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Prozo: Democratizing access to enterprise-grade, future-ready supply chains

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We speak with Dr. Ashvini Jakhar, founder and CEO – Prozo – an integrated supply chain company enabling fast fulfillment through its pan-India warehousing and freight network, powered by an end-to-end supply chain tech stack and control tower

Quite a journey! From serving the Indian Navy and playing a pivotal role in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami to launching Prozo! Key learnings from your previous role that have helped you establish Prozo?

In the Indian Navy, one understood the importance of discipline, leadership and teamwork, be it leading the post-tsunami rehabilitation projects in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands or leading medical operations from the front during the 26/11 anti-terrorist operations.
Furthermore, both Navy and consulting both require a high level of Agility and Resilience to adapt to the ever-changing environment. These skills are particularly useful in the fast-paced, complex supply chain ecosystem, where the ability to pivot and adapt quickly is

During my stint with McKinsey and Co, customer centricity and delight was a key tenant while serving clients. Also, I got the opportunity to work with promoters of leading Indian
businesses. I was highly impressed and motivated by these interactions. While I
always wanted to build something from scratch, these interactions made me finally take the decision to start out as an entrepreneur.

The gap in the supply chain domain that you wish to bridge with Prozo?

In this fast paced and changing environment, with ever-increasing online and offline demand channels, and increasing expectations of B2B, B2C and D2C customers for fast- fulfillment. To cater to this complexity, supply chains are becoming complex. Brands are stitching together solutions from multiple technology, warehousing and logistics partners. This decreases their supply chain’s agility, elasticity, accuracy and control while making
supply chains more prone to various leakages and less cost-effective, besides increasing the brand’s effort to manage so many supply chain partners.

At Prozo, we’re working towards democratizing access to enterprise-grade, future-ready supply chains. Our solutions are multi-channel, end-to-end and plug and play; be it on the supply chain technology, warehousing or logistics front. Brands can choose any one or multiple solutions when they start working with us. Brands can choose to take our services on a cost-plus or pay-per-use commercial model. On a pay-per-use model, brands pay only for the services they use on a per unit/order basis. Our plug and play solutions, along with a pay-per-use commercial model allows brands of all sizes to use our enterprise-grade
services without having to invest upfront in capex or opex.

The e-commerce industry has been witnessing an unprecedented boom and there seems to be no stopping. Each day we have a brand coming up. Based on your experience over the years, what are the most common mistakes new brands, especially the D2C brands make when it comes to logistics and supply chain
management? Can brands, especially solve these challenges by outsourcing their SCM and warehousing needs?

As the e-commerce industry continues to boom, we’re seeing a surge in new brands entering the market. While it’s exciting to see so many innovative companies come along, navigating logistics and supply chain can be a challenge for many D2C startups.

Few sub-optimal decisions that D2C brands make sometimes are:

  • Working with multiple tech and ops vendors, leading to increased complexity
  • Lack of visibility in supply chain operations, leading to poor customer experience
  • Sub-Optimal Inventory Placement leading to high logistics cost
  • Blocking working capital in inventory to serve different demand channels
  • Investing upfront in setting up own supply chain capabilities

What does Prozo have to offer when we talk of SCM and WaaS for new
brands, especially the D2C brands?

Prozo offers end-to-end supply chain solutions to enable fast fulfillment for emerging D2C Brands, SMEs and large enterprises. Our full-stack, tech-enabled solutions allow us to offer best-in-class TATs and SLAs in a multi-channel (B2B + D2C + B2C) supply chain environment.

Our 4 service lines ensure brands have access to the most-comprehensive full-stack service.

Prozo Fulfillment Network (PFN): A pan-India network of over 30 multi-channel, tech-enabled, ready-to-move-in warehouses measuring over ~1.5 million sq. ft., unified by our
tech stack, Prozo Warehousing and Logistics Platform (PWLP).

Prozo Logistics Network (PLN): A pan-India logistics network covering 20,000+ pin codes and all types of freight services; D2C E-commerce Freight, FTL (full truck load), PTL (Part Truck Load), or Hyperlocal Freight.

Prozo Warehousing and Logistics Platform (PWLP): A 5-part tech stack comprising
Warehouse Management System (ProWMS), Order Management System (ProOMS), Shipping Platform – ProShip, Optimisation and growth platform – ProPlanning and ProInsights, and performance management platform – Control Tower and Command Center.

Prozo Retail Network (PRN): E-commerce reseller services on over 20 online platforms. Think of this as a cloud tail of all platforms.

If we could learn more about the advantages of the Prozo Warehousing and Logistics (PWLP) SaaS platform?

Prozo’s tech stack, Prozo Warehousing and Logistics (PWLP) is a 5-part, GDPR and ISO 27001 certified SaaS platform along with a Control Tower and Command Center. This enables us to deliver best-in-class SLAs and TATs.

Our 5-SaaS products are:

1. ProOMS: Prozo’s Order Management System to unify demand from all demand channels
and to further allocate orders to relevant warehouses for fulfillment.

2. ProWMS: Prozo’s Warehousing Management System to process B2B, B2C and D2C orders seamlessly from our warehouses and to further allocate them to ProShip for shipping. It also has strong inventory controls built into it in the form of HHT-enablement, stock audits and cycle count features.

3. ProShip: Prozo’s multi-channel shipping platform that seamlessly integrates B2B and D2C freight partners for seamless shipping. Using this platform, we offer both technology and shipping services to our partner brands.

