In early February 2015, three supply chain enthusiasts, Amit Mishra, Vaibhav Gupta and Amit Bansal from IIT Roorkee and NITIE with experience in e-commerce, consulting, construction and manufacturing domain came together to start Quifers. With a long drawn vision of transcending the logistics into an uncomplicated and inexpensive affair, Powai-based Quifers uses technology as an enabler to aggregate LCVs (Light Commercial Vehicles) in order to provide hassle-free and high speed goods transfer service to people.
Quifers has a product portfolio to cater to both B2B and B2C market. Talking about B2C, Quifers is targeting individuals/families who are looking for moving household items or shifting and face a huge time crunch. Discussing the B2B model, there are two major target segments:
- Organized Sector: Quifers is in talks with clients to be their logistics partner, allowing them to focus on their competencies. They would be acting as Key Accounts.
- Unorganized Retail and SME Units: Quifers would be aggregating the business orders from this sector to bring in economies and pass on the cost advantage to these players, who for now see logistics as a pain point.
To sum it up, Quifers is trying to create an eco-system that seeks to provide advantages not only to the consumers, small and large business players, but also to the unorganized logistics and labour market.
How did it all start?
It all started when one of the co-founders came face to face with the trouble people experience while moving goods, which culminated into an idea of making goods moving a clean experience.
This led to a prototype that was deployed as a pilot in Powai, Mumbai. Walking us through the pilot, Amit recalled,
We ran our pilot run in Powai from 25th April. We simply approached people in Galleria and handed them our flyers telling them about our services. Two days of making individual contacts with people in Galleria gave us a good enough traction. It marked a go ahead for us and we started out aggressively. We have now expanded our services to all over Mumbai. We have plans to soon start our services in Navi Mumbai and Thane area. We are already in the final stage of talks with a few businesses in Bhiwandi area. Further on, we have our eyes on expanding into Delhi NCR in a few months. We have already started getting orders from our B2C segment customers on a daily basis with an average one order per day on week days and two-three orders per day on weekend. In total, we have served 14 customers till now.
Moreover, this experience also gave them a good idea of the irregularities of the market and the players. This gave them a good start to create a world class intra-city logistics ecosystem.
Today, Quifers is a small team of 15, comprising of MBAs, techies and design experts, who are working tirelessly to create value for all the stakeholders of logistics space and the community at large.
Initially, Quifers faced many challenges like bringing the tempo drivers on the same page during their on-boarding. Apart from providing tempos, Quifers also provides labour on the customer’s demand. Talking about challenges, Amit says, “Organizing the labour market at this initial stage of the business is still posing many challenges, but we are focused on our aim to create an ecosystem which is mutually beneficial to all the stakeholders (viz. customers, transport operators, labourers, and drivers) of the highly unorganized logistics space in India and will continue to do so.
Competition in this sector
Currently, there are a few players operational in this market logistics space, The Porter in Mumbai, and Blowhorn, Shippr in Bengaluru. However, the market is hot and given its size and potential, many new entrants are expected in the near future. Though existing players are positioning themselves as an affordable tempo rental service, Quifers is focussing on consolidating the labour market and commercial vehicles to provide a complete solution to their customers and business clients.
Moreover, we are creating a model of seamless integration of B2B as well as B2C market. Besides, we have created a system that will directly benefit the daily wage labourers and tempo drivers with a sustained source of income stream. We are further in the process of empowering small retailers, vegetable vendors and small restaurants by including them into our B2B model for handling their logistics needs as well as promoting them via joint campaigns with Quifers. Thus, we are simply not a transport service, but a firm which believes in creating value ecosystem.
Logistics in India is a tremendously growing market with a CAGR of 16.2%, where approx. six lakhs units of commercial vehicles are sold every year. The industry is highly fragmented with 75% of commercial vehicles owned by small fleet operators. The sector is largely unorganized with very little or no technology interventions so far. The issues like capacity underutilization and operational inefficiencies are plaguing logistics in India. Besides, with the boom in e-commerce sector, there is an ever increasing pressure on this sector. Considering the size of the market; right mix of services, technology and managerial skills is the key to unlock the vast potential that this sector has to offer.
Talking about funding and future plans, Amit says,
We raised the initial amount by pooling in resources from friends and relatives. We are planning to strengthen our services in Mumbai and further expand to Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru. We are actively in touch with the investors to raise funds to build further technological capabilities, expand our team and penetrate further into the market.