A life-saver for Transporters, Truckers & Fleet-owners world-wide

I wrote a letter to one of India’s largest Truck Owner’s Association in the interest of protection of the country’s two most valuable resources – people and our vast mineral resources. Rampant driver murders and goods-in-transit robbery has off late, left Eastern India aghast, but there’s hope, as preventive measures are readily available, and associations such as above are readily adopting these frugal solutions. I’m sharing the letter here so that other Truck Owners, Transporters and Fleet owners world-wide may adopt these tools and save even more lives. Please help us spread the word, and protect the world’s valuable resources.

Hi Sir,

Best wishes to TRUCK Owners Association on Ganesh Chaturthi, 29th August, 2014, from GrayDrop Real-time Driver Tracking & Gray Routes team.

We’ve met Mr. xxxxxxxx, part of Truck Owners Association, and explained a novel-yet-affordable Real-time driver and vehicle tracking Android mobile app system,GrayDrop and he’s expressed his kind approval for the same.

The system fits any transporter’s budget starting at less than Rs. 267 per vehicle per month with advanced solutions for all your dreaded problems such as:

  • driver murders If driver gets lost, you get instant alert on smartphone. Get driver alerts if they’re driving after drinking !
  • cleaner missingalert on smartphone when driver or cleaner misuses vehicle or takes unplanned breaks
  • trucks being stolen with consignments Real time truck track reports on Google Maps in 3D view on route followed
  • and Owner’s not having any trace of where was the truck located last Replay entire track history with timestamps
  • or where had the truck been to in the last few hours before being hijackedGet alerts with reason code, when the truck deviates from planned route, along with odd & rough road movements
  • SMS information falling in wrong hands 3-level Secure face based login that prevents unauthorised users from spying and checking on truck route movements

We’ve seen the RFID planning system you’ve had in place, and admit that while SMSs provide departure/arrival information, the entire route info is missing. Owners are suffering as they don’t know their own vehicle and driver whereabouts, and arealways tense until they get the arrival at destination SMS. Above all, the SMS medium is very insecure as anyone can send/forward/receive SMSs, even your robber gangs can.

Today’s article in New Indian Express newspaper clearly states that the gangs are using surveillance mechanisms to track vehicle movements. If these robbers can implement systems to track vehicle route movements, I believe your transport association can surely use intelligent mobile solutions that can alert you of such incidents right on your mobile phone before or right when it happens.

Best of all, even if your robbers or drivers remove your driver’s SIM cards, using GrayDrop, you will be able to track the driver’s whereabouts long after the incident has happened. This is again different from mobile SIM & tower-based tracking systems some other transporters use, or other more expensive, high-maintenance and cost-prohibitive GPS tracker unit based systems used in other countries that can be easily removed or damaged, and are not reusable.

What will happen when you deploy expensive Rs. 45 lakhs multi-axle vehicles without any Driver Safety cum GPS tracking system in place? The robber gang will step up their operations in no time, and that too, before you can react, if you don’t act now !

I urge you to drive your trucks towards safety immediately, as such rampant loss of man and valuable resources is not doing this blessed state its due justice.

Hope, Lord Ganesha blesses your association and this new year sees less of such events:

About Gray Routes:

Founded by ex-HUL IIT KGP-IIM Ahmedabad graduate Soubhagya Sahoo & Sapna Patel, ex-Googler Sales, we serve over 80+ brands worldwide and several Fortune 500 firms such as Proctor & Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline and Nivea, as well as transporters such as Pace Projects & Logistics worldwide, & Pace Xpress.

With offices in Mumbai, Delhi & Odisha, our mission is to drive truckers and last-mile delivery staff towards safety, and ensuring every delivery worker is empowered using technology to do their job quicker, better & safer.

Help us spread the word by liking this article and sharing with your network so that endangered delivery workers and drivers live to drive another day, and the country’s valuable mineral resources do not end up in black marketeer’s coffers !

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Is it ok for e-Tailers to target SMEs in India using VC money?

With revisions and edits !

