Ashvini Jakhar is the Founder and CEO of Prozo, an ‘e-commerce enabler and accelerator’ for SMEs, D2C brands and Enterprises. Prozo has raised $3Mn till date and is backed by VCs, HNIs and Family Offices. Ashvini believes supply chains are as complex as humans and has set out on the mission to cure them of their inefficiencies and shortcomings. He is an ex- Indian Navy, Mckinsey, ISB and Armed Forces Medical College, Pune alum.
For the past few years, commerce has been moving online at a very fast pace. Rising internet penetration and smartphone usage, an enabling online payments and logistics infrastructure and favourable demographics are the key drivers of this trend. The Covid-19 pandemic further accelerated the shift to online commerce. Due to this, a large number of D2C brands are emerging. Also, a lot of SMEs and Enterprises shifted their focus from being 100% offline, b2b focussed businesses to operating in a truly omni-channel manner, serving both online and offline customers
This adoption of e-commerce by the Indian masses has now made it necessary for companies to rethink their supply chain.
Today, there are 20+ major e-commerce platforms. As a result, demand is getting increasingly fragmented and conventional supply chains continue to operate in silos. When a company’s supply chain is dependent on multiple external stakeholders and vendors, inefficiencies or breakdown of even one component leads to bottlenecks that are hard to identify and fix.
Today, many companies have different supply chains, one for offline and another for online demand channels. For online sales also, brands maintain separate pools of inventory for different e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa etc. This increases their inventory holding costs.
For brands, having different pools of inventory and establishing their own warehousing and fulfillment network is expensive, requiring heavy upfront investments and a dedicated team of operations specialists. Thus, to thrive in a world where omni-channel retail has become a reality, conventional, siloed supply chains have to be replaced with linear, agile supply chains.
This is where a set of new age companies are emerging, who are leveraging technology to democratize access to linear supply chains and enabling brands to serve customers in the best and fastest manner possible, without making any upfront investments in capex or opex.
Emerging supply chain tech companies allow brands access to one-stop, end-to-end supply chain management solutions like pan-India warehousing and fulfillment network, best freight partners, supply chain technology (Warehouse and Order Management Systems) and e-commerce marketplace seller services – all on a variable, pay-per-use commercial model.
All of this is being made possible by technology, which is playing a major role in simplifying supply chains, helping brands reduce costs and increase revenue.
Supply Chain Technology solutions like integrations with ecommerce marketplaces and brand’s own webstore, along with a Unified Order Management System(OMS) allow brands to expose a common pool of inventory to all marketplaces and thus, increase catalogue depth. This leads to an uptick in revenue by ensuring 100% of the inventory is live on 100% of platforms at all times. On top of this, all the inventory can get fast fulfillment badges like ‘Amazon-Prime’ or “Flipkart-Assured’ badge, leading to better online discoverability. The OMS also enables brands to easily monitor all e-commerce orders from a single dashboard.
A Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) allows one to monitor warehousing operations real-time, enabling transparency, performance management and adherence to SLAs.
Transport Management System along with freight integrations allocates the order to the most reliable, economical and fastest freight partner. The customer can also monitor the order journey real-time, from dispatch to delivery.
On top of this, ML based Inventory Recommendation platforms suggest optimum inventory holding across locations. Example: insights like what SKUs should the brand store in which location to ensure maximum orders are delivered in ‘1-2’ days, while reducing overall shipping costs.
Brands today also have access to E-commerce Growth Technology, a platform that gives real-time, actionable insights and captures the “outside-in” view of the brand from a customer’s perspective, such as: % of products with Amazon-prime like badges, Out of stock rates, Discoverability trend on key search words, catalogue penetration across platforms, ratings & review, content quality score and analytics around pricing & promotions.
In other words, today’s e-commerce brands have access to full-stack supply chain service providers like Prozo to solve their e-commerce supply chain challenges so that brands can focus on their core differentiation around product and demand generation.