Fur­ni­ture lo­gis­tics fi­nally finds its legs

Faced with mount­ing lo­gis­tics chal­lenges, fur­ni­ture e-com­merce com­pa­nies let spe­cialised car­ri­ers strengthen its lo­gis­tics in­fra­struc­ture to make ship­ping of com­plex and bulky prod­uct suc­cess­ful.

Cargo Talk - - Supplychain -

With the chang­ing con­sumer’s be­hav­iour and their life­style, in­ter­net fur­ni­ture is not at an un­heard thing nowa­days. E-com­merce has given a big boom to this ver­ti­cal as well. Be­ing one of the bulky and odd-sized prod­ucts, fur­ni­ture comes un­der a com­plex cat­e­gory in terms of its move­ment. Hence, CARGOTALK chose to high­light the lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges that e-fur­ni­ture com­pa­nies face and its so­lu­tions from the in­dus­try ex­perts.

Ankit Sirohi, Vice Pres­i­dent – Oper­a­tions, Me­belkart listed few has­sles that fur­ni­ture lo­gis­tics brings at ev­ery stage: • Stor­age: High cost in per cent of mar­ket re­tail price (MRP) as most of the In­dian made fur­ni­ture can­not be dis­man­tled. Pack­ag­ing: A non-stan­dard size in­tro­duces a need to cus­tomise the pack­ag­ing for each and ev­ery Stock Keep­ing Unit (SKU). Dam­ages: Fur­ni­ture is prone to dam­ages while load­ing/ un­load­ing in line haul, first and last mile. Ship­ping Costs: Due to high vol­u­met­ric weight, fur­ni­ture ship­ping cost con­sti­tutes to al­most 15 per cent of MRP. • •

Kaustab Chakraborty, VP Oper­a­tions, Ur­ban Lad­der, says, “When we launched, we started pan India oper­a­tions and worked with 3PL teams to de­liver fur­ni­ture across the coun­try. How­ever, in Ban­ga­lore we set up our own de­liv­ery team. Soon we re­alised that cus­tomer com­plaints about prod­uct dam­age were in­creas­ing in other cities but cus­tomers in Ban­ga­lore were very sat­is­fied with the prod­uct qual­ity and ser­vice.”

“A cat­e­gory like fur­ni­ture needs spe­cial care dur­ing tran­sit and as­sem­bly and in­stal­la­tion are crit­i­cal post de­liv­ery ser­vices. We de­cided to take the tough call of rolling back from all other cities and re-launch­ing only with our trained de­liv­ery and lo­gis­tics teams due to un­avail­abil­ity of a re­li­able 3PL provider. To­day, we de­liver to 19 cities across India and this num­ber is ex­pected to grow soon,” he added.

Ashish Shah, COO, Pep­per­fry, shares, “A large part of our busi­ness lies in or­gan­is­ing the un­or­gan­ised fur­ni­ture mar­ket. We are bridg­ing the sup­ply gap in the coun­try by bring­ing the work of small ar­ti­sans and SMEs (small and medium en­ter­prises) on­line. With a strong ecosys­tem of small man­u­fac­tur­ers, skilled crafts­men - ar­ti­sans & SMEs and mer­chants spread across tra­di­tional ori­gin cen­ters across the coun­try we have es­tab­lished a strong sup­ply net­work.”

He adds, “Al­most all the items sold on Pep­per­fry first ar­rive at one of our mother hubs in Mum­bai and Gu­ru­gram for qual­ity check be­fore be­ing packed and shipped through our own de­liv­ery net­work or 3PL part­ners.” “To re­solve lo­gis­ti­cal is­sues as well as to save money we rely on a hub-and-spoke model. Our fur­ni­ture moves from the points of ori­gin to the ful­fill­ment cen­tres to our mother hubs via long dis­tance haul­ing con­tracts. We move full truck­loads of 32feet con­tain­ers, car­ry­ing at least 80 items at a time. It is then de­liv­ered to our cus­tomers through our own last mile de­liv­ery net­work of more than 400 trucks cov­er­ing 500+ cities with the ca­pa­bil­ity of de­liv­er­ing more than 1,00,000 pieces per month. This has also helped us bring down the de­liv­ery cost,” in­forms Shah.

In terms of de­liv­ery, Chakraborty says, “Our fo­cus is to en­sure that cus­tomers have a seam­less cus­tomers’ ex­pe­ri­ence. For ex­am­ple, car­ry­ing fur­ni­ture man­u­ally par­tic­u­larly in high-rise build­ings was a huge chal­lenge and this re­sulted in dam­aged goods. Hence, we created a stair­case climber en­gi­neered by our in-house team. This bat­tery op­er­ated de­vice car­ries up to 150 kgs with min­i­mal man­ual in­ter­ven­tion.”

“The lo­gis­tics in­fra­struc­ture in India for ship­ping of large item is sig­nif­i­cantly un­der-de­vel­oped. Hence, Pep­per­fry spent ini­tial years of oper­a­tions in strength­en­ing its lo­gis­tics and in­fra­struc­ture,” ex­plains Shah.

Sirohi, says, “Our fo­cus is on mak­ing two dif­fer­ent sup­ply mod­els; ship­ping na­tion­ally the knocked-down fur­ni­ture that can be dis­man­tled with part­ner­ships and sourc­ing lo­cally to serve a spe­cific re­gion for prod­ucts that can­not be dis­man­tled. Na­tional ship­ping helps us with strong net­work of as­sem­blers and car­pen­ters through­out the coun­try. Sourc­ing lo­cally re­duces our costs of lo­gis­tics.”

Chakraborty shares, “More than 85 per cent of the mar­ket is un­or­gan­ised and bring­ing stan­dard­i­s­a­tion to the seg­ment is crit­i­cal. Our pri­mary fo­cus is on un­der­stand­ing con­sumer pref­er­ences, in­vest­ing in high­qual­ity fur­ni­ture and set­ting stan­dards for the in­dus­try.”

“There is a big dif­fer­ence be­tween the costs when shipped long dis­tance and lo­cally,” Sirohi adds.

A non-stan­dard size in­tro­duces a need to cus­tomise the pack­ag­ing for each and ev­ery Stock Keep­ing Unit (SKU) More than 85 per cent of the mar­ket is un­or­gan­ised and bring­ing stan­dard­i­s­a­tion to the seg­ment is im­por­tant

Talk­ing about the role of tech­nol­ogy provider in tack­ling last mile de­liv­ery chal­lenges, Shah, says, “For large item stor­age and goods move­ment, tech­nol­ogy helps us in manag­ing and dis­tribut­ing items es­pe­cially in the man­age­ment of our last mile de­liv­ery net­work.”

We are bridg­ing the sup­ply gap in the coun­try by bring­ing the work of small ar­ti­sans and SMEs (small and medium en­ter­prises) on­line

“We have a seam­less in­te­gra­tion of tech­nol­ogy with pro­cure­ment to de­liver end-to-end ser­vices from or­der place­ment to post sales. We are able to track the move­ment of our trucks in tran­sit while our net­work of 250+ car­pen­ters in var­i­ous cities are con­nected with the cus­tomer’s re­quire­ment. FarEye’s mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion for our last mile de­liv­ery en­abled us to get real time sta­tus up­dates about ful­fill­ment, proof of at­tempt and con­di­tion of the prod­uct,” he con­cludes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.