Rizwana Iqbal

Rizwana Iqbal is an Economics graduate and a former investment banker, now making a mark in the technology startup space. She is a writer, movie buff, football fanatic and singer from the heart.

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Rivigo - Disrupting the Logistics Sector With Its Unique “Driver Relay Model” and Cutting Edge Technology

Rivigo’s culture is highly ownership driven. Each person at Rivigo believes in ‘I AM RIVIGO’. They are passionate about solving challenges in this sector and our empowered to do so here.

Rivigo is integrating technology and logistics to bring a perceptible change in the way a trucking company operates and streamlines in sync with supply chain management requirements.

Even as the Indian economy is being talked of in the same breath as other, more mature economies, the country's logistics supply chain that transports its economic produce, remains utterly unorganised and convoluted. Unlike the US and Europe where hauling a freight carrier over long distances is seen as skilled employment, India's large population, high poverty and insipid law enforcement mean driving a truck is for those who do not find employment elsewhere. As per estimates, there is a shortage of 1 million truck drivers in India.

Founded 2014, Rivigo is disrupting the sector with its unique “driver relay model” and cutting edge technology to consistently provide unparalleled delivery times to clients which is 50%-70% lesser while improving quality of life of truck drivers. Rivigo is disrupting the logistics industry by extensively using “Internet of Things” to unlock higher levels of operational efficiency, while creating customized, dynamic, and automated services for its customers. Rivigo’s clients leverage its reduced Turn Around Time (TAT) and reliability to reinvent their business models – serving new markets, reducing inventory and significantly cutting down cost to serve their customers. The unparalleled value that Rivigo has brought to the table for its clients is finding tremendous traction with companies.

In an interaction with Rizwana Iqbal, Deepak Garg, Founder, Rivigo, shares details about his venture.

Q1. What gave you the idea for Rivigo?

When I decided to let go of my corporate job and get in to the highly unorganized and fragmented trucking industry, I knew I would have to solve real on-ground problems – shortage of truck drivers, lack of information and poor service levels.

Even though road transport accounts for almost 90% of freight movement in India, the sector is plagued by a myriad of problems. Studies show that transportation of goods by road is too time consuming. Whether it is hand-woven saris from Madhya Pradesh or cow's milk from Punjab, getting any product from one point to another in India is an extremely painful experience. A truck travelling from Kolkata to Mumbai, covering a distance of about 2,150 km takes nearly eight days. This includes stops at state borders to pay tariffs and fees and complete formalities, the wait at crossings as well as several other delays. In fact, as a result of the delays, most of the perishable products -- nearly 40% -- get spoiled before delivery.

Further, the sector is dominated by transporters with fleets lesser than five trucks. They account for over two-thirds of the total trucks owned and operated in India and make up about 80% of revenues.

The genesis of Rivigo was to solve these problems and change the way India was moving freight.

Our journey started by listening to truck drivers. Truck drivers in India spend around 25 days in a month away from home at a stretch. We wanted to change this phenomenon and introduced ‘Driver Relay Model’ by making sure that truck drivers get back home on the same day (or within 24 hours), thereby reducing turnaround time by 50% to 70% on long-haul routes, which earlier accounted for driver idling and resting.

When a driver is managed well, the entire value chain benefits. If this model scales up, the supply chain can get much more responsive. For example, where earlier it took eight days (for other logistics players) to transport goods from New Delhi to Chennai it takes us just two days for the same. This ensures there is a huge cutback in inventory costs and that makes the entire supply chain leaner. Companies which were transporting their emergency goods by air or rail earlier can now take to surface transport at nominal costs. As a consequence, the trucking or logistical network becomes much more reliable. Customers can work on their month-end shipments much later and can get higher quality market access, while reducing their inventory costs.

Technology has been infused in the entire ecosystem of Rivigo and it is the back-bone on the basis of which Rivigo has been able to develop many proprietary solutions that are industry first. Rivigo’s vehicles are enabled with not just GPS but a whole host of sensors. Rivigo’s strong team of coders, developers, engineers and data scientists have developed complex algorithms, data analytics and products using this data. This intelligence overlay on top of location tracking enables Rivigo’s control tower to track all the vehicles and monitor their performance in real-time basis.

Q2. And how did you come up with the name ‘Rivigo’?