Enabling Simpler Distribution & Empowering Brands with Gray Routes

A recent article from the Financial Express suggests that e-Tailers are turning to India’s 47 million SMEs. Read more about this interesting article here: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/for-etailers-like-amazon-flipkart-and-snapdeal-small-enterprises-are-a-big-opportunity/1285062

What is more interesting is the question as to WHO really is asking e-Tailers to target SMEs with their technology products?
VCs are !

Why? Because India is a distribution country. In India, 47 million SMEs distribute their wares every day the rough n tough way – using trucks, vans, mopeds, cycles and feet-on-street. If it moves, it sells. Mumbai-based Elephant Paste Products is one such SME that sells Vermicelli products and a host of other affordable food products through a small network of retail shops in Mumbai. None of its consumers or end-users are likely to be going online in the near decade. Pan-India courier logistics firm Pace Projects and Logistics is another such SME that delivers packages of all sizes with promptness, efficiency and customized services to their customers…

View original post 1,011 more words

Is it ok for e-Tailers to target SMEs in India using VC money?

A recent article from the Financial Express suggests that e-Tailers are turning to India’s 47 million SMEs. Read more about this interesting article here: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/for-etailers-like-amazon-flipkart-and-snapdeal-small-enterprises-are-a-big-opportunity/1285062

What is more interesting is the question as to WHO really is asking e-Tailers to target SMEs with their technology products?
VCs are !

Why? Because India is a distribution country. In India, 47 million SMEs distribute their wares every day the rough n tough way – using trucks, vans, mopeds, cycles and feet-on-street. If it moves, it sells. Mumbai-based Elephant Paste Products is one such SME that sells Vermicelli products and a host of other affordable food products through a small network of retail shops in Mumbai. None of its consumers or end-users are likely to be going online in the near decade. Pan-India courier logistics firm Pace Projects and Logistics is another such SME that delivers packages of all sizes with promptness, efficiency and customized services to their customers across several states in India. Mumbai-based SME DM Stores is another corner Kirana store that was until March this year, struggling to make ends meet with its 100 sq-ft leased-out shop inside Mumbai’s biggest dairy colony, Aarey Colony. These SMEs can never comprehend or afford the outrageously expensive SAP / Infosys / Snapdeal / Amazon / eBay built platforms and solutions as these have been designed keeping in mind net-a-holic denizens of India.

What does e-Commerce have to do in all of this?

One wonders, the real answer is NOTHING ! After all, e-Commerce was always supposed to be clean, dreamy, hassle-free shopping from your living room or the bed room, minus the rough n tough ways of India.

Nothing that e-Commerce portends to be one day, has to do with the above. Meant originally as a pureplay B2C endeavour, and struggling to find a working business model, e-Commerce in India is in a sorry state of affairs.

Should e-Commerce target SMEs?
Short-lived e-Commerce aspirations

All the VCs know that. As an entrepreneur, I talk with investors daily, who have various inspiring and not-so-inspiring stories to share. E-Commerce is definitely fitting into the latter kind, only because of a gory bubble at its core.

Why wouldn’t Flipkart or its peers do an IPO any time this year or the next? Reason is the lack of a business model, especially with Executive salaries touching multi-Crores and zero profits, it is a matter of time, before aam junta realizes that most of it was really a huge marketing gimmick aimed at building personal fortunes.

“Shop till you Drop” should actually be rephrased as “Shop till we Drop”.

India’s hard-working and often struggling 47 mn SMEs deserve better than quickly hushed-up software or portals where their goods are advertised (with SMEs’ hard earned profits) with the promise of achieving 100% YoY growth.

Is that really possible? India’s 15-20 million engaged online shoppers have really very little to do with what 46.9 mn of these SMEs are selling in India. The barring 0.1 mn SMEs are really the ones who’ve set up shop exclusively to sell online. Thats the real reason why Snapdeal or Flipkart shudder at the thought of anything over 100,000 dealers online on their network.

