When a customer enters a store, he does not even care how the shelving, placement & arrangements have been done as long as they look tidy and appropriate. Mr. Pyush Lohia, MD, Lohia Warehouse enlightens us about the business of “Back- end operations”, on which the company is thriving.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): Tell us about Lohia Warehouse? What kind of services you offer?
Pyush Lohia (PL):Professional sourcing and customized services is what Lohia Warehouse mainly provides to various Retail Giants.We are not just into Warehousing, instead We provide back end support services like Assortment creation, Supply chain management, Bar-coding, Repackaging and specialized service like customization of products,Designing assistanceetc.We have a dedicated merchandizing team for various types of products lines thatfocuses on product development and assortment creation. Another service that Lohia Warehouse provides is importing of goods for our customers from various sourcing hubs of the world as per their requirement. Our customer portfolio includes big names of the retail world such as Bharti Walmart, Aditya Birla, Metro, and Carrefour etc.
AS: How vast is your sourcing network in the country as well internationally?
PL: We have a portfolio of around 15,000 productsin various categories, from Food & Beverages to House ware to Seasonal Goods. We source from smallest of manufacturers to the biggest ones in the market.We have sourcing offices in Chinafrom where we are sourcing from the best of the suppliers and manufacturersand managing the complete supply chain.We also have strategic tie ups with companies who wish to market their product in India, like for example the French company Plage which is into Wall décor products.Currently we have our warehouse in Badarpur, Delhi and in Yiwu, China. Going forward we are planning to have warehouses in Mumbai and Chennai as well.
AS: How much have you invested in setting up this firm?
PL: We have a planned investment of around 20 million USD in coming 3 years and we have invested around 2 million USD in setting up China operations. We currently have 3 fully operational offices in China.
AS: What are the major hurdles faced by SCM? How can one overcome them?
PL: Poor infrastructure and lack of adequate skilled manpower are a major hurdle as it increases pilferages and damages which cuts short the already thin margin. Lead time is less so we have to ensure that everything from procurement from manufacturers to repackaging, design changes etc have to be done within the stipulated time. Many precautions, such as strong and fool proof packing, adequate time provision for delivery etc have to be kept in mind for overcoming such issues.
AS: What is the role of Third-Party logistics in the country?
PL: We have expertise in creating assortment, merchandizing, procurement and customization part but when it comes to logistics; even we prefer outsourcing as it is more efficient and cost effective. 3PL is especially beneficial in a country like India where infrastructural services are not appropriate and there are huge distances that are to be covered.
AS: What are the new technological innovations being implemented in the logistic industry?
PL: In terms of technology, I believe RFID or Radio-frequency identificationis going to be the next big thing in modern retail. It uses radio waves to transfer data from electronic tag to RFID readers. Once an RFID tag or label has been attached to an object, it can be easily and quickly counted, tracked and monitored. It is very efficient compared to the manual system of countingand tracking of products and in SCM time is the key. Though it is very popular in the US and European countries, It is not much popular in India as it is expensive compared to other systems.
AS: How effective logistics can bring about changes in a retail business? How the business will gain?
PL: See, if the logistic structure in the country is handled in an efficient manner its win-win situation for retailers, vendors as well as customers. Giving the customer what he wants on time is the most important role of retailer. Effective logistics decrease pilferages, Damages and most of all helps the store in maintaining the requisite level of stock on their shelves.All this translates into growth of business, brand, and the retailer and last but not the least, the country.
AS: What role does merchandizing/sourcing plays in your business format?
PL: Merchandizing or sourcing is the core services that lohia Warehouse provides to Organized Retailers. We have category managers for various categories that carry out constant Research and development on upcoming and latest products/trends and provide major value additions and innovations. This saves time and cost tomodern retailers and inturn they get the most innovative and updated assortments.