Aa­haa, one stop so­lu­tion for en­ter­prises

Asokan Sat­tanathan, CEO, Aa­haa Stores high­lights about the com­pany and their ser­vices

PCQuest - - SMB CORNER - – Ankit Parashar ankitp@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

Tell us about Aa­haa Stores? Aa­haa Stores is an on­line pri­vate mar­ket­place for large cor­po­rates in In­dia. A large com­pany work­force is of­ten lo­cated in var­i­ous places, and their in­di­rect pur­chas­ing re­quire­ments like sta­tion­ary, fa­cil­ity items, elec­tronic and IT prod­ucts are bought lo­cally in small quan­ti­ties.

It has been very dif­fi­cult for them to con­sol­i­date all such pur­chases and gain spend ef­fi­cien­cies. While in­di­vid­ual pur­chas­ing habits have been hugely in­flu­enced by eCom­merce com­pa­nies, Cor­po­rate pur­chase of in­di­rect sup­plies have con­tin­ued much the same way. In the ab­sence of ma­te­rial codes, de­mand ag­gre­ga­tion and post pur­chase spend an­a­lyt­ics have been a chal­lenge. Aa­haa tries to solve this prob­lem for large dis­trib­uted com­pa­nies with high vol­ume, low value spend through a well con­structed Tech­nol­ogy plat­form that we call In­tel­li­gent Pro­cure­ment Op­er­at­ing Sys­tem (iPOS). iPOS han­dles pur­chase req­ui­si­tion to pur­chase or­der to pay­ment cy­cle very el­e­gantly and ef­fi­ciently. Based on the past con­sump­tion, Aa­haa cre­ates an cat­a­logue of of­ten used prod­ucts for the com­pany and all au­tho­rized em­ploy­ees can log into this cloud based plat­form and place their re­quire­ments. Af­ter an in­ter­nal ap­proval through the sys­tem, Aa­haa de­liv­ers those prod­ucts at their desk any­where in In­dia in 4 hours to 4 days de­pend­ing on the items and des­ti­na­tion.

Cor­po­rates gain ben­e­fits of con­sol­i­da­tion in terms of bet­ter pric­ing, brand, prod­uct qual­ity and short­ened lead-times, in ad­di­tion to su­pe­rior em­ployee ex­pe­ri­ence. Now they can cut pro­cure­ment over­head costs and fo­cus on core ar­eas of busi­ness. Aa­haa pro­vides real time data through our an­a­lyt­i­cal en­gine for re­view of spend pat­terns thereby en­abling in­formed de­ci­sions for or­ga­ni­za­tional ef­fi­ciency. Col­lated trends and whatif anal­y­sis are of im­mense value in re­struc­tur­ing their opex spend.

