The 'Uber of logistics' uses Zoho Creator.

The Company

With the will to incite a logistics revolution, BlackBuck may soon be known as the "Uber of the logistics world." It's also known to be among the first few companies to start a marketplace for trucks. Post its recent C-series funding from Sands Capital, BlackBuck has gathered more than 100 million dollars and is grubstaked to handle shocks. The company has a presence in over 200 cities across India and caters to improving efficiency and reliability.

At present, BlackBuck is a small-to-medium enterprise (SME) with the goal of growing bigger in the near future. The company wants to set itself apart from its competitors in the industry by bringing efficient and affordable logistics solutions to a large client base. They've already garnered well-established clients like Asian Paints, Unilever, Coca Cola, Britannia, Godrej, Marico, Jyothy Laboratories, and EID Parry.

The Problem

BlackBuck was handling two of their logistics operation processes manually, using Microsoft Excel. With growing demand, they faced the challenge of managing their processes efficiently without losing out on augmentation. In a span of six months, the number of registered trucks grew five-fold, from 10,000 to 50,000.

BlackBuck needed help managing two of their processes:

  • Asset management
  • Fleet management

BlackBuck had to keep track of all its assets, across 200 cities in the country. Each city had several truck owners who were a part of BlackBuck's logistics platform, so the company wanted to manage its range of assets with each individual truck owner. Their asset management app was designed to handle three primary items:

  • RFID tags: for seamless passage through tolls.
  • Fuel cards: to avoid fuel surcharges and to benefit from cashback.
  • Cash cards: to use for other expenses like warehouse charges and food.

The company was planning to add more assets in the near future. Tracking them on spreadsheets was becoming a big pain for BlackBuck.

Fleet Management were BlackBuck’s beta initiative to alleviate the challenges of thousands of fleet owners (and their own business transactions with them). They also wanted to manage multiple trips and the expenses related to them, efficiently and transparently.

The Solution and its Provider

To cater to the needs of its customers, BlackBuck needed a custom solution that they could access through mobile devices. dot2Globe helped BlackBuck set up a system to manage the lifecycle of assets and the fleet's trips and expenses.

dot2Globe is a young and dynamic organization with people who have a combined two decades of experience in IT. With a custom application built on the Zoho Creator platform, dot2Globe solved the problem that suppressed BlackBuck's growth.

Key Features:

Asset management: BlackBuck, as mentioned earlier, has assets that include RFID tags, fuel cards, and cash cards. With the app, they can now track those assets throughout the country. They built an approval process that led to better control of the company's assets and improved efficiency. The application helps manage traceability, accountability, and mobility over several thousands of such assets, from the time they enter the organization to their expiration. Key features of this application include:

  • The ability for admins to import and edit data and assign assets in bulk.
  • Simple assignment and redistribution of assets across the organization hierarchy.
  • A view of asset distribution across locations and departments.
  • Roll-up reports of asset distribution from lower-level to top-level hierarchy.
  • Multiple workflows for approval, acceptance, assignment, and increased traceability of each and every organizational asset.

Using the app: The fuel card, cash card, and RFID tags are handed over to the truck drivers to use during a trip. These assets are distributed by regional BlackBuck POCs (points of contact) to truck owners across 200 locations. The central admin in the head office receives these assets in bulk and registers them in the application. Depending on the request from different POCs, the admin assigns those assets and then tracks their inventory and flow. Doing so not only helps keep tighter control over asset procurement and disbursement, but also has the indirect benefit of saving time and expense.

Fleet management: BlackBuck deals with a fleet of truck owners, both inter- and intrastate. The fleet management application helps create and manage multiple trips, along with conferring the ability to handle the associated account payables/receivables. Key features of this application include:

  • Profile management of trucks, drivers, routes, and customers.
  • Trip management features like creating trips, suggesting new routes, and assigning trucks and drivers.
  • Expense management aspects, including recording all expenses related to a trip.
  • Calculation of expenses per trip, payables, and receivables by truck owners and customers.

Using the app: A truck owner dealing with BlackBuck will have one or more trucks transporting goods. BlackBuck makes an advance payment to the truck owners. Upon completion of the trip, either BlackBuck or the truck owner must provide or return the expenses incurred. It's important to know what each party owes the other, the duration of the trip, and details about the truck and the driver involved. This application facilitates this process.

How long did it take to build and implement?

It took the dot2Globe team two weeks to build this application on Zoho Creator. If they'd done it by traditional methods, it would have taken several months. The application is hosted on a secure platform that can be accessed from any device connected to the internet, in any corner of the world. The data is well-protected, and they didn't need to spend a big lump sum on infrastructure.

Business benefits

The primary goal of these applications was to improve the efficiency and scalability of BlackBuck operational processes, so they could keep pace with their business growth.

With Zoho Creator, there was no capital cost, and they spent less time building the solution than they would have with traditional development methods. They incurred no additional expense to build mobile versions. Zoho Creator came at one-fifth of the cost of the traditional approaches.

Operationally, an admin who needs days to register thousands of assets on a spreadsheet needs only minutes to import them into the application. That can bump productivity by as much as 50%.