TruckSuvidha, an online portal, is trying to bridge the gap among the transporters, truck operators, fleet owners, movers & packers and end users. It aims at bringing all transportation related entities to common platform and reduce time engaged in operations. It is also concerned about improving quality of life of marginal entities of transportation segment.
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Creating a (T) Ruckus: Truck Suvidha
“Difficult, of course. But not impossible!”
Necessity, goes the adage, is the mother of invention.
When Ishu Bansal, saw his family business face
problems in transporting their manufactured goods, he was convinced
there were others sailing in the same boat too and facing the same
hardships as his family.
Bansal’s family had set up a plywood manufacturing unit at Mundia in
Badaun district in 2003. The manufacturing unit being based in a small
town meant that the Bansals would have to get trucks from a 100-150
km circle to despatch their finished products. They would often end up
delivering their promised goods after the deadlines which results into
losses, due to not being able to deliver on time as well as loss of
goodwill. Buyers would walk away from a manufacturer who, more
often than not, would fail to deliver on time.
Unable to get reliable and timely transportation facilities, the Bansal
family went as far as buying a truck of their own in 2007. That too did
not seem to work out.
Bansal recalls, “A part of problem did get solved. We were able to
deliver on time but the idea was not commercially viable. We were not
able to find return loads for trucks, which resulted in huge costs when
we took into account the daily expenses of hiring a driver, the diesel for
the vehicle and the return freight. At times, the truck drivers would have
to wait at one place for 5 to 7 days at times- waiting to get loads for the
return journey. The whole setup, we soon realized, though enabled us to
deliver on time, had led to another set of headaches. Obviously, it was
not a very pleasant scenario.”
Ishu would see the harried family and wanted to create a solution. Not
only for his family but for all many others like them who, he was sure,
were suffering too. Almost four years back, Ishu was enjoying a cup of
tea with Amit Punaini, also a partner in the plywood business, when he
brought up the topic of transportation related woes.
Amit who also had a successful scrap and
metal business behind him knew that the man in front of him, almost ten
years his younger, was talking sense.
The idea was thus conceived during a casual chit chat but once the seed
had been sown, there was no looking back. Together, the two decided to
use technology to rid this highly unorganized sector of, at least, some of
its ills. That was way back in 2011. “We knew we wanted to do it.
Rather, we HAD to do it. We started refining our thought process,
closely looking at the industry, building up the database and collecting
feedback from various entities involved in transport business. The
research consisted of endless visits to Azadpur Mandi (Delhi), transport
houses, truck drivers, dhabas, truck unions and interacting with the
people who had been in this industry for a long time. After those long
conversations and hearing to the travails of others like us, we finally
knew we were following the right thing,” says Amit.
Ishu, only 21 at that time, was working with Infosys. The self propelled
entrepreneur pooled in all his savings and together with Amit, who was
his family’s business associate, set out to work upon the idea.
The two gleams with pride when they mention that the concept was
entirely self funded! The concept was under-the-works for a long three
years, during which they zeroed in on every possible aspect of it. The
portal was finally launched in September 2014.
Adds Ishu, “With this project, we are targeting the logistics industry in
which truckers are the people who are the worst sufferers. Since we were
aiming to provide ‘Suvidha’ (convenience) to trucks and truck drivers/
operators, we decided to call it Truck Suvidha.
Keen to know how the whole thing works, we asked Amit to elaborate
“See! There are different parties and aspects to the whole thing. Let us
first talk from the transporter’s point of view. Whoever wishes to
transport a load will need to register on the portal (which has been kept
simple and easy) and purchase a subscription. Once the load is available
from his home district, he will get an SMS about the same. Or else he
can view the status by visiting the website. Here, we give them two
options. They can post their own loads and find truck(s) for them. Or
take the other option. They can also post their trucks and find loads for
Now, from the truck drivers’ perspective, they can register under any
transporter and find loads for his truck. They can also get return loads
by posting truck on the website.”
But “That’s not all”, he Quips. Packers and movers can also post their
loads and find trucks for them. In fact, we are going to launch shifting
requirements board for packers and movers soon as well.”
“Lastly, we also make things easier for customers/industrialists. They
can post their loads and find trucks for them. They can directly contact
with truck posting owners. I mean those who posted trucks on the
website. Or, search for transporters in the directory.”
Truck Suvidha, which now operates from Yamunanagar (Haryana) with
21 full time employees excluding the co-owners and four part timers, is
not done with the teething troubles.
“It has not been easy convincing transporters and truck drivers, most of
who are not too well read that technology can be a driving factor for
their business. Worse still, even the educated ones in the transportation
sector do not realize the importance of staying in sync with the times.
Not many turn to, or think of turning to the internet for business.”
Convincing them, getting them to register with their portal has been
difficult, he adds. Difficult, but not impossible!
Truck Suvidha helps improve productivity by reducing the time it takes
to search for loads or trucks by using a state of the art filtered email
notification system and eliminating non-relevant services (links) and
animated ads which make most freight matching load board services
annoying for those turning to the internet.
Not wanting to leave any stone unturned and to get out of the red as soon
as they possibly can, the two co-founders are now focussed on
popularizing the concept and raising awareness about the need for it. For
that, they are making use of every possible channel. Digital marketing,
Telemarketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), SMO (Social Media
Optimization), in Person Marketing- everything, in short!
Amit, the more experienced one of the two, adds, “The revenues and
margins are good for the logistics industry. Truck Suvidha would be
earning through advertisements, packages etc. We know we might take a
year to break even, may be even two. But that doesn’t bother us!”
The initial response has been good, they say. Exceeding expectations in
fact! 16,403 registered transport contractors, 8,084 fleet owners, 5,340
commission agents and 1,729 transport brokers over a seven month
period is no mean achievement, after all! Those astoundingly huge
numbers speak volumes about the rapid strides Truck Suvidha has been
making into this unchartered territory.
The team is also working hard on positioning themselves as a brand.
They have a very active Facebook page with more than 11,000 likes and
a Twitter fan base of 4,000 users.
At present, they have clearly demarcated areas in which they are both, in
their own right, specialists. As Amit, the seasoned businessman, takes
care of the day to day operations, Ishu is the tech guy who looks after
the website. Both together work hard to ensure that a one time visitor to
TS not only converts into a loyal customer but also helps spread the
good word about them.
The journey so far, inspite of being a bumpy ride on a road covered, for
the most part, with potholes, has given the two young entrepreneurs
reasons enough to smile. The most memorable moments till date have
been a launch at IIT Kanpur.
“The portal which went beta in September 2014 went fully functional
during the IIT Kanpur launch. The TruckSuvidha was finally opened to
the public during the India International Trade Fair (IITF). Which
was a BIG moment for us,” says Ishu.
Amit wants to add, “Later, we also got the First runner up award for
presenting our idea and the Second runner up award at another
event where we highlighted the social aspect of our initiative- our
aim to streamline things for each of the parties involved with
transportation through trucks at Thadomal Shahani Centre for
Management (TSCFM), Mumbai.”
India, as we all know, is one of the largest consumer markets in the
world and driven primarily by domestic trade. Even in 2012, domestic
trade comprised more than half (58%, to be precise) share of the GDP.
Land transport accounts for a lion’s share of this movement of goods
within the country. It is surprising therefore that no one thought of
developing a platform like this earlier.
The men at the helm of Truck Suvidha state in unambiguous terms that
their vision entails helping all players who need to use trucks by
bringing them together come under one umbrella.
This time, we want to join them in saying, “Difficult, of course. But not