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Dec, 01 2007

Dream reality logistic services - Drive to redefine logistics

Mr Pawan Jain, a successful logistics entrepreneur today, started Safexpress with a capital of Rs 1 crore. After a decade, its turnover is over Rs 450 crore, listing a growth of 35 per cent during the last financial year. The company expects a Rs 1,000-cr

Mr Pawan Jain, a successful logistics entrepreneur today, started Safexpress with a capital of Rs 1 crore. After a decade, its turnover is over Rs 450 crore, listing a growth of 35 per cent during the last financial year. The company expects a Rs 1,000-crore turnover by 2010 and may go public, if the need arises.

Safexpress today has over 1,400 franchisees in the country, all of them successful. The franchisees are not on any fixed salaries but working with the franchiser by virtue of their calibre, intellect and energetic disposition.

Mr Jain is associated with this business since 1972. Having gained business acumen in his initial years, he started Overnite in 1987. But he was not satisfied as he wanted to give a new `definition` to his business. This led to the birth of his present company, Safexpress Pvt Ltd, on April 1, 1997. His sole aim was to provide the fastest, safest and the best service to his customers.

“The over Rs 2,00,000-crore trucker industry in India is totally unorganised and a large part of it is handled by small truck operators. We hope to adopt and internalise a work culture that reflects a we-can-we-will attitude in our daily responsibilities so as to far exceed our objectives, consistently striving towards market dominance. We will strive to create historical landmarks, forming a strong edifice for the future, overcoming all obstacles proactively, with a commitment to satisfy the customer with our impeccable, personalised services,” he says.

Interaction with Pawan Jain

During a brief interaction with S.S.Talwar, Pawan Jain narrated his long trek to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

TFW: How did you venture into this field?

Pawan Jain: I wanted to do something different from the others in this business and for this, I went abroad for six-month studies. I had a passion to give a new definition to India`s logistics market as the transport industry is completely unorganised. My sole aim was to provide the fastest, safest and the best service to valuable customers though some of my industry colleagues said it was not possible in India because of the rough conditions of the roads and highways. But I stuck to the ideas that came to my mind during my travels, and started implementing them.

TFW: Did your family background influence your idea?

PJ: No, I was the first entrepreneur in my family and single-handedly started this business. But my wife supported me whole-heartedly at that time.

TFW: Did any hobby influence you?

PJ: Yes, my travels within the country or abroad while doing other businesses brought fresh ideas to my mind and I made use of them for this venture.

TFW: Is this something you always dreamed of? What odds did you face initially, and how did you deal with the competition?

PJ: I always dreamt of doing something different from others. I wanted to do something new for my clients and perhaps this drive got us NIIT as the first logistics client. However, I prefer to handle my venture alone instead of taking the help of partners or others. Initially, all my friends and relatives opposed my ideas but I stuck to them.

As for the impediments that arose in the beginning, we had to really convince my clients and the public, and for that it was necessary to change the mindset of my own people. It is this change in mindset that worked in our favour. Now, we have over 3200 drivers, all graduates, who control the entire journey from one station to the destination.

Initially, Gati was the only competitor, but now we are ahead of them all and there is no competition today.

TFW: How did you fund the project?

PJ: Safexpress was started with a capital of Rs 1 crore (equal share of my wife and me) and we never took any outside financial help. Some of the funds were arranged by my two other companies—Transolutions and Overnite.

Today, the company has a turnover of Rs 450 crore, a growth of 35 per cent annually. We till touch a turnover of Rs 1000 crore by 2010 and then, if need be, we will go in for a public issue.

TFW: Did you expect profits early on? What are your future plans?

PJ: Yes, every entrepreneur, even a small-time shopkeeper, wants profits from day one. I too had this aim and, honestly speaking, I started earning profits from the outset as my ideas were good. I entered this business to fulfill my passion for work and not due to any pressure.

I never make long-term plans and believe in short-term plans because in India, decisions are changed every minute. So, we change ourselves with the new rules and regulations of the government.

TFW: How many employees do you have?

PJ: Though our rates are a little on the higher side compared to other transporters, our timely delivery and efficient service are the reasons for this. At present, we have 1400 employees, while another 40,000 are indirectly employed with the company.

TFW: What steps do you take to stay ahead of your competition? What attitude should an aspiring entrepreneur have?

PJ: There is a need to innovate your work, your ideas everyday. If an entrepreneur has innovative ideas, nobody can stop him. Every idea is good, provided it is properly focused. And honesty is the most important trait. If a person has all these qualities, he/she can be a successful entrepreneur.

TFW: And how has life changed since you started this business?

PJ: In fact, there has been no change in my life. I worked 12 hours daily and started my job with a bicycle. Even now, I am doing the same job, only the vehicles have changed (cycle has given way to four vehicles) since 1975.

When I started the business, my son was 6 years` old. Now, he has completed his engineering from Columbia University, US, and MBA from Stanford University.

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