Expansion plans always carry some amount of risk. This risk may be due to apprehensions of market acceptability, moving into newer geographies or simply because you are about to disrupt an existing industry.
When I founded Trukkin in 2017, I was ready to face pushbacks as I moved into a previously undisturbed industry in dire need of innovation and disruption. The transportation industry traditionally suffers from a lack of transparency, reliability and efficiency. Trukkin’s IoT- enabled route optimizations, highly trained truck drivers, and efficient fleet management help to address these challenges with technology.
Using technology has also helped Trukkin to pivot and change to suit the industry’s requirements at short notice. This capability helped us immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic. As factories closed and global trade slowed, the logistics sector faced uncertainties due to limited movement. Although passenger traffic completely stopped as the city was locked down, essentials and food deliveries had to continue. As soon as operations began, Trukkin understood the local requirements and met this demand head-on. With the first mover’s advantage on their side, Trukkin was able to navigate through these uncertain times with confidence.
Here’s what it takes to expand and invest during a crisis successfully
1. Due diligence—Getting to know the region first-hand
Any expansion plans must begin with due diligence. When we decided to expand Trukkin’s operations to a new country, we ensured that we first thought about team safety, the region’s overall economy, and our sustenance in the long term. Once we had the intel we needed, we decided to visit the area and find our home base.
Setting up a home base ensured that we understood the region’s local workings and how we could leverage the power of our platform to make life easier for those who decided to adopt it.
2. Setting up a communication channel with the mothership It is vital to set up an effective, well-maintained communication channel with your staff in newer geographies. Effective, clear communication boosts employee morale and ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Our experience of working with teams across geographies helped Trukkin make this happen beautifully. We connected every day and did not let the physical distance between us hamper our journey to success.
3. Building a contingency plan
A contingency plan will help you take care of any roadblocks that come your way.
A well-thought-out contingency plan will also ensure that you can prepare in advance and not taken unawares in the time of crisis.
4. Finding the right workforce
You may find some difficulty in finding the right human resources, but you will get there. In our recent expansion, we found great local talent in significant numbers who were excited to join Trukkin. We continue to assess and hire the right talent for their will and skill.
5. Being flexible and adaptable
After our expansion to Pakistan, we knew we had to move fast. It was a now-or-never situation for us, and thankfully, it paid off. We were able to ride the lockdown wave by seamlessly switching from generic cargo to essential goods in open sectors, which helped us avoid the problems other providers faced. We were also able to onboard more drivers and transporters as they felt that technology could help them get timely payments and offer better route planning. Our agility and adaptability enabled us to convert the challenges posed by the pandemic into opportunities.
6. Building investor confidence
With a proper contingency plan and a study of the local environment in place, investors will understand your seriousness about expansion to the said region. In our case, We planned well in advance and gave investors inputs about how we planned to disrupt the market. Our planning gave investors the confidence to support us with the funds we needed to succeed. To many, expanding to a new territory during such a time of economic decline and uncertainty is incredibly risky. But for us, expanding to Pakistan during the lockdown represented an opportunity for Trukkin on the drawing board for a long time. When the pandemic and the resultant lockdown threatened to inhibit growth and added uncertainty, we showed our agility, scalability and commitment by not shying away from taking big and bold steps.
When most businesses were hunkering down and lying low, we decided to march ahead and show how we could change the way the logistics industry handled this challenge.
Expanding to Pakistan showcased our commitment to the region and our belief that logistics is a resilient business. This expansion has also become a fantastic learning experience for us as we look towards newer areas for future growth.
Trukkin aims to help revolutionize, empower and organize the transportation and logistics industry in Pakistan with its technology-driven solutions. Aiming to be the leading transportation player in Pakistan, Trukkin aspires to empower and enable every entity involved in the transportation business to reap the benefits of efficiency, transparency and reliability.
Author: Janardan Dalmia, CEO and Founder of Trukkin