Having registered strong growth year-on-year since its inception in terms of the number of packages handled, geographies covered and clients handled, DTDC is an established courier and cargo brand. In an interview, Subhasish Chakraborty, Founder & CMD, DTDC Courier and Cargo Ltd shares his view about how franchising has contributed in the brand’s growth and success.
Priyanka Rai (PR): Share with us the inception, growth and success of DTDC Courier And Cargo Ltd.
Subhasish Chakraborty (SC): India’s communication scenario was witnessing a major change during 90’s, that resulted into the conceptualisation of DTDC in 1990. Since its inception DTDC has always registered strong growth year-on-year in terms of the number of packages handled, geographies covered and clients handled. It pioneered DTDC’s unique franchise-based business model and has facilitated the creation of the organization’s formidable reach in India, as well as cultivated entrepreneurship opportunities for its partners.
DTDC has been recognised and awarded by various organisations as one of India’s top brands. Whether being recognised as an “Indian Power Brand” or emerging as the “Most Trusted Brand” in the Logistics space, DTDC has achieved it all in the last few years.
PR: How has been your experience in the entrepreneurial world so far?
SC: I started DTDC with little to no financial support, no backing of Godfathers established in the business and no significant prior experience in the industry. The most important mantra in entrepreneurship is to believe in yourself, and to create a group of people around yourself who share your dream. This helps increase stakeholders and make it a collective movement. I believe in that use 110 per cent of the resources that are available to you.
PR: What inspired the brand to take the franchise route? When did you opt for the franchise route?
SC: The key challenge in the field of Courier industry was to the creation of a sizeable network geographically as well as capital generation for the envisaged growth. So I decided to grow the company with the help of a unique franchise-based business model that would allow us to build a large geographical reach in a relatively shorter period as well as help realize the entrepreneurial dreams of many small-time businessmen from all over the country including those from the remotest parts.
PR: What all services do you offer? What is the USP of DTDC Courier And Cargo Ltd that makes it different from other courier services?
SC: DTDC offers products that address all logistics-related needs of its clients, ranging from express documents to heavy cargo, from domestic premium products to international delivery, and from supply chain solutions to warehousing.
Geographically, DTDC is present all over India. It is the second-largest Logistics player in India, after India Post and covering nearly all districts and tehsils amounting to over 10,000 pin-codes. Apart from this, DTDC services to over 240 international locations through its own offices, subsidiaries, joint ventures or business associates. The company has its own offices in US, UK, UAE, Canada, China, Singapore and master franchisees in Nepal, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh Kenya and Australia.
PR: How many franchise centres does the DTDC presently has? Brief us on the future plans regarding franchise expansion of DTDC Courier And Cargo Ltd?
SC: Currently, DTDC has over 6000 franchises all over India. This number is ever-growing and we aim at a 5-10% network expansion each year. Today, a few sectors such as E-commerce in India are charting a steep growth trajectory heavily fuelled by the growing demand from B and C towns and rural areas. As we tap into these locations for their increasing logistical needs, including Premium Services such as time-defined and 24-hour delivery services, we need to establish more and more franchises to cater to these needs in an effective way. Furthermore, we are actively looking at franchise expansion in International locations, and have already established channel partners in US, UK, Canada and Kenya.
PR: What according to you is the scope for aspiring franchisees in this business? Is the future bright in the years to come?
SC: With technological advancement, sophisticated products and services for each market category and the mutual support of one of the widest networks in the country, DTDC offers a very lucrative platform for success to aspiring entrepreneurs. In the years to come, we plan on having these systems develop across the country and percolate to the very grassroots. At DTDC, we always put the interest and well-being of our Franchisees above all else, and the success stories of many hard-working, enterprising and perseverant entrepreneurs that form our network we prove that.
PR: What are the qualities and qualifications that you seek for in your franchisees? How much investment is required by aspiring franchisees?
SC: DTDC franchisees need to be able to work hard, follow the service guidelines and adhere to the ascribed set of rules and regulations for quality control. Apart from this, we look for enterprising, inventive people to be a part of the network. Our network comprises and welcomes individuals from all walks of life and with all levels of academic achievements. Aspiring franchisees are required to begin with an initial investment of Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1.5 lakh (depending on the area), and have access to working capital ranging between Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 1 lakh respectively. Additionally, potential franchisees will also be evaluated for ability to represent the brand adequately through the premises, recruit suitable staff and undertake marketing initiatives.
PR: Share with us the challenges that can be faced by your franchisees? How can these be overcome?
SC: With any Logistics business, everything ranging from political disruptions to government policy to climactic conditions can impact the business in some way or the other. However, the strength of our large network along with our management’s foresight, our belief in our processes and our trustworthiness with our clients have been the tools with which we overcome such challenges, for the Company as well as for the Franchisees.