India is one of the most progressive nations in the world. While the country has a rich industrial base supported by massive infrastructure on the one hand, it has diverse transportation system catering to billions of people, on the other. Studies point out that the sector contributes more than 5.5 per cent to the nation’s GDP, with road transport having a major share. Knowing that the economy thrives on logistics, infrastructure and agriculture, Shriram Automall India Ltd. (SAMIL ) realized that the opportunities to contribute to the growth of the State are infinite.
The Indian automotive industry is like a “rising sun” and is one of the world’s fastest growing markets for manufacturers. Be it used cars India, two-wheelers or commercial vehicles, India is a key market. The country is seen as an export hub for SUVs. India has also witnessed rapid growth in farm equipment. As agriculture upholds the nation’s growth, increasing demand for farm vehicles is inevitable.
The key drivers of any industry are the common people who form the base of the pyramid. Similarly, for the transport industry, contractors, transporters, drivers and farmers toil day and night to make a difference in every aspect. In a unique endeavour, India’s largest player in commercial vehicle finance, Shriram Transport Finance Company Ltd. (STFC) devised a transparent and customer centric platform for transaction of used commercial vehicles and agricultural equipment. Identifying an opportunity and leveraging on its experience in the segment for decades, the Shriram Group has launched the concept of SAMIL which happens to be the country’s only organised player today. On February 26, 2011, SAMIL opened its first unit Automall in Chennai. It was inaugurated by then 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 vehicle and equipment with Shriram Automall. The company today boasts of full-fledged Automall facilities in 24 key locations across India. Going by the industry’s observations, the 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 country. 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.
SAMIL started its business with commercial vehicles and later expanded into tractors, construction equipment and two-wheelers. Today, the company has a strong association with big corporate, banks, NBFCs, manufacturers, dealers and fleet owners. Though the organisation has made remarkable presence in the industry, it feels that educating the 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 has also timed its online presence to expand its horizon and 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 February 9 last, 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 to its customers with different platforms. Physical bidding events offer the likelihood to inspect a vehicle in person. It is possible to touch and feel a vehicle before selection. The prospective bidder can actually inspect the actual condition of the vehicle to his 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 managers to bring unforgettable experience to each user. It also ensures complete transparency to each of its customers. With an aim to reach out to remote areas, the company set up a network of one-stop kiosks at all Automalls and about 500 Shriram branches all across the country. It is a computerized 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, and construction and agricultural equipment sourced from various consigners, including end users visiting the Shriram branches from time to time. The kiosks are a 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.
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 two three days prior to the online event. Online platform is an ability to reach customers at all times of day or night across the world, which 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. The company has carried out 1,000 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 personalized service, SAMIL has 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 platform, SAMIL has created New look. This platform is set to give a new look to used vehicles. Vehicles are inspected and refurbished or reconditioned 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.
SAMIL also offers allied services like parking, easy finance options, general insurance, life insurance and assistance in documentation to ensure smooth transition. Thus the concept is all about complete fleet management in order 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 heave a sigh of relief.
Shriram Automall’s initiatives, both online and offline are a step in the right direction to end the unreliable practices prevalent in pre-owned vehicle transactions by cultivating an organized vehicle-trading mechanism. Moving on, SAMIL is also looking at venturing into the passenger vehicle segment which has so far been controlled by local dealers across the nation. As the company sees huge volume from this segment, it plans to offer this service through all its platforms – 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 untried that adds value to the concept.