Emerging Entrepreneurs

From trucks to routes, & people to parcels... keeping track of the entire supply chain

N Ramakrishnan | Updated on October 03, 2018

Nishith Rastogi, CEO, Locus   -  N. Ramakrishnan

Locus’ roluting engine is a complete logistics solution

Nishith Rastogi is a self-confessed technology person. He says he loves to build high-technology businesses. His first venture, after he quit Amazon, was PinChat, a location-based comment and conversation platform, which he started in 2014.

Being the tech person that he is, Nishith then built RideSafe, a real-time route deviation detection application for women’s safety. To his surprise, he found that food delivery companies were using the app to track their delivery fleets. That is when Nishith realised the massive business opportunity in building something for supply chain, one that will unify logistics with automation, integrating it with the enterprise resource planning system of companies.

Thus was born Locus, to automate and optimise logistics operations with technology to help companies achieve efficiency in their supply chain operations. Locus’ routing engine helps plan and optimise both on-demand and scheduled deliveries by better use of vehicles based on geography.

 

 

 

Top clients

Its clients include companies such as Urban Ladder, Licious, Lenskart, Droplet and the Tata group. Its products cater to the e-commerce, retail, FMCG, home services and third party logistics sectors. Its products take care of algorithmic route planning, real-time fleet tracking with insights and analytics, automated shipment sorting and rider allocation, and SizeUp, a hand-held device to accurately measure parcels.

Before Locus introduced its products, which came after nearly 18 months of research and field trials, all the work was done manually by the person responsible for logistics. This was time consuming and resulted in huge delays and inefficiencies, says Nishith. “Can we move from siloed decision making to collaborative decision making, factoring in the entire supply chain network. That is what Locus does,” says Nishith.

You enter Locus’ office on a main street in a Bengaluru neighbourhood and notice a few young employees playing table tennis. There is a snooker table nearby. You are seated in a meeting room and notice a huge Rottweiler, which Nishith says is one-and-a-half years old and is friendly, bounding around. Then there is an employee carrying a Beagle pup. Nishith says he has co-adopted the Rottweiler.

He refers to the changes in the supply chain operations for companies over the last few years. Not only have the number of products increased, there are many more variants of each product. The stock keeping units have increased. And, for a product as simple as a bar of soap, to be transported from its factory in, say, rural Himachal Pradesh to a retail store in Bengaluru, more than 20 persons are involved in the decision making. Companies are keen to expand their reach and they achieved this by decentralised supply chain, which only increased the complexity of the operation. All this is sorted out by Locus’ products, says Nishith.

Income through licence fee

It has sold its product to over 50 customers, three-fourths of which are in India and the balance in South East Asia and North America. This mix will change over the years as global operations contribute more to the company’s sales and turnover. Locus sells the technology to its customers, integrating it with their existing systems. “We train their staff, we take care of the entire change management and after that it goes into an automated work field,” he says. Locus gets its income through a recurring licence fee.

He says the product from the first day was designed to be international. As it enters more countries, the company only needs to make minor modifications, for language translation strings and local currencies, for which the infrastructure is already in place. It is offering SizeUp right now only to its existing customers. The demand for this has exceeded manufacturing capacity, says Nishith,

For Nishith, the biggest challenge is maintaining the innovative culture of the team as it grows from 75 members now to 150 and then to 250 over the next two years. Most of its staff are highly qualified in various domains such as computers, operations research, chemistry and biology.

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Published on October 01, 2018
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