Corporate Review

PurpleDrone: Accelerating India’s logistics & warehousing revolution with the influx of innovative solutions

PurpleDrone: Accelerating India’s logistics & warehousing revolution with the influx of innovative solutions​

Over the years, the logistics sector has been the constant fuel, boosting India’s quest for being a manufacturing giant.

Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the role of logistics into a principal one; it is not in the supporting role anymore.

Past years have looped in rapid growth for the logistics industry on the grounds of improved infrastructure facilities, increase in retail & eCommerce, rising domestic as well as global consumption, and seamless access to the global market.

Currently, it contributes more than $200 billion to the national economy and employs more than 40 million people. 

Upgrading the country’s logistics landscape, logistics start-ups in India have gained a substantial foothold and new entrants are gaining traction in the industry.

As multiple challenges continue to mire the industry, some companies have successfully seized the opportunity to create their mark on the most vital areas of disruption in the logistics industry by leveraging the power of digital technology and delivering a tailor-made menu of services.

And that’s where the duo of Capt. Aditya Singh and Manjit Singh Kathuria thought of shaking the industry’s competitive dynamics and launched a robust logistics platform to unlock the potential of the sector, PurpleDrone-India’s leading logistics start-up that channelizes the science of warehousing to deliver the ultimate end-to-end quality logistics and warehousing solutions.

Torchbearers of PurpleDrone

The transition from military to entrepreneurship brings its challenges; everyone cannot make their mark.

But a few like Capt. Aditya Singh, grab the opportunity to serve the nation, again, during their second innings.

A gold medalist (IMA) recipient and an Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP) degree holder from IIM Indore, Capt. Aditya Singh carries 32 years of expertise in Logistics, Retail, eCommerce, & Manufacturing across various officiates in Retail including Store Operations & Supply Chain Operations. 

Seasoned Supply chain executive, with leadership experience in both startups and large, global corporations, Manjit Singh Kathuria brings to the table a 22-year old proficiency earned across multiple sectors, including Logistics, Retail, Beverages, Cold-chain, and Fashion & Ecommerce.

Storing the passion for building innovative solutions Manjit has designed, developed and managed highly complex warehouses across the country and has planned & executed Surface Logistics networks.

It’s always intriguing to see such ingenious minds who are not only addressing the current hindrances associated with the industry but are also creating futuristic solutions by breaking new grounds.

And this approach took us on a journey to explore the minds of these co-founders and their journey to make a difference in their industry.

We interviewed them to learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers.

How did it all start?

Starting off PurpleDrone has always been about revolutionizing the logistics Industry.

I think the industry didn’t need another similar logistics player offering the monotonous service framework.

I met Manjit during the initial phase of my professional journey. We both started in the industry in 1999 at Safeexpress’ Delhi Hub.

Afterwards, we got the opportunity to explore the know-how of the Logistics via the JIT (Just in time) project with Maruti Industries.

To yield industry-rich expertise, we parted our ways; Manjit moved with Adidas, Coke, Reliance Retail, & Snapdeal, whereas I got associated with Seco Tools, JCB India, Reliance Retail, Snapdeal & Delhivery and gained major exposure towards Retail (Store Operations & SCM) & E-commerce SCM. 

The career exposure widened our horizon to multiple industries like Manufacturing, Retail, E-commerce, Apparel & footwear, Agro Industries, Milk, Cold Chains, Solar & Pharma and Surface freight, to name a few.

The ideation

Warehousing forms approx. 30% of the total logistics market and is the most sector of the industry. Throughout our professional journey, both Manjit & I witnessed how highly fragmented the market is. The absence of skilled workforce, limited infusion of technology, higher costs and market domination have always hindered the growth of the industry.
With the Indian market booming, brands had to contend with prohibitively expensive and inept service providers, which didn’t make much business sense as it eats their time and pocket as well, thus leading them to handle logistics in-house.
This idea got us by and the struggle to find an expert, cost-effective and well-formulated warehousing solution stirred us to plot the foundation of PurpleDrone in 2017. We have geared up, with time, with the help of technology, and are now addressing the new-age requirements.

