Thirukumaran Nagarajan and Vasudevan Chintambi, the founders Agritech startup as of 2015, has successfully built a technology-enabled supply chain for fresh agricultural produce, delivering 1,400 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per day.
This, Bangalore headquartered B2B agritech startup Ninjacart has increased delivery accuracy rates across the year to 99.88 percent in four years.
Thirukumaran Nagarajan talks about how he, along with his sixth venture, Ninjakart, met the challenge on a massive scale, breaking the supply chain, particularly refreshing. For this, camps were held overnight at the fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of Bengaluru with only one purpose. Mind: Detecting Complex Supply Chains.
We started operations in June 2015 as a hyper-local grocery delivery startup. But in September 2015, we decided to become B2B suppliers from farmers to Kiran Bhandar. This was the most difficult decision. And the reason we decided that we realized that the hyper-local delivery model was not very important to our consumers; And consumers were coming to us only for discounts. So we did an experiment. We have a 5% deeper discount than our online competitors in a week, doubling our sales. The following week, we offered a discount of 5% less than our competitors and our sales nearly halved. Then we realized that we need to quit tnis game because it is not going to last long.
WE EXPLORE THE PROBLEM AND CRACK THEM…!
In the meantime, our B2B model (which was just a pilot) was doing really well. We felt that both the farmer and the grocery store were happy – because after finishing the middleman they got more money and better quality vegetables. And bear fruit. So we contacted our board — Kalpana, we are telling them that we want to contact our board – imagine, we are telling them that we want to discontinue our primary business model for which we got funding; And branch out. Luckily, the board heard and accepted us. How did we handle things when we really got deficient? By working crazy hours. Me and my cofounder were working for close to 18 20 hours a day so that the first business could be shut down smoothly, even we arranged for the second one to be unloaded. In lesson F I have said that I will keep listening to your customers because they communicate a lot. Another is to be quick in making your decisions. Because not making a decision is also a decision. Deciding fast is necessary. For example, we delayed the system of financing our farmers for the longest time. Till then we used to hear only bad things. How are the credit risks of farmers; How big banks also stay away from financing them; The ground reality of poverty and heavy indebtedness. So we kept monitoring it. Finally in this January 2018, we decided to give Rs 2 lakh to meet the needs of four farmers (Rs 50,000 per farmer) who grew chillies, carrots and beans. And you will not believe that we have made a profit of 5 lakh rupees. So, we are considering it. But it has missed an opportunity – as we had not started earlier.
START-UP AND SCALE-UP
Things started in the same city, Bengaluru, where the founders fixed the entire process of buying vegetables from farmers and supplying them to shops. Investors like Qualcomm Ventures and Excel placed bets on him, and Thiru says this was due to his confidence in the team.
Thiru says that he had to fix a lot of things in the supply chain before he could show enough growth for investors to be interested. There was no room for error, and NineCountart took about 18 months to correct the art and science of the supply chain, as opposed to a typical ecommerce setup.“The main thing about e-commerce is aggregation, sorting and searching. In our supply chain, none of these things are really there, ”adds Thiru, adding
Today, the presence of Ninjacart in seven cities has a distribution error rate that is almost negligible – 0.2 to 0.3 percent. It is amazing that they pick up, sort and distribute thousands of tons every 12 hours. A business model for a plentiful crop for both consumers and farmers. The farmer benefits greatly from this. “We buy directly from farmers and they earn 15-20 percent more revenue because the inventory risk is related to Unnikart as we produce from them,” Thiru says.
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