TVS Logistics successfully unlocking supply chain synergies

In Conversation With R. Shankar

TVS Logistics, over the years, has evolved from being a mere auto/engineering centric logistics service provider to a full-fledged end-to-end logistics service provider catering to diverse sectors like consumer products, retail, technology and telecom. R Shankar, CEO India, TVS Logistics Services Ltd in an interview to Logistics Insider talks about how they ensure efficiency at all levels. He also gives a sneak peek of different initiatives taken by TVS LSL to scale up in the next few years and much more. Excerpts:

TVS Logistics operates more than 10 million square feet area of warehousing space across 29 states. How have you equipped your warehouses to improve efficiency, accuracy and order fulfilment cycle times? What is your view on clubbing distribution and fulfilment under one roof?

I am glad that you have asked this question because the ability to expand fast and yet not compromise on deliverables has been one of our key differentiators in the market. We have a 4-pronged strategy to ensure efficiency at all our warehouses and ensuring Key Performance Indicators are met for each of our customers.

A. Process Standardization: Our experience across multiple sectors has allowed us to define processes for each type of operation based on product type, service type (Spares, FG, Inbound) and the size and complexity of the operations. This helps us deliver the agreed KPI’s from day 1 to the customers.

B. People Training: Another key focus area for ensuring efficiency at our warehouse is the defined training schedule for our employees. The teams are well trained on safety and on their functional skills before being deployed at work.

C. IT Enablement: More and more focus has moved to provide best in class technology solution to support the employee at the GEMBA. Initiatives like the SMART CENTRE which is our Control Tower enables the warehouse managers with the information which allows them to make informed decisions to improve productivity.

D. Continuous Improvement: We have a dedicated TPS and Lean Management Team apart from our normal operations team which proactively looks at areas of improvement at all our facilities. The ideas from these teams are presented to our customers and then deployed at site mutually benefiting us and the client. These improvements are in the areas of quality, cost, delivery, productivity and ensuring continuous waste elimination and NVA reduction across the system.

In an increasingly competitive logistics ecosystem, how is TVS Logistics catering to its clients through its dedicated value-added services. How do these services help you to stand apart from your competitors?

TVS Logistics believes that we can be a partner to our customers in solving their supply chain challenges. Our standard bouquet of offerings like Warehousing and Transportation act as the base for proving our capability with the clients.

Over a period, our focus on co-creation with the customer allows us to convert basic warehousing and transportation contracts into value-added contracts by additionally providing the customer with services like Packaging, Warehouse Management Systems, Kitting, Subassembly, Inventory Ownership and Last Mile Delivery.

This ability to look at the overall supply chain and have the capability to solve customer challenges beyond the basic logistics activities is what differentiates us from our competitors.

What are the new initiatives taken by TVS Logistics for scaling up operations in the next few years? What are the key areas of development that TVS is looking at currently?

In the last 5 years, from being an Auto/ Engineering centric logistics provider in India, we have grown to all sectors like consumer products, retail, tech & telecom and providing technology backed value-added services to become a supply chain solutions provider across all the sectors.
Our various growth strategies are:

A. Encirclement: Leveraging our existing relationship to penetrate deeper and expand our wallet share

B. Business Development: We have a solutioning and enduring relationship approach towards acquiring new customers and constantly keep adding new customers (new logos) to our portfolio. We also endeavor to provide value added, technology enabled end- to end solutions to our
customers at a very competitive cost.

C. Exploring new sectors: It is our strategy to venture into new markets / new sectors by leveraging our global capabilities and customer base.

D. Cross Deployment: We have acquired companies with niche capabilities in international territories. We have been very successful in unlocking the supply chain synergies and cross deploying the acquired niche capabilities from the developed markets to India.

Jobs and skills development in the logistics sector have always been a major concern for the industry. How does TVS Logistics plan to address this issue in the coming days?

Yes, that is very much true. Jobs and skills development are major concerns and very crucial for the prosperity of logistics industry. Keeping that in mind, we have taken various measures to address the issue.

TVS has a training school which provides exclusive training on operating material handling equipment. We have partnered with Pan IIT, an NGO which identifies young unemployed and economically backward people from remote villages and train them on various skills. We give preference to these youngsters trained by Pan IIT for providing employment opportunity at our project sites.

We engage with CII Institute of Logistics and Logistics Skills Council to upskill employees. We also induct trained manpower through various initiatives of the Government and NGOs. We have collaborated with a prestigious educational institution and developed a program which
provides on the job training and class room sessions for graduate engineers on supply chain management, who are then awarded with a PG diploma in supply chain management and considered for fast track growth within the organization.

On a regular basis, we also conduct training sessions for our employees on various project, to give them exposure to TPS Lean management. We also run assessment programs to supplement their needs for any specific training required to cater to the customers’ needs.

Given your major foothold in India, is TVS Logistics looking at any major acquisition or mergers to increase its market share in the next fiscal? Tell us about some of your projects in the pipeline?

We are a thriving and ever-growing company. In the past we have done strategic acquisitions of companies with niche capabilities in international territories and as well as in India. In 2018, we have invested and acquired a majority stake in a load aggregator platform which enables us to grow our transportation business rapidly.

Though we have been organically growing significantly, we are always open to evaluate potential inorganic opportunities which are a strategic fit for our business.

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