11 July, 2020

Ownership in Logistics: Newer Opportunities for India in a post-COVID World

Author: KG Prasad, Senior General Manager, Sales & Marketing, SCVs and pick-ups, Tata Motors

Over the past three months, our nation has been locked in a fierce battle with the COVID-19 pandemic – a crisis that has changed the way businesses run and people live. Several countries, including ours, have imposed nationwide lockdowns to circumvent the pandemic and the process has dealt a crushing blow to many professions and industries. In fact, several individuals, small business owners are amongst the worst hit in such testing times as they move back to their native places to avoid any further economic repercussions.

While the pandemic has brought a big chunk of people on their knees, it also sprouts buds of opportunity to get back up and redefine the way things worked. Certain sectors, like logistics, offer a slew of opportunities in the post-COVID India. One such opportunity that’s yet to be fully explored to its true potential is that of last-mile delivery. The dynamic nature of this role makes it a vital component of the supply chain across industries. Today, many businesses are working towards integrating seamless logistics solutions to ensure uninterrupted supply of products across the country, and the rise of this demand provide a much needed silver lining for several ingenious entrepreneurs.

Democratise logistics – a growing need

While there has been significant growth in integrated logistics in urban areas, many companies have failed to expand their footprint in India’s hinterland due to lack of last-mile connectivity for their products. A solution to beat the current challenges that exist within the logistics sector is to empower local players in semi urban and rural to take charge of regional logistics. This is a win-win solution that allows individuals to become self-reliant while enabling businesses to easily access newer markets in a more productive and economical manner. Further, the versatility of the logistics sector opens avenues for last-mile delivery of everything from LPG cylinders to vegetables to FMCG to other cargo, thus ensuring sustenance in demand for such a service.

Creating self-employment – need of the hour

I cite a few real-life examples of self-made, successful entrepreneurs to illustrate:

Ishwar bhai Raval, from Patan, Gujarat was a daily-wage earner who often struggled to make ends meet. His enterprising mind saw an inherent opportunity in the ever expanding last-mile distribution space. In 2006, he invested in a Tata Ace to start a vegetable delivery business. After a humble start, he expanded his business to start a decoration and catering business.

Similarly, when Laxmidar Das returned back to his hometown in Orissa, he explored the self- employment option due to paucity of regular employment. Starting with delivering consumer goods, he has grown to become a successful transporter.

Deepak Mahadik, originally from Raigarh, Maharashtra, was engaged in the good transportation business since a long time but using obsolete vehicles, he developed a major back problem. In 2017, he bought a Tata Ace Gold and since then his income has increased by 2.5 times. The Ace Gold’s comfortable cabin and pliant suspension has helped heal his back. He can now carry more payload, travel farther and do more trips in a day. Today, Ishwar bhai, Laxmidar and Deepak are financially settled and self-reliant.

Throughout India, there are innumerable such cases of people who have transformed their lives, just by delivering goods from point A to B. The common thread linking them all is their entrepreneurial thinking, hard work and trust on the Tata Ace.

To create more such success stories, Tata Motors, has been engaging with motor schools from time to time, in several semi-urban and rural areas to provide commercial vehicle driving training to enterprising individuals. Post training and licensed, they can establish themselves as value adding members of the rapidly expanding logistics sector. To kick-start their entrepreneurial journey, Tata Motors offers relevant guidance on opportunities in their vicinity, on type of vehicle to be used and also convenient, long-term financing options for affordable purchase for a new vehicle delivers higher profits with more fuel efficiency, better load bearing capacity and low maintenance costs.

It is often said, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. It is indeed possible to reboot professions and livelihoods while opening doors to self-employment and an opportunity to earn a sustained line of income.

Published: 11 July, 2020 | The Times of India

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