Shriram Automall – Changing Trends in Transport Industry

India is one of the most progressive nations in the world, which has a rich industrial base supported by massive infrastructure. The country has also diverse transportation system catering to billions of people. Studies say that the sector contributes more than 5.5% to the Nation's GDP, where road transport showcase the maximum. Knowing that the economy thrives on logistic, infrastructure & agriculture, we realized that the opportunities to contribute to the growth of the state are infinite.

Indian Automotive Industry is like a "rising sun" and is one of the world's fastest growing markets for manufacturers. Be it passenger cars, two wheelers or commercial vehicles, India is a key market. The country is seen as export hub for SUVs. Not only this, but also India has witnessed rapid growth in farm equipment. As agriculture upholds the Nation's growth, increasing demand for farm vehicles is inevitable.

STFC-Commercial-Vehicle-Finance
STFC - the leader in Commercial Vehicle Finance

The key drivers of any industry are the common people, which form the base of the pyramid. Similarly, for transport Industry contractors, transporters, drivers and Farmers toil day and night to make a difference in every aspect.

In a unique endeavor, India's largest player in commercial vehicle finance, Shriram Transport Finance Company Limited (STFC) devised a transparent and customer centric platform for transaction of used commercial vehicles & agricultural equipment. Identifying an opportunity and leveraging on its experience the segment for decades, Shriram Group has launched the concept of Shriram Automall India Limited (SAMIL) which happens to be the country's only organised player today.

On February 26, 2011, Shriram Automall incepted its 1st Automall in Chennai, which was inaugurated by then Honorable Union Minister for Home Affairs Mr. P. Chidambaram. The enterprise since then has been a source of prosperity to numerous contractors, fleet owners and farmers who explored the benefits of pre-owned vehicles & equipment with Shriram Automall. The company today boasts of full-fledged Automall facilities in 24 key locations across India.

Shriram Automall Chennai
Mr. P. Chidambaram at the Chennai Automall Inauguration

Going by the industry's observations, Indian infrastructure industry has the biggest potential for growth and opportunities for investment. Based on the sizeable growth potential, SAMIL anticipated a positive growth trend in transport & equipment purchase. Acting on the expectation, SAMIL built the vigorous network of Automalls across the Indian map. The growth of the company in terms of the geographical expansion is exponential in nature and envisions establishing 60 such strategically located Automalls by the end of the fiscal year.

Grand-ShriramAutomall-at-Hyderabad
The Grand Shriram Automall at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Sameer Malhotra
Mr. Sameer Malhotra, CEO, SAMIL
SAMIL started its business with commercial vehicles and later entered into tractors, construction equipment then two-wheelers. Today, company has a strong association with big Corporates, Banks, NBFCs, Manufacturers, Dealers and Fleet Owners. Though the organisation has made remarkable presence in the Industry but still feel that educating people on this model remains the biggest challenge. Nevertheless, "SAMIL is very clear in its vision that it has to bring presence of any moving asset in their transaction", says the CEO, Mr. Sameer Malhotra.

SAMIL-Online-Bidding-Platform
SAMIL Online Bidding Platform
SAMIL has also timed its online presence to expand its horizon & spread its wings to conquer all barriers. Realizing that providing services online is an effective way to further engage with your customers, SAMIL launched its corporate website on 9th February 2013. The website is located at the same address: www.samil.in

By moving to a more customer-centric layout, the revamped website, now allows visitors to access information based on their own requirement rather than go through the entire website to decide what is of interest to them.

Automall's unique concept caters its customers with different platforms like:
Physical Bidding events offer the likelihood to inspect a vehicle in person. It is possible to touch and feel a vehicle before selection. Prospective bidder can actually inspect the actual condition of vehicle to ones' satisfaction. Traders are finding this opportunity useful to network with each other; and exchange valuable market trends. SAMIL organizes approximately 100 physical bidding events every month. These events are well organized by skilled workforce and team manages to bring unforgettable experience to each user. It also ensures complete transparency to each of its customer.

Prospective-bidders-at-Physical-Bidding-Event
Prospective bidders at Physical Bidding Event
With an aim to reach out to remote areas, the company has laid down a dense network of one-stop kiosk installed at all Automalls and about 500 Shriram branches all across the country. It is a computerised touch screen which is a virtual Vehicle Bazaar, providing real time information about used vehicles available for business. It displays over 15,000 pre-owned assets at any given point of time mostly comprising trucks, passenger vehicles, construction and agricultural equipment sourced from various consigners including end users visiting the Shriram Branches from time to time. The Kiosks are highly interactive medium and are easy to use just like bank ATMs where customers not only can go through the details of the equipment but also can register their requirements.

One-Stop-Kiosk
One Stop Kiosk in Operation
Not only intranet kiosks but SAMIL also provides its users with internet based platform for online bidding. Interested bidders get pre-hand training free of cost on how to bid online. Prospective bidders can download vehicle inventory lists with the single click of a button and physically inspect the vehicles thoroughly around 2-3 days prior to the online event. Online platform is an ability to reach customers at all times of day or night across the world is expected to spur growth for the businesses. Taking business online is also helping in introducing niche services to those beyond their local target market. SAMIL believes that offering services online provides opportunities to serve more customers, which will help the company to succeed even in the most competitive marketplace. Company has experienced 1000 bidding transactions in its pilot testing itself through this platform.

Apart from organizing planned Bidding events, for consigners and bidders who are looking for much personalised service, SAMIL has setup a Private Treaty platform. On this platform, Individuals offering highest quotes are invited to discuss and negotiate to maximize value realization. With this, SAMIL opened its gateway to international transactions and bought global buyers and sellers on this unique platform.

Along with all the above mentioned platforms, SAMIL has created Newlook. As in name itself, the platform is set to give a new look to used vehicles. Vehicles are inspected and re-furbished or re-conditioned according to the need and are made easily saleable. To provide real market value of equipment, Automall has Valuation Service, where a team of expert professionals does an asset valuation and helps a financer to determine the right worth of an asset before approving a loan. Adding to wide array of services SAMIL also offers allied services like parking, easy finance options, general insurance, life insurance and assistance in documentation to ensure smooth transition.

Newlook Refurbishment Bidders Participating at the Physical Events
Newlook – Refurbishment & Valuation Services Bidders participating at the physical events

Thus the concept is all about complete fleet management and to create a transparent platform for buyers and consigners. So now, Fleet owners, contractors and farmers who face acute problems in terms of sourcing commercial vehicle, construction equipment and agricultural implements can breathe a sigh of relief. Shriram Automall's initiative both online & offline are a step in the direction to end the unreliable practices prevalent in pre-owned vehicle transactions by cultivating organized vehicle-trading mechanism.

Moving on SAMIL is also looking at venturing into passenger vehicle segment to capture the untapped, which so far is being controlled by local dealers across the nation. As company sees huge volume from this segment, they plan to offer this service through all its platforms namely physical bidding, online bidding, one stop and private treaty. Hence, It would not be wrong to say that SAMIL does not want to leave even a single option unfold which adds value to their concept.
NBM&CW July 2013
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