A closer look at the supply chain operations of Firefox Bikes

When India’s supply chain and logistics sector is going through a sea of change, it is rather obvious that all the subsets of the sector are also evolving to churn out the best possible results. As much as supply chain and logistics is about the movement of goods from seller to the end customer, it is also about all the other aspects like the efficient inventory management, sustainable sourcing, creating visibility, reaching domestic as well as international markets, and ensuring business continuity by being resilient and agile. We took a different approach in this interview with Dipak Kumar Gautam, Head Supply Chain and Exports, Firefox Bikes, and asked him not just about how their bikes reach the end user, but also about various other aspects of the supply chain operations at Firefox. Read on for excerpts.

How has customer perception of bicycles changed post the pandemic and how has that impacted your organization?

During pandemic demand of premium and mid premium bicycle segment went up significantly due to many factors. One of the major factors responsible for such boom was the work from home policy, due to which people got extra time and the focus shifted to health due to fear of the pandemic, and simultaneous closing of gyms and health clubs.

However, once the pandemic settled, demand for bicycles also came down, especially in mid premium and premium segment. Many people lost their jobs, there were salary cut downs and the economy was not in good shape, gyms were now open and work from office culture was back, which meant people got back to their old lifestyle and hence, demand driven by these factors was significantly down.

But one thing happened for sure that consumers developed a taste for cycling during these two years and they are more aware about bicycle as a product. Many health-conscious people started using bicycle as a mode of commute to save themselves from crowded public transport and many adopted it as a hobby which can keep them fit while exploring places at weekends as well.

Firefox has also gone through the same cycle of demand rocketing and coming down. Demand has settled now at almost its pre-COVID levels. However, we are seeing a demand tilt towards the premium and super premium segment that means more and more consumers are considering bicycle as a lifestyle product and not just a means of daily commute.

Q] Give us a bird’s eye view of how the outbound supply chain looks like at Firefox Bikes.

We have 7 COCOs and 650+ dealers and distributors PAN India basis. We are supplying them directly from our warehouses in UP, Punjab & Tamil Nadu. In terms of logistics, we are using FTL/PTL & surface courier modes and covering entire network in around 4-5 days due to distributed supply points. We are also serving our D2C customers directly from these locations.

Entire ordering process for customers and channel partners is online through portals & apps to give them omni-channel experience & seamless service in terms of order placement, tracking the order & after sales services.

This is an abridged version of the interview which was published in the March 2023 issue of Logistics Insider magazine. To read the full interview, click here.

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