Gaurav Bhushan, Founder, Equip9
Gaurav Bhushan, Founder, explains how EQUIP9™ - the first global start-up in the heavy equipment and material handling industry - will connect every entity in this industry by end-2023 and thereby simplify the complex construction business with its app-based digital solutions.

What services does EQUIP9™ provide to the construction equipment industry in general and to rental in particular? What is the USP of your app and what sectors can it cater to?
EQUIP9™ currently provides a digital app-based solution for easy search of operators and maintenance partners, quick rent connection, simplified buy and sell process. The current sale of new equipment will rise from 80k to approx 250k by the 2030 year-end. To manage a 4-billion-dollar industry, we will need a digital solution on which every industry player can promote their equipment business and track the ROI from individual equipment.

The EQUIP9™ app focuses on the Man - Equipment - Material - Project model. Currently, the EQUIP9™ app provides Digital Services such as equipment listing, operator, and maintenance search. Our Digital Store will help rental companies to digitize their business, and our AI-based marketplace for easy rent and sale will reduce the dependency on brokers. By 2023, we will have digital solutions such as demand analysis of rent across the country, a virtual-reality-based sell platform, rent recovery from companies, identification of the right company to rent equipment, connecting with the right financiers, etc.

At present, the EQUIP9™ app can connect equipment owners with rental owners, sellers, operators, and maintenance partners. We vision to onboard Financers, Original Equipment Manufacturers, Spare Parts Manufacturers, IoT providers, and Equipment Dealers in the upcoming release.

With Telematics and IoT making their way into the Construction Equipment material handling industry, how do you see its adoption in the market?
It is great to see the acceptance and adoption of IoT in the Industry. Our country is rapidly growing in infrastructure. For rental players, it is essential to track the daily usage of equipment deployed on multiple projects. But look at the other side of the coin - each OEM has an individual system and its tracking app. It will become difficult for business owners to track their equipment purchased from different OEMs.

EQUIP9™ visualizes an open API for the heavy equipment industry so that all equipment owners can see any equipment from any OEM on our digital app. An aggregated telematics will help the industry in a better way. The task is mammoth, but we are sure it is possible.

EQUIP9 - the first global start-up in the heavy equipment and material handling industry

How does EQUIP9™ help in building a data base of skilled operators?
Any crisis that we see today is an outcome of ignorance in the past. Due to the ambitious policies on infrastructure by the current government, the heavy equipment industry is going through a surge. To manage the new equipment, the industry needs 25 lakh trained operators by 2030. The biggest challenge comes in the documentation of the workforce, search for trained operators across the country, training institutes, and license requirements.

On EQUIP9™ we currently have 11000+ operators. We are working on automating document verification processes such as Adhar cards, pan cards, and driving licenses. Our app provides a digital platform for our operator and maintenance partners to showcase their certifications and learning videos. We are trying to connect with the Infrastructure Equipment Skill Council, Institute of Driving Training and Research Society, and National Skill Development Council to onboard all trained and certified operators on our app. It will benefit government agencies to achieve a goal of employment post-training of operators and will help business owners to find trusted operators and drivers across the country.

How will EQUIP9 help the construction industry business owners to get genuine spare parts?

Demand and supply of spare parts involve the most complexity in the construction industry. Every business owner in the industry faces problems such as finding genuine spare parts sellers or identifying the authentic product or pricing. Community validation or rating is an easy solution that most digital platforms use to recognize fake sellers or buyers. In the current version of our app, there is a provision for a rating system.

A business owner after connection can rate other business owners. The rating process in the future will help identify genuine sellers, buyers, or brokers. Our digital store can help business owners to connect with validated manufacturers. The D2C model of spare parts will also help in reducing the cost. We are developing a blockchain-based solution that will help to stop the fake spare parts in transit. Once we have our digital capabilities fully matured, I am sure we will be able to deliver genuine spare parts to business owners.

Please share a case study where EQUIP9 has helped to bring synergy between various stakeholders of the Construction Equipment industry?
In the MVP phase, which started from Jan 2021 - to June 2021, we have served 45+ clients. One of our clients based in Chandigarh had received a BRO Project in the northeast region. They were searching for 200+ operators and drivers for their project on Facebook. Social media hiring sounds cheap and easy but comes with a lot of overheads.

During our digital promotions of the app, we connected with the client and shared our services. At that time, we had around 1000+ operators on our app. Agreement went well, and we were able to connect 350 operators within 45 days to our client.

Similarly, we helped one of our Pune-based clients, who was awarded a highway project, connecting 20 excavators and dump trucks, in Manipur. With EQUIP9's workforce and equipment database, searching for service providers in remote areas of our country becomes very easy.

The recent pandemic was an eye-opener for every industry around the globe. I feel the heavy equipment industry must come up in support of peripheral technology such as EQUIP9™ for simplifying digital business.
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