Team IT-Voice recently had an opportunity to interact with Mr. Apurva Mankad, Founder & CEO of WebXpress. Founded in 2004, WebXpress is an integrated transportation and logistics management software provider that has the vision to leapfrog emerging market logistics with cutting-edge technology. Here is a brief part of the interaction.
Prateek: Tell us about the journey of WebXpress so far.
Apurva Mankad: I started WebXpress in 2004. I was deeply passionate about the internet economy and had worked on various projects till then. I wanted to bring the latest technologies to the highly unorganized but crucial sector of logistics. We at WebXpress built our Transportation Management solution combining customer needs with technology. WebXpress has always been at the forefront of emerging technologies. Be it launching of a Mobile App back in 2009 or using a Smartphone and GPS integration in 2011. With the advent of the Cloud, we transformed WebXpress into a SaaS-based solution that covers everything from transportation solutions to e-commerce to Express to Hyperlocal or Full Truck movement. We process over 3.5 million transactions and analyze over 100 mn IoT signals every month.
We are aiming at increasing our customer base by 10X and revenues by 15X over the next 3 years.
Prateek: How has technology changed the dynamics of transportation and logistics in India?
Apurva Mankad: For decades, the Indian logistics industry used bare minimum technology mainly for billing and accounts. But since the arrival of e-commerce, the adoption of technology has spread from larger players to mid-sized and even smaller players. The logistics and ‘Logtech’ start-ups have received over USD 5 bn investment in the last 5-6 years. With a slew of start-ups offering tech-driven innovative solutions, traditional players had to upgrade their game to catch up or to stay ahead of the curve.
Today in 2021, it will be difficult to win business from marquee customers without showcasing cutting-edge technological capabilities. At the same time, the sector is large and the impact of technology is still limited to less than 10% of the industry. There are massive opportunities awaiting companies who can implement technology solutions that work in the ground realities of India.
For example, our visibility platform LogiCloud has helped digitize transactions from over 300 logistics companies, most of which are smaller players. This helps large manufacturers like Thermo Fisher, Aditya Birla Fashion, Dr. Lal Pathlabs to get a real-time status update on a single platform. Logistics technology is also generating a wealth of data from location geo-codes to IoT signals to GPS streams to FASTag. Companies are investing to decode all these data and improve their service, reduce costs and optimize fleet operations. In the coming 4-5 years, we will see even smaller logistics companies embracing technology for partial and end-to-end operations.
Prateek: While most parts of the country were under strict lockdown last year, continuous movement of goods was also halted at some places. What strategy did WebXpress adopt to cope up with the impact on the transportation and logistics ecosystem?
Apurva Mankad: Covid-19 driven lockdown came as a massive shock to the logistics industry and it was no different for WebXpress. But since we had prior experience of supporting 10,000 plus users across eight countries, we were able to manage the crisis. Our teams could connect to Cloud servers from anywhere and relevant security measures were always in place. Our customers continued to interact with us on chat, video calls, portal, and through multiple such mechanisms.
Yes, as our customers’ business suffered, our receivables took a hit and we had to arrange additional funds. However, the most unexpected change was the surge in demand for logistics technology. During the pandemic, many companies realized the value of a Cloud-based system that can keep their operations running from ANYWHERE. WebXpress launched quickly to adopt modules such as Mobile Apps for Drivers, Online Auction Engine, Control Tower to help customers get a grip on their operations with a team scattered across cities.
Prateek: You have mentioned on the official website that an organization is nothing but a reflection of its team. How would you elaborate on the significance of teamwork and the work culture at WebXpress?
Apurva Mankad: Any technology deployment is successful when combined with people and processes. WebXpress has always invested in creating a team of technology and domain experts. Our team specializes in hand-holding customers to ensure successful rollouts. We conduct over 200 micro-trainings lasting just 15-30 minutes every month. This helps customers utilize technology better. The average tenure of our team at WebXpress is 5 years and our core team is with WebXpress for over 8 years. The average age of our employees is 26 and we indeed have a fine combination of experience and youthful energy.
Prateek: Are there any futuristic services and products lined up?
Apurva Mankad: Technology can generate a lot of data and information and even provide dashboards and reports. But the key challenge is to process all the information and derive business insight. For any industry, getting people who can decode data and get meaningful insight is difficult. Thus, technology again has to be set up.
We are working on many new-age initiatives. We are excited about what 5G can do in a logistics hub. There is a Logistics specific CRM in the works. We are looking at reducing Carbon Footprint for our customers.
The possibilities with data are limitless and WebXpress with its deep domain expertise, ground-level experience, and technology prowess is uniquely placed and is all set to offer next-generation offerings.
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