[Exclusive Interview] This Startup Is Solving Last-Mile Delivery Problem With Tech | Delivers 650 Million Orders!
Recently, we interacted with Mr. Nishith Rastogi, Founder and CEO, Locus, and asked him about the mission and vision of his startup, and how they are empower supply chain with tech and ideas.
Highlights of the interview:
- Give us a brief about Locus? What was the reason behind this venture?
We are a leading-edge technology company solving one of the most challenging global supply chain problems: enabling excellence in last-mile logistics. Locus’ order-to-delivery dispatch management platform converts last-mile logistics fulfillment into a growth center through advanced optimization algorithms and intuitive workflow automation. We push the boundaries of defining excellence in an enterprise’s last-mile logistics activities by enabling efficiencies at scale, empowering workforces to do more, providing end-to-end visibility, uncovering deep inefficiencies, improving and automating decision-making, and fostering sustainable growth.
We established Locus in 2015 to solve deep-rooted problems in last-mile logistics and bring scalable efficiencies to operations. As per a report, last-mile logistics costs form 53% of total shipping costs. Consumer expectations around delivery times have also grown significantly. Almost half of the consumers tend to switch brands if delivery times are too long or delivery experiences are poor. Drivers relying on their intuition risk driving greater empty miles, potentially increasing fuel consumption, delaying orders, increasing costs, and losing consumers. Moreover, poorly written and located addresses often confuse drivers on the ground and compound the problem.
Our dispatch management platform helps in enabling last-mile excellence by solving for these problems through route optimization, live tracking, and efficient resource utilization across multiple fulfillment channels and models. The platform can help make every delivery more efficient than the last, which results in fewer miles traveled, and more deliveries being done in a day. As a result, the platform also equips workforces for excellence and enables companies to scale with lower emissions, and bring sustainable growth.
- How is the company addressing global last-mile delivery challenges?
In today’s competitive landscape, quick and on-time deliveries are necessary to ensure customer satisfaction, retention, and growth. But while many companies might see Last-Mile logistics as simply a means to an end, they might not realize that optimizing these efforts can contribute to the bottom line. From order capture to post-fulfillment, brands that strategically tap the right technology and processes at all stages can serve their customers better and keep them coming back for more.
To that end, more than 200 enterprises across 30+ countries globally are using Locus’ real-world-ready dispatch management platform, which has powered more than 650 million last-mile deliveries and counting. Our platform enables them to seamlessly manage and optimize all stages of last-mile fulfillment. It utilizes advanced algorithms and intuitive workflow automation to learn from previous outcomes to make each delivery more better than the last. Insights gathered from analyzing vast pools of data by powerful analytics engines also increase visibility and uncover hidden efficiencies. The platform’s solutions can be easily integrated with existing ERP, OMS, and TMS solutions as it is an API-ready solution that streamlines last-mile logistics operations, maximize operational efficiency and improve end-user experiences. This helps strengthen brand reputation, sustain customer loyalty, and transform Last-Mile operations from a cost center into a revenue driver for businesses.
- Could you tell us about the Locus order-to-delivery dispatch management platform?
We have designed our order-to-delivery dispatch management platform to redefine excellence in last-mile fulfillment and reduce hundreds of planning hours to mere minutes. Businesses can leverage it to seamlessly manage all stages of fulfillment – from order capture to planning, scheduling, routing, visibility, payments processing, and more through our single integrated platform.
Our platform has five key modules: Order Management, Dispatch Planning, Hybrid Fleet Management, Track and Trace, and the ever-important Insights and Analytics. From capturing an order to its final delivery, the status of every delivery can be optimized and tracked in real-time through our Order Management capabilities, which can even factor in returns. The Route Planning module takes into account 180+ real-world constraints such as the size of the vehicle, fuel consumption, service level agreements, and road restrictions to find optimal routes that maximize the number of on-time deliveries while minimizing fuel consumption.
Our very real-world interface, based on our extensive experience with our 200+ implementations, is highly personalized and configurable to meet the diverse use cases and requirements of different industries and geographies. We also have one of the most advanced analytics platforms, which uncover deep inefficiencies and bring to light new growth opportunities through intuitive dashboards. Control Tower solutions allow complete visibility over all fleet drivers on a turn-by-turn basis. All hygiene features on alerts and notifications can also be automated to pre-empt delays at any stage of the fulfillment process.
- Numbers of companies are providing Last Mile Deliveries. How are you different from others?
Advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning systems architected by our data scientists sit at the core of the entire Locus product suite. As Locus powers increasingly complex supply chains, dispatchers rely on Locus’s AI to compute trillions of combinations to quickly seek out the most ideal sequence by which every order can be fulfilled with the least resources spent. Our machine learning algorithm continually observes these decisions made by the AI. It evaluates how they play out in the real world, improving each on-ground execution, and resulting in continuously improving performance.
From the ground up, Locus was built with provisions to grow rapidly. Our entire product suite can be accessed through APIs without requiring manual intervention. This interoperability has proved indispensable to large enterprises, making integrations with their existing CRM, ERP, WMS, OMS and other systems a quick and painless task. The lion’s share of our rapidly growing product suite has been developed during close collaborations with global enterprises on complex problems. Our Order Management module resulted from a similar collaborative endeavor where Locus helped large FMCG/CPG conglomerates automate and synchronize distribution across captive, contracted, and third party fleets all within a single platform.
- What is your target audience?
Our platform is suitable for any businesses looking to scale up the efficiency and/or capacity of their last-mile operations. We currently cater to industries like E-commerce, E-grocery, Retail, Industrial Services, Manufacturing, 3PL and CEP, and Home Services.
- What are the various challenges for the logistics Industry this festive season?
The festive season promises strong growth for businesses, but only if they meet the steep expectations of consumers around quick delivery times and a delightful post-purchase experience.
Given that businesses usually perform vital functions such as order capture, allocation, and route planning manually, they are unable to make more efficient deliveries and stick to delivery timelines as they grow in scale—which is highly important in an increasingly competitive e-commerce environment.
Return logistics also become an additional requirement, and fulfillment personnel do not have real-time visibility of their drivers on the ground. This makes it difficult to intervene in the case of route deviations or vehicle breakdowns. All of these add to delays, increased costs, and a loss of trust that could dampen the growth expected during the festive season.
7) What are your expansion plans?
Locus has completed the initial scaling stage of a start-up journey. We have proved that our solutions can bring value to clients and have successfully established a global footprint with the support of our team of functional experts. Locus’ journey from here is to scale up to a “centaur” (100 million in recurring revenue). To achieve this, we will continue to fortify our product suite to deliver growth for our clients. The launch of Locus’ dispatch management platform this year is a step towards further unlocking growth for our clients, helping them convert the last mile operations from a cost center to a revenue generator.
We will also reinforce our client base in India while adding value from our strong global footprint across 30+ countries. Meanwhile, as we embark on this scaling stage, we will maintain healthy margins and closely manage our business efficiency.