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Revolutionizing Online Logistics through Digital Services

A Case Study by BlackBuck

Late evening in the month of March 2017, Rajesh Yabaji, the CEO of BlackBuck was in a long
discussion with his other two co-founders Chanakya Hridaya and B. Ramasubramaniam. The
discussion was on the launch of a new business vertical at BlackBuck. They had been debating on
this for the past 4-5 months. There were clear data points suggesting the need for this business.
However, launching a new business vertical meant more focus on a new market, apart from the
large investments required.

Was this the right time for BlackBuck to enter a new market? Scaling was definitely critical for
BlackBuck but were they spreading too thin?

About BlackBuck
Founded in 2015, BlackBuck has been a pioneer in
bringing the offline operations of trucking online.
BlackBuck was started to build an effective and seamless
freight matching platform that can help companies
reduce their overall supply chain cost. The platform was
built to solve the pain points of the shipper and provide
reliable availability of trucks.

The main objective was to connect shippers with truckers, removing the hassle of dealing with
middlemen. The company has partnered with multiple large corporates such as Asian Paints,
Coca Cola, ITC, Tata Steel and Hindustan Unilever. BlackBuck as of March’17 has over 1,00,000+
Partner trucks empanelled on the platform, operating pan India in over 300+ locations.

Freight Marketplace - The Journey so far

BlackBuck was started to build an effective and seamless freight matching platform that can help
companies reduce their overall supply chain cost. A shipper was promised “Reliability” and
“Hassle-free” transportation.

The first step in achieving this objective was to bring all the operations of trucking online. This
meant a load or demand could be assigned a truck - in a completely digitally manner without
manual intervention. However, in order to deliver this promise to the Shipper, BlackBuck had to
ensure that the truckers manage their assets efficiently. The lens of BlackBuck had to widen.
BlackBuck had to solve essential trucker problems to deliver to the Shipper.

Hence, BlackBuck undertook the mission of improving asset utilization for truckers. Including
the truckers in the purview, BlackBuck expanded their demand network exponentially to Large
Corporates and SMEs to improve the utilization of the truck.
Services Market
During this journey, BlackBuck learned that a fleet owner apart from finding it difficult to get
loads, also faced multiple operational challenges in managing his fleet, enroute expenses, and
cash management which exponential increases with larger number of trucks. Due to the dynamic
nature of the market and these transactional hassles, a fleet owner typically does not expand his
fleet. Fleet owners in India need physical and digital support systems to manage operations in an
easier and cost-effective way.

An infrastructure that can provide better savings and ease a truck owner’s operations will enable
him to run more efficiently and expand the fleet. These efficiencies will further improve the
service levels of the Shipper.

This brought to the fore, the idea of launching a new business - the Services Platform. The
Services Platform would be India’s first digital services platform, offering fleet owners a bouquet
of services—fleet cards, toll tags, insurance, IoT, consumables, credit, etc. at a click of a button.

The market of the Services Platform was around ~160 Bn. and currently the market is
unpenetrated as well making it an attractive market to enter. (Refer Figure 1)

Figure 1: Services Market Size

The Services Platform would help truckers go cashless, reduce fuel pilferage, monitor truck’s real
time, understand routes and reduce transit time.

Also, through understanding of India’s trucks and their movement, BlackBuck would also be able
to understand India’s demand and supply hubs and routes. This data would be powerful and
would help BlackBuck know end-to-end of Indian Trucking. The services platform would help in
being the funnel of supply leads for the Freight Platform. Through the services platform, the fleet
owner will also be more engaged and help in building loyalty and retention. The Freight and
Services Platform would benefit each other mutually through Acquisition and Retention.

BlackBuck Way Ahead - To Launch or To Shelve the Services Platform?

Launching the new business (Services Platform) means BlackBuck has to widen its lens further
and at the same time sharpen its focus on the new vertical. Entering a new market such would
mean BlackBuck would have to develop new competencies. Blackbuck would also have to set up
a separate team to run the new business.

Further, also pump in investments to scale the new platform. With a new business coming into
the picture, will the existing freight marketplace’s scale be affected? Should the investments be
pumped into the existing business to further increase the scale rather than investing in a new

The Services Platform would definitely be beneficial for BlackBuck in more ways than one but
will this dilute the focus on BlackBuck’s Freight Platform? Is BlackBuck trying to scale faster than
it should? Will this affect BlackBuck’s sustainability?

What should BlackBuck do?

1) Advise on what BlackBuck should do. Exhaustively list down the advantages and
disadvantages for both scenarios (Launch or Shelve). What would be the right strategy and
when would be the appropriate time to execute it? Support your decision through facts and
sound rationale.

2) Elaborate the roadmap of the scenario identified with respect to Business Objective, Business
Plan and Go-To-Market Strategy detailing the short- and medium-term goals

e.g. If BlackBuck should launch the Services Business - What should be the Business Objectives for the
Services Platform. What Categories should be launched? What should be the Go-To-Market Strategy and
the Business Plan for the Services Platform?

If BlackBuck should shelve the Services Business - What should be the Business plan for the existing Freight
Business? Should there be any tweaks to the existing Business Model? How can the business scale faster?
When should BlackBuck venture into Services Business?

 The case analysis document must be in MS Word/PDF format (.doc/.docx/.pdf)
 Must not exceed 2000 words (excluding exhibits and excel sheets)
 Font Type: Arial/ Calibri with text size of 11