Rajesh Neelakanta, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, BVC Logistics in an interaction with Usha Sharma, shares the company’s strategies, business plans and its offerings for the pharma sector
BVC Group has completed its five decades of existence. How was the journey so far?
BVC Group has recorded a successful growth over the past five decades, with most part of it being in the gems and jewellery segment in India. We started as a customs broker, graduating into an IATA certified International Freight Forwarder, primarily servicing India’s precious cargo industry. We have been offering international transportation, customs gateway operations as well as vaulting solutions to the diamonds and jewellery and bullion businesses, here in India. Under BVC Logistics, we have international freight forwarding services – air and ocean for the general cargo segment of India’s EXIM trade. We are proud to share that we are doing extremely well in this space. We have added services like contract logistics warehouse and distribution management, truck transportation service, project logistics, eCommerce logistics and general cargo customs brokerage services.
BVC Logistics offers its services to various industries. What services do you offer to the pharma sector and how much revenue comes from it?
The pharma sector is a key customer vertical for us at BVC and we’ve been successfully handling the international freight management and customs brokerage services for a host of industry majors as well as tier II and tier III companies in the pharma sector. On the domestic front, we’re capable of offering, apart from transportation trucking and rail services, warehouse management and FSL services too. We’re, in collaboration with our associates, building capabilities to offer temperature controlled storage and transportation services to the pharma sector. Our unique service offering for pharma sector includes in-time ADC approvals for EXIM traffic. We can also offer time-definite domestic distribution services with specific solutions that appropriately address domestic transportation issues that the trade faces. We’re continuously working on building unique solutions to cater to each of the different players in the pharma sector as we strongly believe that ‘one-size-fits-all’ is perhaps not suitable for this industry.
How challenging and competitive is the pharma market and why? Who are your competitors?
The Indian pharma industry is one of the fastest growing sectors amongst all industries here. Though it is quite highly fragmented, in the past few years, we have witnessed large-scale consolidation. This has also resulted in better valuations for Indian pharma and we now have the promoter of a pharma company as the richest Indian. With size comes challenges which are multifarious, ranging from inadequate / improper storage and transportation infra hurting ‘go-to-market’ efficiencies, handling inconsistencies, knowledge deficit in handling haz chem products, regulatory issues in establishing a seamless supply chain and logistics models and so on so forth. We at BVC have been incessantly working on providing sustainable operations models to support our customers to overcome / manage these challenges more efficiently. Regarding competitors, surely, the whole logistics services fraternity is a competition to one another. Nevertheless, we believe that we are on the right track to offer better services than most of the other providers and hence can hope to have an edge.
What are the company’s business strategies and how do you plan to accelerate it further?
We, at BVC, have identified niche areas of logistics services where we employ the vast man-years of experience and expertise of our teams in both strategic and tactical aspects of business operations. With this approach, we are able to offer a highly focused and dedicated level of services that is continuously monitored and reported to our customers by our Control Tower team. We have thus managed to enable our customers to focus on their core competencies while we cater to most of their logistics services. This is being appreciated by our customers. Going forward, we intend to strengthen these aspects of our services with implementation of a host of technology suites and mobile applications to be able to raise the information flow levels to near real time basis.
Presently, how many people are engaged with the company? Do you plan to increase this number in the near future?
Today, BVC is a company with service offerings in almost all aspects of third party logistics services. We have around 430 full time employees and an additional 80 odd contract employees on outsourced payroll. Training and skill enhancement is a key employee capability initiative that our HR team is engaged in. This being a continuous process, our employees also can look forward to career advancement opportunities within the group. In addition, we encourage our business heads and team leads to continuously mentor their team members as also cross-functional teams in multi-disciplines. This gives us good bench strength for many tasks within our operations and thus we are always ready to face any kind of contingency. Our recruitment policy, going forward too, will be need based and the above practices will be in vogue.
Tell us about the company’s corporate plans.
For starters, we have taken a host of steps to enhance the work culture at BVC, for we believe that to be able to achieve the ambitious growth plans that we have chalked up for ourselves, we need to have the entire company to be on the same page. As part of our growth plan, we also believe that we need to be present in a few geographies outside India, to be able to provide a very holistic service experience to our customers. Towards this, we are setting up our first overseas office in Singapore shortly followed by a few more locations in Asia and Africa.