4. ProPlanning: An intelligent inventory placement tool helping brands choose the right inventory storage location to reduce their shipping cost.

5. ProInsights: An e-commerce growth product helping brands with ‘outside-in’ insights on parameters like pricing, availability, discoverability, out-of-stock rates, rating and review trends, seller analytics and other competitive intelligence aspects.

Prozo’s technology stack and control tower can easily be integrated with other WMSs and ERPs such as SAP ERP, SAP Hana, SAP One, Microsoft Dynamics, Oddo, Oracle and ERPNext, among others.

Control Tower is a performance management platform that enables us to predict and prevent SLA breaches, drive manpower productivity and make operations cost-effective. This platform gives us a real-time view into a brand’s and warehouse’s performance on critical aspects like B2C Outward TAT, B2B Outward TAT, Inwards TAT and Returns processing TAT.

In the Command Center, we consolidate live feeds of all our warehouses and monitor the same to ensure compliance on key warehousing parameters like manpower entry, dock
management, aisle management, adoption of safety norms, packing table productivity, overall manpower productivity etc. Leveraging artificial intelligence, we are able to track
various process compliances like handling of goods on the dock, wearing of PPEs or fire or smoke in the warehouse.

Considering you have clients from across sectors – how do you manage to narrow down on the nuances of each category, especially for the end-to-end solution that you offer which also includes marketplace listings?

Today, we work with ~100 brands across over 10 categories like apparel, electronics and appliances, FMCG, spare parts, home and kitchen, furniture etc. Our Tech Products – Order Management, Warehouse Management and Freight Management Systems are designed to
handle multi-category, multi-channel product flows. Moreover, we have a dedicated Central Process Excellence Team, which designs and trains our ground operations team on brand/
category-specific SOPs.

Has Prozo ventured into using AI? If yes, please elaborate for which vertical / function and how has its value added to the services being offered?

Internally, we have started using AI tools like ChatGPT for internal communication and alerts. This has given a level playing field to a lot of our employees who may not have been
adept at email/written communication, but using AI are able to communicate and articulate their thoughts effectively.

On the tech side, we’ve started using ‘Copilot’ to enable faster coding, which has led to higher productivity. By the end of the year, our target is to increase efficiency of our tech team by 50% using AI models like Copilot.

When we look at the SCM dynamics in India as compared to perhaps the US or Europe, where do we stand? Any grey areas we need to overcome?

When comparing the supply chains in India with that of the US and Europe, it’s important to note that each region has its own unique set of challenges and strengths. While the
US and Europe have well-established infrastructure, India is quickly catching up with its rapidly expanding network of highways, railways, and airports. With National Logistics Policy and GST implementation already in place, and further reforms expected, many of the major hurdles faced by the logistics sector will be eliminated.

Fast Tags have helped unclog our toll plazas, and more such interventions by the Government will further make India’s supply chains competitive. With the integration of
technology into supply chains, including AI- driven 3PL innovations and automation through
robotics, India is poised to make significant strides in the SCM landscape in the coming years. However, it’s essential to invest in training and technology to make these services more efficient and cost-effective.

While logistics cost in India is 14% of GDP vis a vis 8-9% for USA, Europe and China, we have made significant progress in the last decade, and with continued investments and reforms, we can expect to be among the best in the world in the next ten years.

You have an interesting solution for brands to help them access multiple marketplaces? Please elaborate on the same?

Leveraging Prozo Retail Network (PRN), brands can use our FBA, FBF, Seller-Flex etc. capabilities pan-India to simplify go-to-market and reduce associated timelines to list and sell on 20 marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Myntra, Tata Cliq, Meesho etc. Think of it like a Cloudtail of all platforms, wherein brands can expose a common pool of inventory on all these marketplaces.

Combining PRN with our pan-India warehousing and freight capabilities, brands get an end-to-end supply chain and distribution capabilities. With commerce becoming omnichannel, not only D2C brands, but even large enterprises are leveraging our PRN network to seamlessly integrate, list and sell on e-commerce platforms, while reducing the need to hold different pools of inventory for various demand channels, thus freeing up working capital.

Along with Prozo Retail, brands can use our SaaS product, ProInsights to get ‘outside’ insights on parameters like pricing, availability, discoverability, out-of-stock rates, rating and review trends, seller analytics and other competitive intelligence aspects. Using these insights, brands can fine-tune their e-commerce strategy and boost revenue, while plugging cost leakages.

Please take us through the journey of a brand once it comes on board with Prozo for its supply chain journey? Could you share with us a brand’s journey with you and how this association helped scale its reach and business? (this can go as a separate box in form of a case study)

A brand can start working with us choosing one or all of our services – Warehousing (ProzoFulfillmentNetwork, Freight (Prozo Logistics Network), Prozo Retail or tech stack (PWLP). Once a brand starts working with us, experiencing our service levels, they quickly take up other geographies and expand operations pan-India using our network of over 30 fulfillment centers.

Example 1: a large manufacturer of sporting goods started its relationship with Prozo with B2C warehousing and fulfillment from our facility in Noida. They then outsourced their D2C
Freight, followed by B2B warehousing and B2B freight also.

Example 2: Similarly, a large Indian conglomerate started with warehousing from one location for one of their brands with Prozo. Currently, we are serving 3 brands across 4
locations for our warehousing and Prozo Retail services.

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