So, why brag about the Sellers network or the 47mn SMEs figure? So that more funds might latch onto these numbers. Because, rich people know Excel (If x=100,000 valuation=Billion Dollars, if X=47,000,000, VALUATION=Trillion Dollars). Because, it is easy to fool consumers into believing that all is rosy and pink inside Flipkart or Snapdeal’s board rooms, so that they may continue to shop online and expect good Returns handling or good Installation servicing for a lifetime. Little do consumers understand, that once the money runs dry, the phone will stop ringing in Bangalore or Gurgaon call centers and the fake electronics and cheap clothes are soon going to fade away.

“Make hay while the sun shines” seems to be the marketing mantra for our homegrown e-tailers.

So, who then, are the ones who are really positioned to target these 47 mn SMEs?

It is going to be the few innovative firms who don’t like to push quickly put up good-looking-outside-empty-inside software packages down their client’s throats. These firms are pulling all-nighters and working smartly with end-users since their inception to carve out a novel app or a novel report or generate meaningful data that can really save these SMEs operational costs, or uncover hidden insights from their sales or POS data, or help them identify their consumers from hoards of India’s real consumers, rather than fake, face-less online entities that e-Tailers claim to be as loyal shoppers.

e-Tailers are going to struggle to raise their seller numbers beyond 100,000 by devious marketing tactics since India’s SMEs know better – after all, they’ve consumed India’s salt with pride, and understand that real products solve real problems.

As for our SMEs Elephant Paste Products or Pace Projects & Logistics, there is hope. They are happy utilizing GrayFOS Feet-on-Street Tracking & Sales Force Automation as well as GrayDrop Delivery Force Automation solution to derive maximum benefits from a Uber-for-Enterprise like Manager app and unearth new business opportunities in India’s supremely vast distribution network. DM Stores, a fledgling in this huge retail network, is also realizing profits for the first time in over 2 years with the adoption of India’s first mobile Retail ERP-POS-CRM-in-one app, GoStocky.

And what should VCs do? Consider not squandering valuable HNI and FDI funds in pseudo-business models that barely address 0.2% of India’s GDP, rather look at Gray Routes Innovative Distribution and other such firms that are solving real problems which 100% of India is facing every single day.

P.S. In case you are a VC and are wondering why this last figure isn’t 99.8%, the answer is: Gray Routes’ patent-pending solutions and service plans are context-aware of and quite capable of serving the tiny-yet-growing e-Commerce sector as well ! 🙂

In case you still need the numbers to prove that traditional is a safer investment bet, consider this projection where you invest equal amounts in say, both Flipkart and Gray Routes, and BAAMMM !! 39-years later, e-Commerce finally rules ! 🙂

e-Commerce projected to grow at 30% versus Traditional growing at 10%. In this timeframe, our grandsons would likely be getting into the Venture Capital business long after we’ve retired without seeing a successful EXIT in e-Commerce:

Growth vs Years e-Commerce Traditional
30% 10%
1 0.2 99.8
2 0.3 109.8
3 0.3 120.8
4 0.4 132.8
5 0.6 146.1
6 0.7 160.7
7 1.0 176.8
8 1.3 194.5
9 1.6 213.9
10 2.1 235.3
11 2.8 258.9
12 3.6 284.7
13 4.7 313.2
14 6.1 344.5
15 7.9 379.0
16 10.2 416.9
17 13.3 458.6
18 17.3 504.4
19 22.5 554.9
20 29.2 610.4
21 38.0 671.4
22 49.4 738.5
23 64.2 812.4
24 83.5 893.6
25 108.6 983.0
26 141.1 1081.3
27 183.5 1189.4
28 238.5 1308.4
29 310.1 1439.2
30 403.1 1583.1
31 524.0 1741.5
32 681.2 1915.6
33 885.6 2107.2
34 1151.2 2317.9
35 1496.6 2549.7
36 1945.6 2804.6
37 2529.2 3085.1
38 3288.0 3393.6
39 4274.4 3733.0
Yay ! Finally e-Commerce rules !