“ Pharma and automotive are key focus areas”

In the sphere of freight forwarding, Robinsons Cargo & Logistics, with over six decades of history has been a formidable name. Recently, an independent entity has been spun off from the company which will focus on 3PL business across several sectors. Aditya Vazirani, Director of Robinsons Global Logistics Solutions speaks with Ritwik Sinha presenting the rationale behind the creation of the new entity…     

 

You have been there for a long time. What was the rationale behind creating a separate entity?

Most people associate Robinsons Cargo & Logistics with freight forwarding, and rightly so (to a certain extent). Over the last 65 years, we have built a well-reputed and trust-worthy company whose focus has been on ensuring customer satisfaction. In order to  provide a turn-key solution to clients, we began operating as a 3PL twenty years ago with Nokia as our first customer and a customer till-date. Over the years, we have grown this vertical of our business to include many different domains of expertise – pharmaceuticals, automotive, consumer goods, food products,   electronics, etc. To give this area its due attention, I have decided to focus my time solely to the warehousing business. My sister and I have identified our roles and obligations to our family and the legacy of Robinsons. My sister, Rhea runs the Freight  forwarding company Robinsons Cargo & Logistics and I the warehousing business RGL. Both of us continue to brainstorm together over lunch to ensure the highest level of service to our clients. We are continuously guided and mentored by our father, Anil Vazirani, who has been in the industry for over 40 years.

 How would you explain your present portfolio in terms of services offered and market positioning?

RGL has always followed an integrated approach to its businesses – planning, controlling, and providing value-driven services. While we currently operate out of 40 warehouses in 18 states, have 500,000 sq.ft (rapidly scaling to 700,000sq.ft) under our management, our core expertise lies in extremely customised solutions for our customers.  With our in-house Warehouse Management System development team, two decades of experience coupled with new technology-driven thinking, we are able to provide a holistic solution rather than pure inventory management and control. RGL even though a separate entity is based on the core value
that stems from the Robinsons family: Its always about the customer. Our approach and offerings are unique to each client.

We have positioned ourselves as a boutique 3PL. We manage products ranging from the pharmaceutical industry to automotive. Our focus is on more intricate and detail-oriented customers for whom we can solve problems. For example, we provided kitting and assembly as a service for one of our automotive clients. We get excited to use innovative ideas and out of the box thinking and I believe that’s what sets us apart!
The perception about RGL is that it is mostly west India centric. How would you respond to it?

Being headquartered in Mumbai, of-course makes us more present in the west. However, our spread across the country is :  West: 45%, North: 25%, South: 20%, and East: 10%. That being said, we are growing heavily in the South with a few already acquired customers.

Have you noticed the basic dynamics of the game-changing post GST? Like preference for big warehouses and adoption of technology and automation.
GST has, of course, impacted our industry. It has eased up transportation across states and provided several benefits to our clients and ourselves.
There are some clients that are moving towards our large-format warehouses located across the country. But we also continue to serve customers in remote locations such as Tappukhara, Rajasthan for which a smaller dedicated warehouse is needed. It all depends on the client. In
terms of technology and automation, I’d say the warehousing industry is no different from any other. Automation is key! If a 3PL operator is using Excel today to manage their warehouse, consider them dinosaurs as customers’ needs have changed — they want information at their fingertips.

In operational terms, which are your stronghold verticals? Are you also aligned with the fast-growing e-commerce business?

We have several stronghold verticals having adopted over the years. With a vision of catering to a wide spectrum of domains, we see this constantly evolving.

Given that Nokia was our first client, electronics such as cell phones has always been our strong suit for over two decades. With the automotive industry growing exponentially in India, our automotive vertical has really taken-off. We have adapted to provide specialized services for this
industry including kitting, assembling and single line feeding with re-ordering processes. Remember the 65 years of freight-forwarding experience that we have. Well, our forte in that has always been handling temperature-controlled items such as pharmaceuticals on-board. It only
makes sense that we’re experts at that on-shore as well. We have managed inventory for grease, chemicals, medicines, chocolates and even ice-creams.

There is no doubt that the e-commerce and retail industry in India is getting a huge push.  While we have a few e-commerce sellers in our portfolio, but operating for the large e-commerce marketplaces isn’t our focus.

How would you explain your near to medium run outlook? What are those critical milestones you intend to achieve particularly in the next two years?

There are several critical milestones that we intend to achieve in the near run. We would like to become the leading specialized 3PL for the automotive and pharmaceutical industries. We would also like to enter into a few remote regions, possibly through the acquisition of smaller players.

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