Safexpress began its journey in 1997 with a mission of becoming the leader in supply chain and logistics in India, by delivering to its customers and ensuring their success. Today, the company has firmly entrenched itself as a ‘Knowledge Leader’ and a ‘Market Leader’ of supply chain and logistics industry in the country.
Offering a wide range of innovative supply chain services including Express Distribution, 3PL and Consulting, the company focuses primarily on B2B logistics, catering to the supply chain needs of over 5,000 corporate clients across various verticals. Safexpress B2C, the newly formed subsidiary that focuses on eCommerce and TV shopping networks, provides end-to-end services right to the doorstep of the consumer.
Safexpress provides value added logistics services for 8 different business verticals ranging from Apparel & Lifestyle, Healthcare, Hi-Tech, Publishing to Automotive, Engineering & Electrical Hardware, FMCG & Consumer Electronics and Institutional, emphasises Rubal Jain, Managing Director, Safexpress Pvt. Ltd. “Due to the unique nature of each vertical and its specific logistics needs, we specialise in providing focused support and customised solutions that serve their supply chains objectives in the most beneficial way,” added Jain, implying on providing cutting edge logistics solutions to its customers, enabling them to focus on their core competencies.
Pan-India network and warehousing operations
“Our network is spread across more than 610 cities, with 48 hubs & megahubs. Following a unique hybrid model of hub-and-spoke and long-haul routes, Safexpress network covers every square inch of India. Our warehousing operations are carried out in our 25 ultra-modern Logistics Parks built at strategic locations across the country, and operated by a highly dedicated and skilled workforce,” he points out.
With these large columnless and cross-dock warehouses with cantilever sheds and industrial lighting, the company claims to provide an efficient flow of goods and 24x7 all-weather operations. “They also ensure fastest processing and connectivity and 365-day non-stop operations,” explained Jain.
Easing the last mile delivery in Tier II and III cities
Information Technology (IT) and its use in organisations and across the supply chain has become a determinant of competitive advantage for many corporations. “Apart from having tie-ups with various SCM technology providers, which bring efficiency to our business, we have our own IT department to provide us with the latest software and technologies,” informed Jain.
Safexpress’ fleet is equipped with GPS, and the delivery boys have tablets to execute delivery orders and manage order priorities. GPS-enabled tablets record important information in real-time about each consignment, and ensure 100 per cent visibility across the system. “This means we can at any given point, track the progress of any consignment and instantly know when it has been delivered, as signatures are taken on the tablets itself and are uploaded on our systems on a real-time basis. We have the capability to capture customer IDs, reducing the risk of wrong deliveries,” ensured Jain.
Moreover, any logistics business is incomplete without proper and efficient warehouses. After establishing Logistics Parks in the metros, the company has set up many Logistics Parks and hubs in Tier 2 and 3 cities. “Boasting of the highest standards in warehouse design and development, these are strategically located on major national highways, along the outer perimeter of the cities and towns, and feature extremely efficient facilities with continuous docks, 80 feet roads, columnless structures, optimum dock height for efficient loading and unloading, maximum use of natural light, clearly marked bays and specialised material handling equipment,” he points out.
This year itself, the firm has launched Logistics Parks in Dhule, Faridabad, Udaipur, Jammu, Raipur and Lucknow, with construction underway at Guwahati, Aurangabad, and Siliguri. “We have invested in making our warehouses extremely efficient by providing real time data on screens, installing barcode scanning capabilities and computerised weighing systems (for both trucks and packages),” he said.
Gray areas in legality of eCommerce transactions
“We didn’t enter eCommerce logistics on Day 1, as we wanted to get into the business with enough legal clarity and understanding. Further, we had an already established brand, so whatever we did, we wanted to make sure we did it right,” Jain pointed out.
As the state governments accepted eCommerce shipping and established newer laws with respect to the transactions, the firm started Safexpress B2C (a wholly owned subsidiary of Safexpress) with a different model. “While everyone else was delivering goods by foot (with a big bag on the back) or by motorcycles, we went ahead and ordered 1,000 Maruti Eecos to cater to our last mile delivery needs. We are the only company in India with a fully dedicated 4-wheeler eCommerce delivery fleet, where at no point from booking to delivery does the consignment ever leave our hands,” said Jain.
How have the needs of Retailers changed for SCM as they prepare for omni-channel capabilities?
The retail world is expanding and stores are getting smaller due to space crunches and booming rental costs. Lesser space requires one to optimally utilise whatever space is available, which means there is hardly any left for stocking any items. Further, number of variants/SKUs has increased dramatically, which means a retailer is only able to stock very few units of each type. Thus, stocking larger quantities of a product is no longer a viable option.
So, to tackle this issue and to reduce lost sales, retailers require frequent order fulfilment. Smaller order sizes need to be delivered more frequently to each store, so the stores don’t stock out. As a further step, many retailers have embraced omni-channel retailing, collecting orders in their stores for direct delivery to the customers’ homes, mainly for products that are out of stock, again a means to reduce lost sales. This is where we come in. In both such cases, we have established the network to deliver smaller consignments to retail stores, as well as through Safexpress B2C we have created the ability to deliver from a central warehouse directly to the doorstep of the consumer.
There is a different expertise and capability required to manage and deliver small volumes and order sizes to the remotest corner of the country, which is why we have created focused and separate supply chains for both B2B and B2C, and are able to serve our retail customers with the same efficiency across both lines of business.
“We have a total warehousing space of over 9 million square feet”
Rubal Jain, Managing Director, Safeexpress elucidates on the various value added supply chain services it offers to eight different business verticals and how it provides a focused support to meet their core competencies.
Few eCommerce companies have their own logistics in place. How good this model can be in the future? Your take on it?
The eCommerce logistics space is very dynamic, and as the market expands it will evolve further. Going forward, the eCommerce companies may not be able to manage the logistics of the massive amount of daily orders, given that their core competency is e-retail. To achieve customer satisfaction, one must possess an extensive distribution network, so that they can deliver the product even in the remotest location of India, safely and in a time-definite manner.
What makes Safexpress different from its peer group?
Safexpress’ critical differentiating factor is that it provides value-added and highly customised 3PL services to its clients. The firm’s strategy for growth revolves around providing maximum value to its customers at every level, right from providing state-of-the-art warehousing support to managing entire supply chain of its clients.
What are your future expansion plans in terms of services and outreach?
Being hailed as the Knowledge Leader in the field of supply chain and logistics, we constantly innovate to provide our customers with world-class services. With the view to stay ahead of the competition, Safexpress has strengthened itself with innovative services like Easy2Move, SafeReturns, Stock2Shelf, Campus2Home, and many more. In terms of our reach, we are already covering every square inch of India. Though traditionally our service offerings have been aligned more towards the B2B customers, but going forward, we will be offering more and more services to the B2C customers as well.
In terms of 3PL infrastructure, we have a total warehousing space of over 9 million square feet across the country. Safexpress has established 25 Logistics Parks at key industrial hubs across the country. We plan to create 7 more Logistics Parks in the next couple of years.