The year was 2019.
Freight Tiger had mastered implementing freight visibility in small to mid sized shippers and over 50 LSPs across the country.
We were ready to scale our platform with a large customer who had an enormous manufacturing capacity, and who had their infrastructure spread over multiple regions.
Thus entered Dalmia Cement. They have a massive capacity of almost 36 million tons per annum, spread across 13 plants, in 11 states and 3 regions. They were striving to resolve the challenges involved with fragmented and unorganised logistics operations by establishing a centralised and transparent view of their freight operations.
And most importantly, we had a mutually shared vision to drive operational excellence within the logistics function by leveraging technology.
We were excited and eager to partner with them to simplify their freight operations.
With the support from Dalmia Cement team, we mapped the current infrastructure that answers realistic questions like:
We started reviewing integrations with their SAP ERP, in-plant systems, transporter payment systems, and customer order placement app in order to achieve end-to-end visibility on a single platform. We planned and executed our solutions with central and regional teams, and we were able to go-live at 4 factories across 3 states in the East and North East area in less than two months.
This launch effort helped us identify on-ground operational blockers that we couldn’t identify during process mapping. These blockers ranged from the dispatch staff unable to follow the operational flows in one plant, to the parking yard being almost 1 KM away from the plant gate in another.
Solving these problems exposed us to on-ground realities and helped us build a repository of the challenges faced, and potential solutions.
We found ourselves carrying multiple cell phones with different telecom providers due to unreliable networks at remote plant locations. We would go around the plant identifying the right location to initiate the tracking processes on driver phones.
They also helped us accept certain realities about operational limitations that can only be solved over time, with relentless repetition and muscle memory among transporter babus and drivers.
At this point we realigned with the Dalmia Cement team and agreed on a stabilization checklist. This helped us both identify the most important items to execute before we call a plant operationally stable.
What we learned was that scaling a SaaS platform in a highly decentralized and operational environment is no walk in the park. It took massive change management efforts, stakeholder management, critical checklists, and prioritization.
We were forced to hit a break on all our launch and expansion efforts. All manufacturing units remained closed for months, and we lost the momentum we built launching the first 4 of the 12 plants.
In the later part of April 2020, we received news of cement plants being partially operational with only limited manpower. We decided to reignite our launch efforts, but within months, the world had completely changed, and our learnings from conducting in-person launches were no longer relevant.
Our new set of challenges were:
Launching at new plants seemed like a big hurdle to us and so, we decided to go back to fundamental values of operating from first principles.
We reviewed our challenges and decided to solve the most basic problems like lack of face-to-face interactions, contact less delivery of information to high-touch stakeholders (babus and drivers), remote review mechanisms and agreed on the frequencies at which we will realign.
This was possible only because of the relentless support and cooperation we received from the Dalmia Cement team. At one point, we had their COO Mr Ujjwal Batria and Executive Director Mr Saurabh Gupta, who helped us drive the most basic adoption KPIs with their Regional Heads.
We were able to remotely launch 8 plants in 7 states in the South, East and North East in 4 months and all the plants were in a stable state in the next 6 months.
Today, after 2 and a half years, we have come all the way from driving adoption within the plant stakeholders to automating freight payments on day 0. From driving basic KPIs like tracking %, to driving high impact KPIs like OTD and OTIF.
In our journey together we’ve been able to create:
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Published on 17 May 2022
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