The river inspires and defines all that we do at Rivigo. Flowing invariably, the river symbolises freedom, growth, transformation, perseverance and most importantly, movement. These principles define our story and set the course for all pursuits at Rivigo. Just like the river conquers all hurdles, we at Rivigo overcome all barriers on the road to deliver goods in unprecedented delivery time across all locations, every single time. We believe in thinking ahead and improvising, that persistence can overcome all obstacles, pace is key to all accomplishments, that there is always another way to simplify processes, we believe in embracing fearlessness, but staying humble and being flexible and flowing continuously, never losing sight of the goal.

Q3. There are many players in the logistics space. What differentiates you from your competitors?

Firstly, we provide unprecedented delivery times to our customers. This is enabled through our driver relay model and optimisation using technology and data from our vehicles.

Secondly, high reliability and precision services. We have a 24x7 central planning and control team that monitors the performance of all our vehicles and shipments using cutting-edge technology.

Thirdly, we provide complete visibility and transparency to the customer. Customers have access to real time tracking, status updates and performance analytics.

In addition to the above, we aim to achieve seven sigma level of safety in operations through fleet modifications, technology usage, training and on the job reinforcement.

Lastly, the happiness of our pilots is core to our vision of making logistics human. We strive to ensure that our pilots live a life of fulfilment, dignity and respect.

Q4. How would you define the culture of Rivigo?

Rivigo’s culture is highly ownership driven. Each person at Rivigo believes in ‘I AM RIVIGO’. They are passionate about solving challenges in this sector and our empowered to do so here.

We are obsessively focussed on technology. This is reflected in the cutting-edge technologies that we have built over the past two years, such as fuel efficiency algorithms, complete automation of operations, and giving truck temperature visibility and control directly to our customers.

We focus on excellence in delivery. Whether that is cutting down turnaround times to unimaginable levels or creating customer delight, we love setting high standards of performance and meeting them.

Lastly, at Rivigo we believe in hiring people better than ourselves. Rivigo is its people and culture. We invest a lot of time and effort in bringing the best talent to Rivigo. We focus on their capability building and growth.

Q5. What are the major challenges that you have faced?

Building a business is always faced with myriad challenges. And at Rivigo we have taken these challenges head on. We have a team of go-getters!

Q6. If not an entrepreneur, what would you be?

I never thought about a Plan B for myself. I have always wanted to solve real problems. You can’t be an entrepreneur and have a plan B for yourself!

Q7. What can we expect to see in the future from Rivigo (as a company) and from you (as an entrepreneur)?

Rivigo will continue to innovate and build technologies that will make logistics simple, efficient, safe and sustainable.

Q8. How has the consumer feedback been?

It has been phenomenal! Our customers are our biggest supporters. They love our service levels, as well as the technology integration, visibility and transparency that we have brought in logistics. Our customers have leveraged our reduced turnaround times and reliability to rethink and reinvent their business models – serving new markets, reducing inventory and significantly cutting down costs to serve their clients. The unparalleled value that Rivigo has brought to the table for its clients is finding tremendous traction.

Because of the value-adds that it provides -- cost reductions, just-in-time capabilities, getting products to store shelves faster, new methodologies, and automation—Rivigo has won major contracts from companies like Indorama, Arvind Mills, Hero MotorCorp, Nestle, Lupin to name a few.

Q9. Which has been the most rewarding moment in your journey of building Rivigo?

I think for all of us here at Rivigo, the most rewarding moments are when we hear about the change we have been able to bring about in the lives of truck drivers in India. Enabling them to live a life of fulfilment, dignity and respect is a truly satisfying feeling for us.

Q10. Which is the one value in your firm that you are proud of and which value you still wish you could instil in your employees?

One value that I am extremely proud of is our obsessive technology focus. We have been able to build complex algorithms, cutting edge technologies and products to solve the toughest challenges in this sector. We want to infuse technology at the grass root levels with our app for our pilots. One value that we wish to instil or see more of is anti-fragility. As we scale up, it is important to not only be resilient as an organisation but also be able to identify errors quickly, diagnose them properly, make the required system and process changes to ensure mistakes don’t get repeated again. Only then can you build truly scalable organisations.

Q11. What is the craziest thing you have done?

Travelled to Europe on seven-euros-a-day budget!

Q12. If you had a week with unlimited money what would you do?

I’d go to the moon and come back.

Q13. What are you afraid of?

Not being able to give enough time to my family and friends.

Q14. Tell me something you wish you hadn't done.

Sometimes I have been short-sighted and got easily impacted by small failures.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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