Shriram Automall India Limited (SAMIL) on the Move

Sameer Malhotra
We managed to come up with multiple Automalls as a platform for the transaction of big construction equipment, our employee strength has also almost multiplied. We also received the Fleet enabler of the Year award at the prestigious Apollo-CV Awards 2012 in Mumbai. We are unremittingly adding more services and platforms to our portfolio as ours is a total customer centric organization. We have done over 100,000 transactions in the last one year, says Mr. Sameer Malhotra, CEO, Shriram Automall, in an interview with Maria R.

It is now almost two years since you launched this unique concept of Automall in India; what has been the market response? Is Shriram Transport Finance Company's concept to launch this platform is running as per its expectation?
These last two years have been a whirlwind for us. Shriram Automall, a small bud that was developed from Shriram Transport Finance Company (STFC) just two years ago is today one of the gigantic service providers, reaching thousands of end users. It seems like yesterday only when the parent group Shriram decided to diversify into the world of used equipment and vehicles for helping the buyers and sellers for easy transactions, by creating this much revered enterprise.
We have actually outweighed our own expectations by opening as many as 17 automalls so far. We have come up with the online bidding platform through samil.in/bids. We have reached milestones with the number of buyers and bidders, number of auctions and auction locations and most importantly total business.

How has your business performance been in 2012 being a tough year and the business you generated?
The construction sector in India witnessed outstanding growth in the last few years, fuelled by unprecedented infrastructure growth. The increasing significance of this sector in the country's overall economic progress was evident during the execution of the Eleventh Five Year Plan. The contribution of the construction sector to the country's GDP has consistently been over 7% in the last five years. In FY 2012, it further increased.

Since Shriram Automall has expertise in this domain, so the last year was heart-warming for us as well.

Not only have we managed to come up with multiple Automalls as a platform for the transaction of huge construction equipment, our employee strength has also almost multiplied. We also received the Fleet enabler of the Year award at the prestigious Apollo-CV Awards 2012 in Mumbai. We are unremittingly adding more services and platforms to our portfolio as ours is a total customer centric organization. We have done over 100,000 transactions in the last one year.

As buyers and sellers come with a different goal, what is your business module and facilities you offer to your clients which make a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers?
There are huge gaps in the Indian used automobile and equipment industry. Regardless of the massive usage of equipment and commercial vehicles in India, the market is haywire and people are not abreast with the global fleet management practices.

Shriram Automall

Given our expertise in this segment, we have created a structured approach. The idea was to create a crystal clear platform offering multiple transaction channels where simply fair practices are adopted. And the results are more than reassuring. Today, the customers not only take a look at wide array of equipment and vehicles but also test, inspect and bid for the same.

How many auctions you do in a year? Are you planning to add more locations and product line?
We are conducting over 1000 auctions per year, across the nation. Currently, we have 17 Automalls and in the coming months we are planning to come up with a total of atleast 60 automalls by the end of this financial year.

As currently your products range comprises the categories of Commercial Vehicle, Construction, and Agri; what is company's progress for adding auto category in its basket?
The present products range offered by the company comprises three major categories: construction, transport and agricultural. More than 100 auctions are conducted per month PAN India. The customer base encompasses vehicles and equipment manufacturers, dealers, banks, finance companies, and end users.

Used Equipment

Additionally, we also have online platform samil.in/bids which allow a customer to indulge in the informed buying and selling. Apart from the above mentioned categories, we also offer the transaction facility of bikes and autos through this channel and shortly we are coming up with these transactions through our physical bidding platform as well.

How many Automalls currently you have in India? Which category of products is boosting up your business more?
We already have 17 grand automalls across India. We are getting major business from varied sectors like construction and industrial equipment, commercial vehicles and agricultural tractors. Overall, commercial Vehicles constitute over 50% of our total business.

What are the effective channels you are using to offer services to your clients?
We offer a hoard of platforms to facilitate seamless equipment/vehicle transactions through physical and Online bidding, along with Private Treaty and One-Stop Intranet Kiosks.

Apart from our major platforms, we also offer a couple of allied services to help our end users at every single step. We basically act as service providers for buyers and sellers to expedite the transaction processes. Various facilities offered by us are:
  • Parking service to assure our associates that their assets are safe and secure with us
  • Valuation service which helps greatly in the price escalation of the equipment
  • New Look for the refurbishment of the old vehicles and equipment
  • Easy Finance service to expedite the vehicle deal
  • General/Life Insurance to make certain that our customers are sheltered against the financial implications of equipment damage or life loss
  • Documentation to hasten all the formalities pertaining to citations and records
What's on the company agenda for the next 2-3 years? What specific accomplishments would make that time frame a success?
We plan to reach every nook and corner of the country with our exhaustive service portfolio, conduct more auctions per year, and enhance customer reach through our social media platform. The mantra for our success and future accomplishments is simple, total customer centricity.

Further, the demand for the construction equipment is directly linked with the investments in Infrastructure and construction domain. The share of construction GDP as percentage of total GDP is constantly mounting for the past 1 decade during which it rose from 5.8% to 7.3% of the total GDP.

Thus, the scenario is set for a long and a sustainable growth in the demand of used construction and industrial equipment and with our ever rising manpower and grand automalls, we are gearing up to meet this demand very competently.
NBM&CW February 2013
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