We al­low busi­ness credit to cor­po­rates and it varies from 7 days to 30 days. It helps them to deal with one ven­dor for many items in­stead of han­dling too many in­voices from mul­ti­ple ven­dors. In case of a bank with 1,000 branches, it can get into more than 100,000 trans­ac­tions in a year in­volv­ing so much doc­u­men­ta­tion and en­tries in their books of ac­counts. With Aa­haa it gets re­duced to weekly or Fort­nightly or monthly en­tries. We also sup­ply prod­ucts cus­tom­ized for a cus­tomer with their logo as a brand mer­chan­dise for their cus­tomers, em­ploy­ees and busi­ness as­so­ciates. When we take your or­der, we will first check the in­ven­tory you’re hold­ing and study con­sump­tion pat­terns. Then we pro­gram sup­plies to you on weekly or­fort­nightly or monthly ba­sis de­pend­ing on your con­sump­tion at that lo­ca­tion for that brand. We carry safety stocks to meet nat­u­ral vari­a­tions in re­quire­ment. we do not be­lieve in sub­si­diz­ing or dis­count­ing our prod­ucts. Our cus­tomers ex­pect high qual­ity ser­vice, good ex­pe­ri­ence, sus­tain­abil­ity and high level of gov­er­nance. Our fo­cus is on de­liv­er­ing ev­ery­thing that a client needs through tech­nol­ogy. Cost re­duc­tion is there­fore an ob­vi­ous bye-prod­uct. We deal in Sta­tionery – nor­mal and pre-printed, House­keep­ing prod­ucts, fa­cil­ity man­age­ment items, IT prod­ucts, Mer­chan­dize gifts, Mar­comm prod­ucts, etc. We have also de­liv­ered spe­cific cus­tom­ized items for in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies like fur­ni­ture, san­i­tary wares, re­pair & main­te­nance items, Can­teen sup­plies and a host of oth­ers. We are buyer based com­pany and try to meet all their re­quire­ments un­der one ban­ner. We are still grow­ing so we do not want to spread our­selves too thin. We are to­day fo­cus­ing on Bank­ing, Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices and In­surance Sec­tor as they are the ones who have an ap­petite and op­por­tu­nity for con­sol­i­dated buy­ing and have pres­ence across the coun­try What is your go to mar­ket strat­egy for In­dia? Be­ing a grow­ing com­pany, to­day we have not gone for any ad­ver­tis­ing. We work on re­fer­rals, cold call­ing and in­vi­ta­tions. We have now ex­tended our pres­ence to 6 of­fices and 7 ware­houses so that we could present lo­cal re­sources to cus­tomers for day to day in­ter­ac­tions. In our next phase, we would go for tar­get mar­ket­ing through In­dus­try fora, spe­cific events and pre­sent­ing our cre­den­tials to CxO level in big cor­po­rates. With this ap­proach, we have been able to triple our sales yearon- year for last three years. We need to in­ten­sify our ef­forts through on­line pres­ence. What are the tech­nolo­gies used in Aa­haa Stores? We in­te­grate mi­cro and macro apps into a full-fledged so­lu­tion. We fol­low ag­ile method of so­lu­tion de­vel­op­ment by stitch­ing sub-sys­tems to­gether to cre­ate one big busi­ness so­lu­tion. We are ever ready to in­cor­po­rate any new model to ad­dress a cus­tomer spe­cific busi­ness process and also re­place in­di­vid­ual el­e­ments with up­grades. What are your ini­tia­tives in Dig­i­tal In­dia and gov­ern­ment sec­tor? As of now, we have not ap­proached any gov­ern­ment de­part­ment or pub­lic sec­tor en­ter­prise for busi­ness. The rea­son be­ing long time lead times for con­ver­sion and ex­tended pay­ment cy­cles. A grow­ing startup like ours can­not af­ford to work on these terms right now. If there is an op­por­tu­nity to con­sol­i­date Gov­ern­ment pur­chases to en­hance trans­ac­tional ef­fi­cien­cies and re­duce lead times, with­out stretch­ing our re­sources, we will surely get into this. What is your ge­o­graph­i­cal pres­ence? We can de­liver across In­dia. The com­pany head­quar­ters is in Chen­nai. Be­sides Chen­nai, we have branches in Ben­galuru, Pune, Mum­bai, Hy­der­abad and Gu­ru­gram. For some of the banks, we de­liver at around 2,500 lo­ca­tions al­ready across the coun­try. We have in­fra­struc­ture part­ners for every lo­gis­tics ser­vice from long haul to mi­cro de­liv­er­ies to last mile.

Apart from the pro­mot­ers’ cap­i­tal, in the year 2015 we raised a close to USD 1 mil­lion fund­ing and that is what we are run­ning busi­ness with. We will look at the next stage if we re­quire more funds. By the end of this fi­nan­cial year, we are look­ing at an­nual run rate of Rs. 100 crores in sales and it will be a huge achieve­ment for a startup in its 4th year of op­er­a­tion. We are look­ing to grow 3-4 times every year go­ing for­ward. We want to reach Rs. 1000 crore in next 3 years there­after.

“We al­low busi­ness credit to cor­po­rates and it varies from 7 days to 30 days. It helps them to deal with one ven­dor for many items in­stead of han­dling too many in­voices from mul­ti­ple ven­dors.”

Asokan Sat­tanathan CEO, Aa­haa Stores

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