DTDC: Connecting the dots in business
The challenge we face actually comes as a hidden opportunity, asserts Director Abhishek Chakraborty
The CEO Magazine, New Delhi
While the sheer volume of emails makes it impossible to draw a response, we can’t even imagine a messenger-led communication system of ancient world. Gone are the days when trained pigeons were used as messengers. Then a new breed messengers – called runner comes into the picture. We still cherish the epistolary or letters which have travelled from city to city and people to people. Due to the rapid advancement of technology, the world has changed drastically. Technologies have changed the way we live, communicate and do business. Now sending letters or goods has been becoming easier than ever, as courier companies have spread their wings.Courier companies have remarkable contribution for redefining the communication system. Take the case of DTDC Express Limited. DTDC is an acclaimed player and a popular name, when it comes to deliver and shipping industry. In India they are the second largest company in terms of their delivery network. To help clients to reach faster or to secure something in a better way, Subhasish Chakraborty laid the foundation stone of DTDC with little material wealth but lots of nature and practical wisdom. Presently this Bengaluru based leading Express Parcel service provider has a delivery networkthat covers as many as 10000pin codes. Backed by its interconnected, vast and wide network the company is well equipped to deliver 450,000 consignments every day. It all together makes 150 million shipments in a year on an average. DTDC has representative offices up to the district headquarters and almost all the major places. In addition to India the company has a significant present across different geographies of the world. Globally they have connected to twenty odd countries with their own presence or through channel partners. The company is actively pursuing ways to increase their network even deeper. The firm is also heavily investing on the technology which allows a predictability to increase in their service in-fact their proprietary service known as ‘Predict.’ The service will be kicked off soon. Much of the credit for this transformation should go to Abhishek Chakraborty, the Executive Director for his untiring effort to keep employee morale high. He has also worked hard at infusing talent into the company and building capabilities.Introducing technological advancements in the organization such as GPS-enabled fleets, mobility devices for real-time tracking and transition to a SAP-environment in the organization, Abhishek Chakraborty is now taking DTDC into new horizon. An Electronics Engineer by qualification and an ardent sports lover Mr. Chakraborty is a management specialist with a Post Graduate Diploma from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. The company is on a roll as the industry rising sharply over the past few decades.Indeed, profits almost doubled in recent years. The CEO Magazine’s Ayanangsha Maitra spoke Abhishek Chakrabortyon the way forward. Here are excerpts.
TCM: How DTDC was conceptualized and what is the business ethics that revolves around your business?
Abhishek Chakraborty: When we started at that time at that point of time we were late entrant in the so called logistic courier express industry. We started at a very small scale. Our ambition or goals at that time was that India was just about on the verge of the beginning of the market for the goods in its domestic and the global trade and at the same time there was certainly a need for the quality players in the market specially in the courier service segment of the business outside the postal department there was not such strong players and we saw an opportunity and this is how we started our journey of being a very simple courier company starting with few places and eventually we expanded into a pan India presence. The result of our desire and ambition we chose a very different model for this industry. We chose a franchise or channel partner driven where essentially hundreds and thousands of entrepreneurs joined our hands to help our company to spread our network, the first hand pick up and last mile delivery respectively. In the larger parts of our 27-28 years, the first 15-20 years were about growing that network, grooming our channel partners and essentially to set up a network. We are still transforming as the idea of bringing entrepreneurs is still core philosophy and today we have more than 10,700 channel partners in our family today. At the same time our business model is evolving, we are no longer the courier service provider we are end to end express parcel player. We handle every aspect of the market whether it be small parcel or larger shipment, the supply chain solutions or cross border business.
You started in 1990s and now it is 2018. What is the transition happened in the industry and in technology?
Chakraborty: Most of the transition that happened in our industry can be a reflection of the transition that we have seen in the market as a whole. India’s economy has started to transform our business and industry evolved around the same. Way back in the early 90s before the 2000s it was lesser about the quality parameter but about the network and the coverage. But from the 2000s the demands started increasing and then the focus was not only about networking but also about adding lots of quality features. The last 10 years was about wide range of services with high degree of reliability and accuracy, greater information exchange that happens with our customers externally as well as internally.
How does the network of DTDC work in India as well as abroad and how many orders does it get every day?
So in India we handle close to 450k shipments a day that’s across the domestic network in international we handle close to about 25k to 30k which go from India or from our country to across the world you know both are going at a strong pace, international is faster because of the network is still growing and adding more geographies to our overall networks but domestic will be driven by e-commerce and overall domestic consumption will grow.
Do these services help DTDC to scale new height?
Well yes it does, because it immediately distinguishes from rest of the competition from at least vanilla competitors who can be in the market and as they only offer the most basic service the moment we are able to offer these value added services definitely creates a distinction for those clients who are looking for very quality reliable partner who can innovate, who can create new things for them, and those are more valuable clients we are handling today.
How can your customers see every part of the value chain with great transparency?
If anything happens the first two people should know is you and your customers on a real time basis. Gone are those days where anyone can say that we can give you that information in few hours. Everyone wants information in seconds or in a minute that means that we have to re image every perspective of our business. I think that is a huge transformation and the challenge is how to overcome that without giving up on the quality service that you have achieved along with the quick delivery.
Basically there are predominant player in the market such as FedEx, Deccan 360 who run business in this domain from a long time they have a rich legacy in this area. How do you tackle them or are they truly competitors of yours or you have made them in your niche area?
Of course FedEx, DHL are giants and they operate in a very different league altogether. They are the few global integrators that operate all over the world. They do higher volumes in global scale but at the same time whichever country you might want to look at there will be strong domestically driven players who are better than them. I respond to this question from Indian perspective – Competition has always been their locally or globally, I would say we don’t want to look at the competition on what they are doing? But what we try to see to is that if there is genuine customer demand and there is enough of incentive to service that demand then it means you need to do whatever it takes, whether you need to match your competition in terms of network, in terms of technology, in terms of systems. So each case is different. In our case we often find that we are doing things differently.
What is the USP of DTDC? How much e-commerce company depended on you or do you also focus on e-retail Company?
Our USP is delivering value. As far as our customers are concerned keeping the customers at the center and saying that what more can we do which can really increase the value for our customers in their business and in their activities and through that value we create for our customers is how our value get created and that USP mean that we always are listening to our customers very clearly and strongly. We are not afraid to innovate and try different things for our customers. Delivering value is our core mission. We play a very critical role for e-commerce companies. We help small sellers. We obviously help large retailers to reach out to the deep parts of the country. We help managing returns. We help in fulfillment side of it.