Yogesh Dhingra, Founder, MD and CEO, Smartr Logistics
Strong leaders are critical to any business function. But it takes a unique set of skills to be a leader in the logistics industry. With rising demand, increasing manpower needs, higher costs, and larger infrastructure impacting the logistics sector, it requires inimitable leadership with the agility and a drive to relentlessly rethink, reinvigorate, and reinvent to address the complexity of modern logistic processes. Along with vast industry knowledge and experience, leaders must have undying perseverance, persistence, and passion to better understand customer requirements, and an uncanny ability to solve the most pressing challenges in the industry with their expertise and pioneering approach. Avidly exhibiting such traits, one such inspirational entrepreneur who is setting an instance of dedicated leadership in the logistics industry and impeccably contributing to the evolution of the sector is Yogesh Dhingra, the Founder, MD, and CEO of Smartr Logistics, a Mumbai-based Indian logistics start-up dedicated to providing seamless logistical solutions, customized to the needs of its customers in a fair and transparent manner.
Before launching Smartr Logistics, Mr. Yogesh Dhingra was working with Blue Dart, where he gained imperative knowledge of logistics industry including Air express, Ground Express, Supply chain, 3PL and cross-border logistics. At a young age, he handled alliance for Blue Dart with FedEx – a global leader in the logistics space. Soon, he was appointed as the Chief Financial Officer and was entrusted with a lot of additional responsibilities that helped him support the founders and lead the company to its peak. Subsequently, he was given additional responsibilities of Chief Operating Officer, and then Chief Strategy Officer – a rare for any large organization of that scale which showcased the company’s confidence in him. During this time, he had the opportunity to helm the acquisition of Blue Dart by DHL and went on to implementing DHL’s global strategies and policies in Blue Dart. His unique leadership skills & business strategies have earned him numerous prestigious awards, including the BW Business World Best CFO Awards 2016-17; ‘Best CFO of an MNC (Mid-sized companies)’ at 4th Business Today – Yes Bank CFO award 2013 among many others. He has received the CFO100Roll of Honour thrice. In 2021, he was inducted into the CFO India Hall of Fame.
In his 28 years of journey with Blue Dart,Mr. Dhingra played a pivotal role in its key growth initiatives like the setup of Cargo Airlines, launch of Ground Express, E-commerce logistics among others. All these experiences together inspired a desire in his heart to facilitate a stronger logistical network that would bring the nation closer and help other entrepreneurs to execute their business operations efficiently. As a result, he started Smartr Logistics in 2021 to fulfil the needs of market and customers which he could not fulfil during his tenure with Blue Dart due to various constraints.
Relinquishing Challenges along the Way
Although Smartr Logistics was launched right in the middle of a pandemic, its aim was to become India’s most trusted logistical partner. Hence, despite the pandemic-related restrictions, it launched over 115 service centers in more than 80 cities covering close to 2500 pin codes across India. “I had my dream team picked out when Smartr Logistics was still in its inception phase. Our collective expertise of over 200 years enabled us to establish a solid foundation and a clear path for our new venture,” opines Mr. Dhingra.
Hiring new talent across the country was another major challenge for Smartr Logistics at that time. As it was still in the initial phase, Mr. Dhingra wanted a team of dependable employees who had the drive and passion to make Smartr Logistics a thriving reality. Through referrals and connections, the company successfully hired1500 hundred dedicated employees across operations staff, customer support, sales, finance, ITand other administrative employees across the country to commence operations in India.
Bridging the Gap between Customer Needs and Quality Services
During his 30-year stint in the logistics industry, Mr. Dhingra acquired detailed insights into customer expectations. To address those needs and provide valuable solutions to unique problems of the customers, he started Smartr Logistics. With a team of passionate and capable industry veterans, Smartr Logistics launched its first set of offerings – the Air Express service called Aerex. Aerex Prime Folio and Aerex Prime Package services cover fast doorstep delivery of products like passports, credit/debit cards, sample products, and gifts. The company offers Aerex Kargo service for B2B shipments and Aerex eComm for eCommerce deliveries for B2C and D2C brands. Smartr Logistics’ Lokex Intracity takes care of B2B, B2C, and eCommerce customers with same-day and next-day deliveries within same city. These services are specifically designed to fulfil different requests ranging from delivering simple items such as gifts or documents to heavy and valuable cargo. Additionally, Smartr has started a premium same-day interstate delivery service for selected customers. “The dynamic features of these services differentiate us from our competitors in the market. Customer service is our top priority. For a complete end-to-end experience, we provide customization, real-time tracking, multiple delivery destinations, digital payment methods, and a 24×7 customer support team available on call,” elucidates Yogesh.
Key Attributes of True Entrepreneurship
According to the avid business leader, entrepreneurship is a brave career choice, and individuals who chose to create their own path have natural leadership instincts. He feels that entrepreneurs need to be confident and believe in a certain cause that will help shape their future. For Mr. Dhingra, working together with the team toward finding solutions as a collaborative effort is much more important than just directing them. Thus, as a leader leading his force from the front, he always strives to thrive along with his entire team. “At Smartr, we have made it our brand’s promise to deliver quality services as one team. Another important value I and the entire Smartr team take pride in is Transparency. We made sure that we as an organization are transparent in our dealings, internally and with our customers. Lastly, the virtue of customer satisfaction is paramount for entrepreneurship,” affirms Mr. Dhingra. As an organization, Smartr believes in providing solutions to its customers based on their requirements and working around their needs.
Fostering a Vibrant and Empowering Work Culture
With innovation and technology that emerge every other day, Smartr strives to be on its best game at any given point in time. “To keep up with the changes is the entire essence of our company. Here, the youth make a major difference and we tend to consider both the traditional ways as well as new ways of executing business to sustain momentum. The drive and passion of each of its employees is something that builds a vibrant company culture at Smartr Logistics,” adds Mr. Dhingra. The opportunity and freedom to build their own company combined with the guidance of the veterans of the industry provides a unique opportunity to the employees at Smartr which is a key factor that motivates everyone to work towards the same goal of building the best logistics company in the country.
Envisioning a Future of Persistent Growth
In the years to come, Smartr Logistics aspires to be a preferred logistical partner for all business segments – B2B, B2C, D2C, SMEs, large corporates and aims to be one of the most preferred service providers. Currently, it’s focusing on extending its reach beyond the national borders, and soon, it will be everywhere. Moving ahead, the company is also gearing up to launch Surface Express – Wheelexby December 2022 to provide its customers with additional options. Wheelex will also have a full suite of offerings – WheelexeComm for B2C, and D2C e-commerce business, WheelexKargo for high volume/weight goods for B2B clients, as well as Wheelex Share (PTL – Part Truck Load), and Wheelex Jumbo (FTL – Full Truck Load) service.
As a pioneering business leader, Mr. Dhingra’s advice to budding entrepreneurs is to have a long-term vision and a business plan for at least 5 years as this will ensure smooth operations with minimum disruption. “The idea in itself should be something that will solve a problem, something that is much needed in the country or a particular industry. For that purpose, to make an idea a common vision, they must hire like-minded people who are focused and assertive,” asserts Mr. Dhingra on a concluding note.