Connectivity is of utmost importance for logistics
Sarita Sharma, cofounder of Orangestar Logistics, believes that the logistics sector in India has shown its true potential owing to technological advancements and recent introduction of 5G network services. Speaking with IBT exclusively, Sarita says that her company is constantly adapting to the latest technology to offer real-time tracking updates to its customers.
Photo Source: Sarita Sharma, Orangestar Logistics
IBT: The logistics industry in India has a handful of women entrepreneurs. What led you to enter this industry?
Sarita Sharma: In 2005-06, I shifted to Delhi to pursue my MBA. It was at this time when I got a job at a logistics company and initially worked as telesales executive. Subsequently, I moved to field sales. Being in logistics gives you an exposure to every field such as pharmaceuticals, textiles, and one can gain insights about every industry.
And whichever business you maybe into, logistics plays a key role. In the end, you are sending goods of our customers to their clients. In logistics, you are instrumental in increasing the business of a company. I joined TNT in 2006 and then gradually moved up the ladder from field sales to key account manager. Over the course of next few years I worked in different segments of freight forwarding, including shipping, airways, warehousing. And while working for other companies, I could identify gaps within the logistics segment. This is when I decided to start my own firm. Initially there was resistance from my family since this business involves higher risk. But with every order I received, ever parcel that I picked up, I felt very proud of myself.
IBT: What were the initial challenges with setting up your own logistic firm?
Sarita Sharma: In the initial days, my focus was fixed on getting clients and retaining them. We opened our first branch in Bhikaji Cama here in New Delhi for 1.5 years and then moved on to a bigger space in Mahipalpur. Currently, we are in a 3,000 sq. ft. space, which is an office cum warehouse facility. Whatever challenges came our way, we took it head on. We were able to achieve all this by delivering quality services, which not only led to customer retention, but also addition of over a 100-150 customers in a span of over 10 years.
IBT: You established the company in 2015, in a pre-Covid era. How did you channelize company operations during the pandemic?
Sarita Sharma: During the pandemic, I think the logistics was one of the few sectors where business opportunities multiplied. And every business needs logistics. At that time, ease of doing business and ensuring supply chain of products was every unit’s priority. And the complete lockdown was just for two months. But during that period, commodity prices surged while storage space was severely restricted. This fuelled the demand for logistics in India.
One has to be adept at handling both good and bad times. Fortunately, our clients trusted us and that trust paid off. We sailed through a difficult period and fulfilled all the orders we received, delivering goods throughout the northern belt.
IBT: What is the kind of client base you have developed, and what are your plans for business expansion?
Sarita Sharma: Our major clientele is from fashion apparels, followed by printing, automotive, telecom and equipment. We have over 250 clients as of today. During Covid, we could not expand our customer base and focused on clients we already had. Our major client base is in North India and Delhi NCR. But this year, we are planning to expand our operations to other cities like Mumbai, Pune and parts of North India. We want to explore every field where logistics services are required. We cater to a small document to 100-200 kg shipments. So, we will not shy away from exploring new industry segments.
Currently, we do not own any fleet of vehicles and mostly tie up with transport companies. We are into international logistics. So, for that we have tie ups with vessel companies or carriers like airlines or shipping lines. To deliver it to the carrier destination, we have collaborated with local transport companies.
IBT: Out of the 100+ client base that you have, how many are from the MSME segment? What is the scale of your overseas operations?
Sarita Sharma: It is a healthy mix of both big brands and small business. In terms of overseas operations, we offer our services to all 220 countries. We cater from small documents to heavier shipments of any width bracket , and can handle any project cargo. If our customer has to import anything from the client or vice versa, we can do that as well, via courier, airways or sea. We are fully equipped in terms of exports and imports.
IBT: In terms of technological advancements, what kind of upgradations have you brought into the business?
Sarita Sharma: Technology is very important and we are constantly working towards adoption. We are working on having an in-house software to connect customers with their shipments. Clients will be able to get real-time update of their shipments. We are mainly in the B2B segment, but also building an app to enter into the B2C segment to deliver small parcels