with other value-added services such as screened drivers, audited and GPS-enabled vehicles, point-to-point billing, status updates, 24×7 service, and greater efficiency, all at transparent and economical pricing. (www.letstransport.in).

What are some of the emerging trends in the market you are in?
The biggest emerging trend which we can see in the market is the introduction of EVs as everyone is now switching to clean energy. The commitment to switch to clean fuels is not the only reason but the rising price of conventional fuels has pushed the demand for EVs even more. We can surely see 30-50 per cent of the country vehicles being switched to EVs by 2030.

Can you brief us about the marketing strategies that were applied in order to stand out in the competition among the industry? How is your company meeting the challenges of the market demands today?
Our target market is niche and B2B focused so we never had to go all out with our marketing, demand has always been incoming for us. We operate in a sector which has not seen the presence of any large organised players because it is not possible to build a business with such a fragmented network with no technology. We have been able to successfully create a value proposition which is so attractive for our customers, that they want to work with us, as the only alternative they have is to work with a multitude of different vendors across different cities, creating massive operational issues and inefficiencies.

If we talk about the market demands today, we can say that there has been a shift with the increase in digital penetration, the demands have started coming from tier-2 and tier-3 cities which was not the case a few years ago. COVID has also accelerated the rate at which enterprises are moving towards working with more organised players.

As one of the leading logistics players, how important is the textile sector to you?
Textile sector is one of the most important sectors as the apparel industry is growing at a very rapid rate in India both online as well as offline. We plan to expand into the apparel and textile sectors heavily in the coming months.

What are the key challenges faced by you at present and how are you handling these challenges?
With the efficient management of freight and deliveries by our full-stack technology we don’t see any such huge challenge in front of us but the infrastructure to charge EVs and charging stations will be a huge challenge for logistics operators as they generally operate inter-city services which are long distance.

Explain reverse logistics and the Indian scenario.
According to Forrester Research, online shoppers in India, return at least 25-40 per cent of the apparel purchased by them. In comparison, the return rate in developed markets like the US or the UK ranges between 15 and 25 per cent. Reverse logistics, the opposite of the standard supply chain is equally important and logistics providers play a key role. Using IoT, AI, machine learning, logistics-tech players can help retailers track every movement of the returned goods.

Although it is not a problem for customers per se, returns and overstocking can lead to losses for brands. In such a scenario, technology has come to the rescue of companies and logistics players.

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on the logistics sector?
Logistics industry initially slowed down like every industry because no one had any clue of what would happen next and how to adapt to these changes. But slowly things started to change as the government started making its policies clearer to the industry and things became clear to everyone. The logistics industry is the backbone of the economy as nothing can run without proper logistics and the government made sure that the logistics companies were healthy and kept running.

To tide over the COVID crisis, the government has announced various schemes for industries. Will it lead to gains for Indian companies, in general, and your company, in particular?
As we look from the point of view of the logistics sector specifically, we all know that EVs are the future because everybody knows that we cannot rely on non-renewable fuels. The EV policies announced by various state governments have been a phenomenal hit in the industry. The scrapping incentives and the road tax exemptions are the things which we think every state government will announce very soon. We have also started pilots with EV manufacturers and are aiming to replace 30 per cent of our fleet with EVs by 2025.

Are you seeing any emerging trends in the textile industry (and/or other industries) that you intend to tap?
There has been a staggering increase in the logistics of textiles due to the festive season as people have slowly started adopting the new normal.

Modernisation and automation are increasing across industries. What is the significance of this for your company?
Modernisation and automation are now getting into almost every industry and logistics is also not untouched, in fact, logistics per se has been the most difficult industry to implement technological changes, but companies like LetsTransport have transformed the whole domain of logistics. LetsTransport, a leading enterprise urban-logistics provider is continuously working on optimising its technology and has successfully implemented full-stack-based tech solutions to solve the problem of intra-state deliveries for enterprises. The route optimisation tool is made keeping various things in mind like Real-Time Traffic Consideration, Order Vehicle Constraints, Geocoding, Historical Data Inspection, Rider Preference, Dynamic Route Planning and Analytics, and Report Management. The technology has helped LetsTransport in reducing redundant and duplicate tasks by truck drivers thus resulting in maximum output and efficiency with less effort.

Does your company have any future plans to expand or diversify into other related fields? Give some details, if so.
We don’t have any such plans of diversification into other fields but we are constantly upgrading ourselves with new technologies like EVs and implementation of tech- enabled modules for onboarding of truckers without any human interference. Our vision is to be a technology company at heart and eliminate all the human hurdles of logistics.

What are your growth plans for the company? Are you recalibrating your growth strategy due to COVID 19?
At first, it was a bit difficult for us to understand the restriction of movement and lockdown and affected our business for a very little amount of time but as soon as we understood those challenges it became very easy for us to adapt into situations and circumstances. In fact, the growth has been phenomenal as soon as the country started to open up and the pandemic has become a catalyst for technological adaptation which was much needed since very long.

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