BDP International: providing global logistics solutions using state-of-the-art technology
The industry will come to a halt if the logistics aspects in the industry get crippled. The term logistics is derived from a French word logistique. Logistics has been a part of military units from the ancient times. Earlier the imperial conquests required an astute understanding of logistics, failure to which generally resulted in defeat. One of the most successful examples of logistic systems ever known was of the MONGOL cavalry armies in the 13th century. The success can be measured by an analogy that Mongols are the only military force in the world that has conquered Russia. Logistics is generally considered a military science, but with the expansion of the consumer market, rise of middle-class and growing economy facilitated the rise of logistics as a separate industry. Developments in the transport medium like the use of aircraft acted as a catalyst to the growth of the logistics world.
The Logistics industry is now a world of endless possibilities, our editorial team spoke to Pavithran M Kallada who currently serves as Managing Director for BDP International for India region. Here are the edited excerpts…
As a commerce and art graduate, and a diploma holder in International foreign trade, shipping, and international logistics, the industry gradually became an area of interest and a natural fit with my background. Prior to entering the entrepreneurial waters, I worked for several corporate firms in the international shipping and import-export process. In early 2000, my focus shifted from corporate roles to join an Indian custom brokerage firm to transform the family-oriented to a more globally focused international logistics firm. The experience I gained during my corporate stints and later with the local logistics company made me realize the huge potential of the logistics sector. I started my start-up in 2008, initially named as Unique Global Logistics. In 2010, the firm entered into a joint venture with BDP International, USA, to provide end-to-end logistics service offerings to the Indian Industry and then eventually become a 100% BDP Entity today.
Involvement and the progression
In 2014, both the Oil & Gas and Chemical logistics segments merged to form a single entity to accelerate our growth in India with multiple product offerings under one roof. BDP is a leading global logistics solution provider with presence in nearly 140 countries, 5000 employees globally, and a diversified portfolio of customers. BDP International, India operations has 13 offices and provides logistics solutions to diversified industries from Chemical, Petrochemical, Oil & Gas, FMCG, Retail and many more.
The solutions offered
We remain dedicated to increasing the efficiency of supply chains and making it more cost-effective and sustainable through our expertise and experience. We not only handle the customer transnational logistic moves but also integrate the information and documentation processes providing end-to-end visibility throughout the life cycle. The services we offer are Ocean and Air freight forwarding, Project Transportation solutions by air and ocean charter, Over Dimensional cargo transportation, Import-Export customs clearance, and compliance consultancy, Warehousing and distribution, Supply Chain consultancy, Lead Logistics Provider, 4 PL, Export Facilitation, Import Facilitation, Domestic Facilitation, Project Logistics, Transportation Services, Trade Risk Management, Analytics & Optimization, and Visibility Tools.
Defining ‘trust’ in the market and competitive advantage
We have been a leader with over 50 years of chemical logistics experience and an unrivalled track record of industry firsts. Sixty five percent of our business comes from the chemical industry, and we are the preferred provider for eight of the world’s top ten chemical companies. Our internal operating practices and information systems handle the unique requirements of the industry while our leading-edge technology Smart Chemical® provides the visibility and certainty needed to put customers firmly in control of the international order to cash cycle.
The growth and its attribution
The organization grew from a team of three to three hundred+ in terms of size with a top line sales of INR 9 crore in 2008 to INR 200 crore by 2018 from 3 offices to 13 offices. The key attributing factor would be our team of professionals with expertise in country-specific logistics solutions, global trade compliance services, customs brokerage, and the capability to provide end to end logistics solutions services to the Chemical and Oil & Gas industries. Our customized service embedded with BDP Smart® technology differentiates our market position from peers.
Bursting the Myth of Sisyphus
We strive to provide the best work environment enhancing and fine-tuning our employees’ job skills and training. We have various talent development programs such as the Employee Development Program, Management Development Program, Global Director Program and Global Director Program+ providing opportunities to the future leaders to climb the ladders within the organization and keep them motivated. As we grow YoY, we provide opportunities to our in-house talent to grow within our organization while continuing to focus on personal development and continuous improvement efforts.
The clientele and building of a client culture
We attract clients from various verticals–Chemical, Retail & Consumer, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Industrial Manufacturing, Oil & Gas and Wind Energy. Our unique culture offers best-in-class technology, providing innovative and dynamic solutions to our customers to fit the needs of a rapidly changing global environment.
Being a part of this wonderful ‘home’ called BDP and building the BDP brand within the India marketplace brings me an immense sense of pride. Personally, it was a great honour to receive the ‘Indian achievers award for Industrial development’ by Achievers foundation of India. As BDP has many globally honourable recognitions to mention, few are:
- BDP named one of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute (consecutively since 2016)
- BDP India certified as Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)
- BDP International named a Responsible Care Partner of the Year for 2017 by the American Chemistry Council
Impact of evolving technology on the industry over the next 10 years
The logistics sector is no stranger to innovation, with developments like self-driving trucks, automated container ships, and robotic warehousing made us stand at the forefront of technology developments. This year we embarked on a blockchain proof of concept with a US partner Chain.io to securely store necessary shipping documents and recently launched BDP Smart tracking through Amazon Alexa as an additional way to monitor the supply chain. BDP curated an Innovation Team in 2018 with the mission to examine current operations and introduced new ways to enhance BDP’s service offerings using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.
Recommended strategies for the optimal utilization of one’s time
Before adopting a certain technology, one should have clarity about its requirement rather than adopting just for the sake of peer pressure, one should be able to leverage it to bring in customer satisfaction, productivity, and better visibility. Do not compromise the best in the class-service model and make yourself prudent to the future needs of the customers. There should be no concession in the key-values like ethics, customer complaints. Shortcuts are not a substitute for hard work.
The Road Ahead
We want to be more innovative in providing solutions for complex logistics issues and want to continue our dominant market position in the Chemical, Petrochemical and Oil & Gas verticals. We have charted our growth plan YoY for the next few years in line with 1.5 times of country’s GDP growth.