Lohia Warehouse was Established in 2007 to fulfill the demands of the Indian retail industry, especially the multi-brand modern retail formats. The company is a strategic business unit of the Lohia Group. In an interview with Images Retail, Pyush Lohia, Managing Director of Lohia Warehouse, reveals his assessment of the Indian retail industry.
What is your assessment of the Indian retail industry as it stands today, especially the back-end operations and logistics?
Indian market has high complexities in terms of a wide geographic spread and distinct consumer preferences varying by each region. This necessitates a need for localisation even within the geographic zones.
While India presents a huge potential market for organised retail players, significant challenges prove a hurdle in faster growth, such as unskilled manpower, small ticket sizes, little use of IT systems, existence of counterfeit goods and improper infrastructure.
What are the challenges in back-end operations and product sourcing that modern Indian retailers face?
The biggest challenge in sourcing today is to provide something new and innovative. You cannot sell run- of-the-mill products to the customer all the time. Constant innovation, maintaining good product quality and providing valuable returns to customers are the crucial to good product sourcing. You always have to stay two steps ahead of your consumer and surprise him with your innovations.
Other than this, finding the right location with the right rental for stores has been a challenge for all retailers. Opening a new store requires a lot of licenses, which have to be obtained from different government departments. This leads to considerable lead time in opening up of new stores. This in a way supports traditional unorganised retail and makes products costly for modern organised retail.
Also, lack of good infrastructure, unskilled manpower, and long transit time are some of the other challenges faced by Indian retailers.
What kind of back-end services and support does Lohia Warehouse provide to modern retail businesses?
Lohia Warehouse carries out procurement in the world’s most important sourcing hubs including China. We develop products to maximise customer satisfaction and provide constant innovation. Our team of merchandisers sources good-quality competitive products globally.
Lohia Warehouse guarantees professional order processing at every step, from precise pre-production specifications to delivery at the destination. Compliance with top quality standards is a priority for us. Along with this, we provide repackaging and relabeling services as per Indian norms. We also provide warehouse services in which we break bulk loads into part loads and ensure timely replenishment to our customers.
Lohia Warehouse provides flexible financial services to optimise clients’ cash flow from operations and simplify the administration of their supplier/vendor balances.
We aim to ensure the highest quality standards across all products through our quality development and quality assurance services.
Why do you think the kind of services that you provide are needed by Indian retailers? How do they benefit?
We have an expert team of merchants that focuses on constant R&D for various categories and develop merchandise according to changing trends and the ever-evolving needs of customers. A retailer’s primary objective is to satisfy their customer’s needs. We help them in achieving the same and thereby develop a mutual relationship. Our services and solutions are shaped by each customer’s individual needs and business requirements.
Also, our global sourcing helps us in providing international standard products at competitive prices. This helps big retailers in differentiating themselves from the traditional mom-and-pop stores.
We assure timely delivery of goods to store or customer’s warehouse. We provide our customers financial support to reduce or optimise their cash flow from operations and simplify the administration of their supplier and vendor balances.
We also offer VPS (vendor payment service), a one-of-a-kind service that boosts their working capital to their specific need, and reduces the need for any administrative follow-up of vendor and supplier payments and unpaid balances.
What are the major trends in the warehousing services globally? In what are Indian companies lagging behind these?
When we talk about warehousing globally, it does not merely mean simple warehousing, that is, storing goods. It also includes logistics, quality maintenance, repackaging of goods and so on. In other countries such as the US, the UK and Taiwan where organised retail is above 90 per cent of the total retail industry, warehousing is of very advanced level in terms of technology (cold storage, computerised bay management, pallet packaging), skilled manpower and infrastructure.
In India, both advanced technologies and good infrastructure are scarce. Improper modes of transportation, lack of technological development for specific retail needs, absence of skilled manpower and so on are acting as major hindrances in the growth of the Indian retail industry.