PurpleDrone at a Glance

We take immense pride in calling ourselves an Execution company leveraging in-house state-of-the art technology. Technology sits at the core of our heart and the pulse of our technology runs on the algorithms used in AI to ensure a reduction in RTO (Returns) shipments for companies selling online. Our humble beginnings one client, a Warehouse of 15000 sq. ft. and a team of 5 people has now transformed into a clientele of more than a dozen industry-leading clients, a Warehousing space of over 2,00,000 sq. ft. and a team size of over 200. Our dedication, industry-rich expertise and technology dexterity has fruited well. We recorded a rolling revenue of 30 Cr per annum as of the year ending 20-21. Over the years, we have expanded our reach across 28 cities in PAN India to cater services from Fulfilment, Distribution centres, to Last-mile delivery, Order processing (Online & offline), Yard management and Reverse auctioning (for Logistics services) to leading brands like Asort, Adidas, Benetton, DBA, Emami, Baidyanath, Orient Bell Tiles, to name a few. Furthermore, we are providing an Omnichannel last-mile delivery for Lenskart and are even looking at exploring our global footprints with them. The team is also executing the yard management systems for Orient bell tiles.

Leveraging Technology

We at PurpleDrone has always been passionate about augmenting technology with business with a strong focus on delivering quality services and creating our own mark in the industry.

Some of our salient services & solutions include:

Tailor-made Warehouse Management Solution

The star of our innovative solutions portfolio, our WMS is extremely future-proof and comes with the flexibility to adapt and evolve with the changing needs and latest trend of MFC (Micro-fulfilment centres).

It can be customized for any type of Warehouses, Distribution centres and fulfilment centres.

Our technology can blend with any eCommerce and Market platforms and their ERP.

This gives us an extra edge to have the ability to pick any order from any platform, identify the best inventory location for the order (even a store), pick, pack and deliver.

It could be easily combined with all the major eCommerce marketplace platforms like Amazon, Snapdeal, Myntra, Flipkart, Magneto, Shopify, Woo Commerce, Shopigyplus and many others.

We ensure that our solutions can easily match future requirements and configure with individual’s needs and hence, our WMS can also be integrated on courier partners platforms, such as Safexpress, Delhivery, Xpressbees, Ecom-express and others.

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How do you see the global logistics market shaping up in few years down the line?

We are observing a significant increase in the Hyperlocal Omnichannel deliveries, incited by surging customer preferences and needs and the advent of innovations in electric vehicles and stronger batteries.

The Pandemic has also served as a breeding ground of new opportunities as there has been a major shift in the digits of people adopting the eCommerce way.

In the coming years, smaller electrical vehicles will be the mode assisting in last-mile delivery.

For instance, Ola is coming up with good e-Scooters(source: Autocar India). 

Along with this, a new trend of MFC (Micro fulfilment centres) is picking up across the globe.

We see a small tweak here in India. Let us call them Mini Fulfilment centres.

We believe that the three major functions in Retail (Modern Retail, Ecommerce or traditional) say, SCM, Merchandising and Store Operations cannot afford to work in any organization. 

Modern Retail giants like Walmart, Tesco, Reliance Retail, Tata Q, Spencers are best geared up to take the challenges of Amazons & Flipkarts. 

We believe that if the back offices of the Modern retail can work as Mini Fulfilment Centres, then this challenge would be interesting to watch for.

However, it will be crucial to keep this back-office inventory separate from the store Inventory and managed separately.   

Road to Future

We are betting on the MFC (Micro/Mini Fulfilment Centres) for any client who wishes to leverage on their entire inventory with orders coming from any platform, creating customer delight by hyper-local instant delivery. And, that too, with a promise to reduce RTO on an ongoing basis.

Words of Wisdom

Supply Chain Management (SCM) must be taken as a passion. Inventory must always be on wheels. Always book your losses ASAP. Do not procrastinate for yearend work by the finance team. A true SCM professional never lets the value of the product or service gets destroyed. An SCM professional can and should never work in a silo. The value must be added at every step and should be quantified and measured for continuous improvement.



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