TruckSuvidha, one of the first movers in online truck aggregation space in the country, is all set to expand its portfolio and include new offerings. Isshu Bansal, Founder of TruckSuvidha, shares the details with Ritwik Sinha…
Briefly take me through to TruckSuvidha journey so far. It has been widely believed that there is no synergy between truck operators and technology. In that context, how did you manage to bridge this gap?
The journey these couple of years has been mind-boggling as the change in the recent years has picked up pace like never before. Who though that an industry crippled in terms of technology will welcome us with an embracing gesture. This does not mean we didn’t have our share of problems. See bringing about the change is the toughest part when people like us try to challenge the ideologies of the past to introduce technology for the betterment of the future.
Bridging this gap was yet again a different story. When TruckSuvidha was started we surveyed the entire transportation markets introducing the concept to major Truck owners in various parts of India. Initially we faced a lot of criticism with people asking questions such as how will you teach an illiterate Truck Driver to use a smartphone or can you comprehend as to what a driver goes through during the entire journey of 1000 miles. The questions were right and we realized apart from targeting the core market we need to understand the person who is the backbone of this industry.
Then began our journey listing out the gaps in the current industry, understanding the vehicle & the person behind the wheel, problems faced during the journey, role of truck owners and big conglomerates etc. The more we delved deeper the more we realized the need to cater to the plight of the Truck driver apart from bringing this industry online. A lot of man hours went into guiding and training the people of this industry, telling them the benefits of ease of doing a business online, introducing and re-introducing the concept, teaching the truck drivers basic hygiene and to fight for their rights. Finally in September 2015 TruckSuvidha was born with a vision to cater to the core problems of this industry.
How would you explain your present scale in terms of fleet size? What have been the registration trends with your platform in the recent past especially when demonetization was initiated?
TruckSuvidha has an associated fleet of approximately 1.5 lakh+ trucks directly/indirectly as this is the number of people who have been associated with TruckSuvidha one way or the other. Our services not only include catering to people who have registered on the platform but anyone who contacts us is welcomed with a helping hand.
The registration trends have grown steadily over the past years though initially itself we started with a good number 24,000. For a platform to have such a big number during the launch day is in itself a big thing. The people on our platform are growing steadily and demonetization saw a surge in traffic on our website. Though no direct transactions are involved on our website for this industry but calls and registrations certainly went up during that phase.
How would you explain your growth plans in the near run? Are you planning to initiate any new vertical or value added service to your base platform?
TruckSuvidha was started with a vision which was to bring about a change in the current trends of our transportation industry. See there are two aspects to our vision one was our way to bring about a change with the services we had on our mind and the other was we introduced new services on popular demand of the people. We started with a portal to shift the booking trends from manual to automate with transporters, customers and service providers on board. Soon we were introducing packers and movers on popular demand of the public as day to day bookings involving an average Indian asked for the services of packers and movers. We moved from Yamuna Nagar, Delhi NCR to South India covering maximum possible geographic locations as the idea of booking a truck online was a hit. People started recognizing the brand TruckSuvidha and we became synonymous with good business.
Now after three years on popular demand we are introducing two value added services:
- GPS Suvidha: A real time tracking option wherein Trucks are fitted with a GPS device. A person whose goods are being transported from one place to another can track the location of the Truck and plan his business proceedings accordingly without wasting any time. This would also keep a check and during times of emergency the concerned authorities can be alerted.
- Online Toll Collection system (in association with SBI): Tolls pose a serious problem in the current situation with long queues taking up most of the time of the journey. Also, the driver has to carry money specific to tolls through the entire journey taking care of the same. With online toll collection all these problems would be catered to and a lot of resources would be saved.
Any plans to raise funds for your further expansion?
Yes we are open to the idea of funding if we meet like-minded people who share the same vision. The idea is to take TruckSuvidha on global platform with the industry being uplifted and the end user being benefitted from the same. To reach the pinnacles of success we plan to bring like-minded people on board.
GST would entail transporters coming into the online registration ambit by way of e-way bills. Do you think it will be major problem for them?
If you would have asked me this question three years ago, I would have said this would have been a problem to some extent but with TruckSuvidha introducing technology to an industry which was crippled earlier, now this won’t be much of a problem.
GST would entail all the bills to be in one place so submitting and verifying the same would become smooth across borders as the transportation laws vary from state to state. A Truck Driver who isn’t well read can point the authorities to check for the documents online (related to that particular journey). This would make the entire process smooth. TruckSuvidha has changed the trend and users are now more accepting towards change and technology. We have laid the initial grounds to digitize the current trends, now we need the support of authorities to take it one step further. Our work towards the betterment of trucking industry is in collaboration with the government which has positively impacted. We support the government in its ventured and digitalization trends which is a move towards a better future.