Fresh from the success of raising $50 million in Series C funding, we spoke to Krishna Khandelwal, Chief Business Officer of logistics tech startup Locus.
How would you define Locus? What are the USPs that make you stand apart from the peers?
Locus helps enterprises take supply chain decisions. We are a decision-making platform. Customers are now at the centre of the supply chain. They want to select the How, When, and Where of the delivery and brands have no option but to cater to this modern customer. Further, in a global and connected supply chain, a small disruption at an arbitrary point has a butterfly effect, with far-reaching impacts. We got glimpses of this a few months into the pandemic and the recent Suez Canal incident. Brands now need to make more complex decisions in less time to run the modern supply chain efficiently. Locus, with its modern and smart product suite, helps brands make these decisions, day in and day out.
How has the year 2020-21 been for businesses? How did you survive & sustain the crisis?
It was a difficult year for many businesses, however, for us, it acted as a catapult because enterprises were required to digitize their logistical operations at a fast pace to enable supply chain management. Locus’ solutions have led to proactive decision making, supply chain agility and digitization of all processes required. Since Locus’ technology is industry and geography agnostic, we were happy to enable deliveries across geographies that we are present in – India, Southeast Asia, North America, Europe and parts of the Middle East.
How is the logistics space for Indian start-ups?
The rise of e-commerce and hyperlocal deliveries in India has ensured that logistics is now at the centre of brands. Being a logistics software company in India brings with it a lot of insights and learnings which at some point translate into product features. Let me give you an example, something as simple as an address is written in different ways by people living in the same house. People write things like “behind XYZ ATM”. If you are not familiar with the area, you would never be able to find the address. We came up with a proprietary geocoding engine to crack even the fuzziest of addresses. This geocoding engine is geography agnostic. Innovating in a complex geography like India makes your systems/products robust enough to function efficiently across geographies.
What are the innovative or game changing initiatives that Locus has taken in the recent past?
During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, we helped businesses transition to contactless deliveries, navigated the driver shortages by bringing in more optimization, changing delivery slots, and in some cases transitioning to a completely slot less delivery model (where customers get the required goods but without time slots because of lockdowns which meant time slots cannot be guaranteed).
We also helped clients test various ‘what-if’ scenarios during the pandemic times. Clients could run these test scenarios by using a digital twin, which is a component of the company’s product NodeIQ, an intelligent network optimization and design engine. A digital twin is basically a virtual replica of the client’s on-ground supply chain. Clients could, for example, test what if their new warehouse came up in location A as compared to location B. NodeIQ has helped clients handle supply chain network design queries with ease thereby enabling them to cope with the increasing supply chain volatility. Moreover, this process, which ideally takes a few weeks/months, now only takes a few hours.
How is Locus poised to transform logistics space in the country?
Our take is that every consumer company will be a logistics company. Logistics is the new software. The ‘legacy software’ way of running supply chain and logistics is no longer viable for the present ‘on-demand’ world. It needs a new ‘operating system’ to run on. Building such a ‘system’ requires ground-up innovation and first principles thinking. We, at Locus, do exactly that.
Locus’ platform uses machine learning and proprietary algorithms to automate complex supply chain decisions. Its smart supply chain solutions provide end-to-end visibility and enables enterprises to enhance their operational efficiency by reining costs, streamlining the customer experience, and reducing environmental impact.
We work closely with behemoths across sectors in India and enable them to meet customer SLAs. Locus’s proprietary technology products like DispatchIQ, TrackIQ, NodeIQ, FieldIQ, and others enable decision-making – right from scheduling deliveries, sorting them, optimal fleet planning to even end-to-end network design.
What are your future plans?
With our recent Series-C funding of $50 million, we will hire more PhDs and developers to fortify our technology team. This focus on bolstering our tech team will eventually translate to more accurate ‘real-world’ decision-making for our clients in their day-to-day operations. We will aggressively build our local Customer Success & Business Development teams in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. This will allow us to serve our enterprise customers across geographies, with the nuance of each region and in their language.