[Product Roadmap] Started with an aim to cut logistics onboarding time, Shyplite now touches over 27,000 pin codes
About five years ago, friends and colleagues Sugam Jain and Parinay Itkan were scaling their e-commerce business. However, they couldn’t develop it as quickly as they wanted to because their entire time went into managing several courier partners and other repetitive logistics tasks.
“This is where we both understood the loophole in the logistics business, especially in India and the only available outcome in the market were online aggregators. Now it’s been six years to the day when Parinay, Nisschal (Jain) and I together came upon a solution for all the e-commerce sellers in India and abstracted the idea for— a single shipping gateway for logistics automation and end-to-end management,” says Sugam.
Their experience in the ecommerce segment had shown the trio that onboarding a courier company is a challenging and time-consuming task. The entire process would take close to 45 days. They then began to work on a platform that could bring this time to 10 minutes.
“Our platform helped businesses achieve almost all their logistical requirements in one place and our teams helped them understand any technical know-how. We were in fact the first one to offer a no-subscription fee, allocating the right courier to the right order, helping businesses cut down a daily 2-hour process to 5 minutes,” says Sugam.
Today, Shyplite is a complete 360-degree logistics and fulfillment service platform, providing over 30 courier services on a single shipping gateway. It has multiple marketplaces and carts integrations. It is present in 27,000+ shipping pin codes across India.
The platform serves 220 countries globally.
What does it do?
“We have a deep end-to-end AI (artificial intelligence) integration on our Logistics Platform as a Service (LPaaS) platform which is helping us simplify logistics for businesses. Starting from order creation on the logistic partners' platform to printing shipping labels to AWB (airway bill) generation to assigning a delivery agent to pick up the order, we have APIs working seamlessly and effectively across the value chain,” explains Sugam.
He adds the team has been using advanced methods, such as geocoding and location intelligence, for optimum performance. Shyplite is shipping one million orders monthly across domestic and global markets and has recently launched nine fulfillment centres across India.
The company recently launched Shypmax, a cross-border LPaaS and IOSS ready service. Shypmax is now live for deliveries to 40+ countries and will be covering delivery to 220 countries progressively with over 70 carrier and network partnerships in place globally.
Cross Border Trade is emerging as the next big opportunity in the Indian e-commerce industry, estimated to reach $630 billion at a CAGR of 17.3 percent by 2022, the company says.
Building a scalable MVP
To build a scalable Minimal Viable Product (MVP), the team built a decentralised architecture from day 1 and scaled over the years, however, the core architecture has changed minimally.
As challenges of decentralised architecture started to present themselves in terms of adding new and complex features, the team looked for creative solutions.
“Our learning from the scaling process has been that technology requirements are ever-changing as per business needs which means that a product must evolve continuously. Any amount of planning can help only in the short run, after a certain amount of time, varying across different layers of technology, everything ultimately has to come back to the drawing board,” says Sugam.
He adds the product team at Shyplite works in a ‘think tank’ and a feedback mode. The team continuously thinks of upgrades that it can make to make shipping easier for businesses.
For feedback, the client servicing team works closely working with the sellers day in and day out which gives them a strong understanding of their business model, workflows, and business needs.
Working around the product features
“They understand what product features can really help each of the customers save time and effort in managing their shipping. Customers also send us direct requests on our support emails. All such requests coming in, are then deliberated on and almost every month minor and major upgrades/features are rolled out in a phased manner,” explains Sugam.
The entire technology has been built in-house by a team of over 30 product and engineering teams. Sugam adds that Shyplite started with just six people in the engineering team. While the team continuously built on their tech stack, there were certain instances where some of the new features were not adopted by the users.
“We quickly sprang into action to get their feedback. The insights made us realise that we were probably too ambitious with rolling out the new features, which probably were not required by some of the sellers in the early stages. Since then, we have been first testing those features on a pilot basis with select sellers before adding them as part of our core offering. We also learned the importance of beta programmes, which generally leads to massive improvements in any product feature rollout and can be a very fair measure of feature success post full scale roll-out,” says Sugam.
He adds as Shyplite scaled, it was certainly a challenge to add new components on top, initially it was easier and quicker. Today, it takes 3x the amount of time to add any new component. As systems grow horizontally and vertically it is always a challenge to make broader changes and bigger additions, the co-founder says.
“And when you add the scale of thousands of users booking shipments simultaneously, the problem increases exponentially. We have had to deprecate many legacy modules and algorithms and had to completely rewrite a lot of them in order to ’bring the change’,” explains Sugam.
Building newer strategies
He says the company has also experimented with parallel developments and releases, where it made both old and new versions of a module live at the same time and migrate users to new ones in batches. The primary change in legacy belief or practice is that of underestimating the rollouts.
“In e-commerce logistics, we are witnessing a high demand for warehousing and fulfillment, returns reduction tools, shipping through retail outlets, and hyperlocal deliveries. Hence, we at Shyplite are aggressively evolving to deliver global growth potential to businesses with robust technology, innovation, and end-to-end shipping services,” says Sugam.
According to Sugam, the company has established itself on the four powerful customer-centric forces of performance, processes, innovations, and technology to give business’ logistics a seamless and successful flight.
“One big reason why we have emerged as the most trusted shipping gateway for businesses is that we listen and care for our customers, we have a dedicated support team that works closely with them and is continuously looking at ways to make logistics more efficient for them, Manifesting an excellent delivery experience to their customers remains the cornerstone of all that we do at Shyplite. We find our success in enabling their business towards limitless expansion and helping them delight their customers every single day,” says Sugam.
Shyplite is now an end-to-end shipping gateway empowering sellers with a tightly wired network of the most robust, secure, and cost-effective logistics infrastructure to enable businesses of all sizes to seamlessly expand their reach to every corner of the world possible, overcoming all the barriers of shipping.
“It’s a very exciting time to be in logistics. We are working on multiple new modules which will help businesses across the spectrum to run and manage their logistics operations efficiently with minimal hiccups,” signs off Sugam.