In an interview with PTI, Rastogi said the company is eyeing deeper penetration in India and Southeast Asia, growth in the Middle East, and a full-scale entry into the North American market
New Delhi: Last mile logistics company Locus was born in a studio apartment after founder and CEO Nishith Rastogi realized that RideSafe, an application using a real-time route Deviation Detection engine he created to provide women with a safe commuting experience, had applications in other contexts.
Locus, today, is a platform that provides proprietary routing, packing and scheduling algorithms, helping e-commerce and delivery companies reduce logistical costs.
While AWS cloud gives unmatched flexibility and scalability, Locus optimises routes and provides real-time tracking that not just maximizes daily deliveries but minimizes travel distances, leading to reduced carbon footprints. Its clientele includes industry giants such as Unilever, Nestle, Tata Group and BlueDart.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: Could you offer some insights into Locus’ growth over the past one to two years, and its evolution? How have revenue/sales numbers, customer base, and usage scaled up during this period?
We have observed steady growth and success in our business health, global expansion plans, new customer wins, and above all, in delivering customer satisfaction consistently. Our dedicated teams have been effectively addressing unique logistics challenges for businesses, especially in the retail and third-party logistics (3PL) sectors.
This resulted in strong margins for us, marking the completion of our initial start-up scaling phase. We expanded our presence in key geographies, including Mexico and the Middle East, and further deepened its existing foothold in the United States and Indonesian markets.
From a product innovation perspective, we’ve also strategically transitioned from a singular product orientation to a comprehensive platform-based suite. This pivotal move propels organizations towards unmatched all-mile efficiency.
Q: What is the main USP of the solution, and what business problems are you helping customers solve? What are the major industries within logistics that the Locus solution caters to?
Locus offers a market-leading dispatch management platform for end-to-end logistics fulfilment, serving a diverse range of industries including e-commerce, retail, third-party logistics, and courier and express parcel companies. With a global clientele of 200+ clients spanning 30+ nations, we’ve facilitated an impressive 850M+ deliveries worldwide.
Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and crafted by our data scientists, our technology navigates complex supply chains, ensuring optimal order fulfilment with minimal resource expenditure.
Q: How are you looking to expand operations in the coming two to three years? What are the investments, and strategy supporting the expansion plan?
Building on our growth momentum, we now look forward to driving our medium-term growth through two main channels: expanding our partnership ecosystem through new business and technology development and building additional capabilities that enable customers to solve their logistics challenges.
These efforts will drive deeper penetration for us in India and Southeast Asia, accelerate growth in the Middle East, and pave the way for a full-scale entry into the North American market.
Q: What is the tech/digital infrastructure that Locus has in place to run its operations?
Being a software company, we deploy robust and advanced digital infrastructure to power our operations, enabling us to deliver innovative solutions to our customers. Many intricate technologies and applications work in the background to power our platform. Locus’ core infrastructure foundation rests on AWS cloud computing, with the added capability to deploy private stacks for specific customer needs. Our data science and AI algorithms are written in Python while our backend services are Java-based.
Q: Could you explain the complex layers of Locus’ solution, maybe through an example, and how has it helped users in terms of cost reduction, operational efficiency, or any other metrics?
In a broad view, our unified logistics optimization software i.e. Dispatch Management Platform covers five aspects or modules:
1. Fulfillment Automation, where advanced algorithms are leveraged to automatically schedule daily pick-ups, and deliveries, and manage cancellations and returns most efficiently while maintaining service level agreements (SLA).
2. Dispatch Planning, which delivers a comprehensive solution suite to bring efficiencies at scale by reducing human dependencies on key processes like parcel sorting, route planning and optimization, and capacity management.
3. Delivery Orchestration, where fulfilment across a vast network of trusted carriers for diverse fleets according to desired costs, SLAs, etc. is automated. Locus’ Shipflex and Transporter Management are the two solutions here.
4. Track and Trace, which grants end-to-end real-time visibility. This enables businesses to respond quickly to unexpected situations on-ground, keeps track of driver availability in real-time, facilitates the sharing of last-minute updates for existing routes, etc.
5. Insights and Analytics that uncover hidden inefficiencies and new growth opportunities with powerful analytics engines over 250+ key operational metrics, etc. It also presents these insights through customized and intuitive dashboards.
One of our legacy customers and India’s leading healthcare platform leverages our robust software to drive end-to-end dispatch automation. The previously faced challenges such as manual batch data transfer for dispatch planning, sub-optimal order allocations, and poor service level agreement adherence due to non-compliant routes, have now with the use of our solutions seen a 25 per cent reduction in driver-related costs, a 50-hour reduction in monthly planning time per team, and a 90 per cent improvement in service level agreement compliance.
Q: How has cloud technology enabled you in your operations? What role does AWS play so far as your infrastructure is concerned?
Cloud technology has fundamentally transformed our operational landscape, revolutionizing how we provide value to our customers. Its impact spans multiple dimensions. For example, the cloud gives us unmatched flexibility and scalability. Based on demand fluctuations, we can easily scale and de-scale our operations at our convenience, which essentially helps in cost savings.
Moreover, the cloud has enabled us to seamlessly collaborate with remote teams across geographies and has helped us deploy our services globally without a lag, ensuring we are able to deliver consistent customer experience.
Lastly, possibly the most critical aspect, cloud technology’s disaster recovery and backup capabilities guarantee our business continuity, even in the face of unexpected challenges.
Our infrastructure is strongly built on and well-integrated with AWS. It’s actually playing a key role in shaping our technology. AWS hosts most of our apps, stores data handles computing tasks, and even supports our microservices approach. Essential services like Amazon S3 and Amazon RDS manage our data, while AWS EC2 instances power our applications.
It also aids our Development Operations (DevOps) practices and ensures strong security. Our partnership with AWS has made us agile, scalable, and secure. It has transformed how we work, improved customer experiences, and laid the foundation for our growth and innovation.
We’re also gearing up to harness GenAI capabilities within Locus. We are already using LLMs to generate marketing content, such as blog posts. This helped to save time and resources for the marketing team and to ensure that the content was high-quality and engaging. Other upcoming initiatives include automating RFP completion and generating improved product specifications to drive efficiency and excellence across the organization
Q: How has AWS enabled your business to stay agile and innovate? Can you list some of the business benefits of running on AWS?
AWS has been a cornerstone of our cloud-based infrastructure for many reasons:
1. Its comprehensive services offerings spanning computing, storage, specialized solutions like ML, diverse computing options and databases, have enabled us to construct a seamlessly integrated and streamlined architecture.
2. The nature of the data we process necessitates stringent security measures. By leveraging AWS’s secure and compliant infrastructure, we alleviated our concerns surrounding data protection and regulatory adherence.
3. With features like AWS Cost Explorer and Budgets, we garnered greater visibility and control over our cloud spending, which is crucial for the management of our operational costs.
4. Lastly, AWS’ TAM and customer success teams act as an extension of our own teams, reinforcing their commitment that they are not just a technology provider but an invested partner in our growth journey.