NowPurchase is a business-to-business (B2B) technology-driven procurement solution for metal producers that expands and provides production inputs at the lowest possible manufacturing cost. In an interview with TheSMEIndia.com, Naman Shah, Founder and CEO discusses how the pandemic has affected the procurement market, the impact on their business, and future plans.
The company is currently based only in West Bengal, because they realised as the company went about building the Maintenance Repair and Operation (MRO) in Foundry Business from Jamshedpur, Orrisa, West Bengal, and NCR in B2B business, they need to go deep rather than wide. Since foundries operate in clusters, they are considering expanding into few other markets such as Jamshedpur, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Coimbatore.
The start-up focused solely on the Foundry business and has over 100 customers on its platform They initially had approached them by creating a WhatsApp bot so that daily rates can be enquired followed by focussing on the industry bodies by holding educative seminars, and during the last three months they have word of mouth referrals vendors walking-in.
The company has been working with manufacturers and large organised importers on the supply side. They have chosen to deal with a small number of suppliers in order to have a better control over quality and to ensure that each supplier receives a fair share of the business so that they remain loyal.
The company was quick on its feet since it turned to covid-19 related industrial products much before the ecommerce player went into action in Kolkata. In the initial one month, they acquired 30 new customers which was followed by educating customers through training videos. Additionally, some of the firm’s key customers remained open since they were supplying agricultural equipment side companies or they had obtained an export driven licence, which helped them to be relevant. Now because of the phased lockdown, factories are able to remain open throughout the second shutdown across the country and business hence had remained unaffected.
In terms of expansion, the company has recently launched scrap as a business on their platform and is bullish on this area since they believe it is unorganised in India and that business prospects are many, whereas nations such as Europe and the Middle East are well organised. In terms of technology, they are integrating with a variety of software providers where they are planning to integrate both the hardware and software of vendors.
He concluded with a message stating that ecommerce providers, whether B2B or B2C, are enablers in making commerce more seamless. During the last one year, it was the ecommerce providers who have come to the help of the country hence on the policy front, it would be great if policymakers support procuring materials from digital providers like them.