- Mahindra and Mahindra Limited (M&M) is an Indian multinational automobile manufacturing corporation headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It is one of the largest vehicle manufacturers by production in India and the largest manufacturer of tractors across the world. It is a part of Mahindra Group, an Indian conglomerate.
- It was ranked as the 10th most trusted brand in India, by The Brand Trust Report, India Study 2014. It was ranked 21st in the list of top companies of India in Fortune India 500 in 2011.
- Its major competitors in the Indian market include Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Toyota, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz (Merc) and others.
Mahindra & Mahindra was set up as a steel trading company in 1945 in Ludhiana as Mahindra & Mohammed by brothers K.C. Mahindra and J.C. Mahindra and Malik Ghulam Mohammed. After India gained independence and Pakistan was formed, Mohammed emigrated to Pakistan. The company changed its name to Mahindra & Mahindra in 1948. It eventually saw business opportunity in expanding into manufacturing and selling larger MUVs, starting with assembly under licence of the Willys Jeep in India. Soon established as the Jeep manufacturers of India, the company later commenced manufacturing light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and agricultural tractors
MAHINDRA STEPPING DIGITAL MARKETING
- Mahindra & Mahindra has launched Smart Shift, a platform that connects cargo owners with transporters. The platform lets users find transporters based on the cargo weight, size and other requirements, and negotiate and seal a deal to transport it. SmartShift’s services are available via the website, smartphone app and call centre.
- The venture, named SmartShift, will be a technology-enabled load-exchange platform, the company said at a press conference in Mumbai.
- Cargo owners, both businesses and individuals, can access the SmartShift service through a mobile app available on the Android operating system, the website or a dedicated call centre. They can then connect with transporters in a manner that will save cost and time.
- SmartShift is a digitally enabled, value-added service that will benefit both cargo owners and transporters, said Pawan Goenka, executive director, Mahindra and Mahindra.
- The service launches in Mumbai on Tuesday and will be extended to 26 towns and cities over time.
- Goenka added that SmartShift will operate as a separate business (Orizonte Business Solution Ltd) and that the Mahindra Group will invest in the company as a venture capital investor. He did not rule out outside funding for the venture in the future.
HOW SMARTSHIFT APP WORKS
- The app works by providing three vehicle options to cargo owners on logging in, a three wheeler, a mini truck or a pick up, each with varying weight and dimensional capacities. On selecting a vehicle, details of load, destination address, payment option etc. are required to be entered. Cargo owners are not charged a service fee for using the platform, although they have to pay for the actual transport. The company claims to use a proprietary algorithm to automatically calculate the best price to transport these goods, as well as allow cargo owners to then change the price to their preference.
- Interesting, registered transporters can bid either higher or lower on these prices and get the job. It’s entirely up to the cargo owner which transporter to use. Cargo owners can pay for the transport either by advance payment, cash on delivery or ‘come back payment’, which lets transporters return to a convenient time and place to collect the money. Owners can book the service up to 7 days in advance, although the bidding process only begins 20 minutes before the job hour. Finally, owners can pick a system assigned transporter if they don’t want to choose, and can rate their transporters on a scale of 1-5.
EFFECTS BY SMARTSHIFT
- According to a McKinsey and Co. study, inefficiencies in logistics infrastructure cost the Indian economy an extra $45 billion, about 4.3% of gross domestic product (GDP), every year. Freight traffic will multiply 2.5 times by 2020 from the 2010 levels, further straining India’s infrastructure, the study had said.
- Kausalya Srinivasan, chief executive, SmartShift, said the need to bring in traceability and timeliness in the transport goods sector is a lot more as compared to the passenger segment. Companies such as Ola and Uber are experiencing a boom in demand for their cab services in a country where the transport infrastructure is still creaky and safe public and private commuting options are few.
- Like cab aggregator firms do not own the vehicles their customers use, Srinivasan said SmartShift will also be an asset-light, marketplace model. The company’s core target group, she added, will be small and medium enterprises.
- To be sure, the cargo aggregator market though still in a nascent statge, is not an unexplored one. It’s gaining traction slowly but steadily and has been drawing investor attention.
- On 8 October, Mumbai-based logistics company Vonken Technologies Pvt. Ltd, that operates as Quifers, raised Rs.2 crore in a round led by the Indian Angel Network (IAN) with the participation of Smile Group, an Internet group focused on consumer Internet and the media.
- Quifers aggregates light commercial vehicles to provide its services to consumers and enterprises. Currently, 200 vehicles are listed with the company, and 40-50 vehicles are added each week. It charges 15% commission on the total transaction. Quifers aims to touch Rs.1 crore in revenues, fulfil 500 orders a day and list around 500 vehicles by December.
- Another firm Porter raised $5.5 million from Sequoia and others, Shippr raised $500,000 in seed funding, while Trucksfirst raised Rs.62 crore from SAIF Partners and Singapore Post. Other start-ups in the space include names like Moovo and Karrier.
- For the Mahindra Group, the SmartShift venture is part of a broader move towards digital commerce and the digital services ecosystem. “This is just one of the start-up ideas we have internally,” Shah said. Mahindra will provide seed funding for all the start-ups in the initial stage up to Series A
Automotive alliance: Mahindra & Mahindra has been increasingly focussing on the digital aspects of transportation. In July, the company joined the Google spearheaded Open Automotive Alliance (OAA), an alliance of vehicle manufacturers and device makers from around the world that aim to bring the Android platform to cars. It had also launched two new mobile apps called – ‘The e2o connectivity app’ and ‘Life with e2o’ along with the launch of its next generation electric car Mahindra e2o. As of now, Mahindra also offers aBlueSense app which lets customers connect their phones with their vehicles via Bluetooth.
Image Credits: Mahindra