Startup’s fleet management solutions enter market during time of rapid growth
As quickly as the technology landscape is changing in the U.S., the same can’t be said for India. It is changing, for sure, but the rate of acceptance of technological solutions is slower and the result has been a developing logistics network that is struggling to keep up with the modern demands of freight movement.
The Indian freight forwarding market is large, accounting for between $25 and $30 billion a year, according to Novonous, a business intelligence firm. Trucking accounts for about 63% of that. However, fewer than 3% of logistics providers have fleets over 100 vehicles, leading to a very fragmented industry.
“Less than 4% of trucking companies have adopted tech innovations to ease and optimize their operations,” Luke Sequeira, founder & CEO of Numadic, tells FreightWaves. “We are leagues behind nations like the U.S. and Canada in this regard. However, times are changing. Eventually, it will no longer be an option to adopt technology.”
Located in Panjim, Goa, India, Numadic was founded in 2016 with the idea that it could simplify the way Indian transport companies communicate with each other. Sequeira has a background in building successful transportation companies, having been part of the team in Canada that created fleet management software company FleetRover.
“I have a background in engineering and UX design,” Sequeira explains. “I’m obsessed with math, graphs and maps and spent over a decade building mission-critical applications in Canada and India.”
Sequeira saw an opportunity in India that Numadic is trying to fill.
“Fleet tracking is a core component of fleet management - a market that is growing at nearly 24% CAGR which is roughly 3 times India’s GDP growth,” he says. “Right now, logistics contributes to about 5% of Indian GDP but costs more than 14%. Inefficiencies are a significant portion of that cost. As transportation grows rapidly to keep up with demand, analog models of management will fall far behind. Investing in smart fleet tracking and management is the only way to remain competitive and scale operations sustainably.”
Numadic offers GPS systems, but also more detailed fleet management systems.
“At Numadic we believe we you can’t manage what you can’t measure,” Sequeira explains. “GPS trackers are sufficient if the priority is low-effort, accurate navigation. Today, in a complex global marketplace of steep demand, just in time deliveries and changing government regulations, business owners need more visibility.
“Our analytical dashboards sync with smart sensors to report actionable data - they calculate actual ETAs, optimize routing, record fuel usage patterns,” he adds. “Effectively, they are proactive allies to their human counterparts; rather than simply being informational, they are transactional. Telematics dashboards are the frameworks to modern, efficient operating models. Our clients are cognizant of this.”
Numadic’s client base reflects the diversity of the Indian trucking market and includes 3PL’s, fleet operators and large transport companies.
“We cater to enterprise clients with widespread needs and small fleet operators with niche demands,” Sequeira says. “Ultimately, our solutions can simplify logistics across all industries. Clients will continue to be diverse. The fact that a few tailored solutions can benefit these versatile business models proves that they are fundamental necessities.”
According to Sequeira, telematics installations are projected to grow to 1.4 million by 2022 in commercial vehicles. With that growth comes growing pains, some of which is attributed to the infrastructure currently in place, but that, too, is changing rapidly.
“Typically, tracking technology communicates by satellite through GPS systems and that data is transmitted over cellular networks. We do contend with delays and inefficiencies. But India’s connected network gets a little stronger every day,” he says. “[The Indian Space Research Organization] just launched India’s heaviest rocket yet. They’ve launched a series of rockets and satellites in the last couple of years that will significantly improve connectivity across all satellite informed devices. We’ll also soon see the launch of NAVIC - India’s own GPS network. Just as logistics growth outpaces the Indian economy, infrastructure is stretching to facilitate this expansion.”
As the infrastructure builds and the slow rate of acceptance of new technologies quickens, Sequeira says Numadic is thriving because of its solutions.
“There’s an aversion to that much change, at first. However, we’re able to hedge these obstacles by creating low-cost, simple solutions that don’t overwhelm or over-promise,” he notes. “Our clients can easily train their teams to use the system. They can identify growing needs and we’ll tailor the solution for them. Rather than selling temporary fixes, we engage in an ongoing partnership to ensure our clients are successful in meeting their goals consistently.”
Like the rest of the still-blooming Indian transport market, Numadic is positioning itself to thrive.
“We are unique in our positioning and the solution that we offer,” Sequeira says. “But, there are some good companies doing good work out there. We work closely with some of them, including Freight Bazaar, FR8 and several other technology companies in the logistics space in India. Considering the size and scale of the market we are catering to, many of our current competitors will actually become collaborators or customers in the medium-long term.”