Interview with Nikita Maheshwari | Founder at Tatkalorry

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StorySutra.in is an initiative to build a community of Entrepreneurs, Startups & Industry Stalwarts to celebrate success & to learn from shortfalls, and to Contribute, Inspire & Embellish Entrepreneurship by sharing their exciting Stories!

And as a part of our initiative, we invited yet another passionate Womanpreneur Ms. Nikita Maheshwari for an interview with us to understand more about her entrepreneurial journey. She is the Founder At Tatkalorry. Let’s learn more about her exciting journey, her background and her advice for our growing community! Dynamic, daring and a go-getter—these words are floating around the lady herself.

Below are the excerpts from our exclusive interview with her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey, please;

My name is Nikita Maheshwari, I am a GNLU and EDII Graduate, a lawyer who turned into a logistician. I started my journey as an Entrepreneur when I was merely 22 and failed. At 23, I founded my second venture.  I have changed 7 schools in 14 years of schooling. I originally hail from a small town named Bhind in MP. I am an absolute extrovert and I prefer beginning my day with setting up my laptop, speaking with teams while making a to do list. My journey has been full of ups and downs, failures, and battling the situations to create my own space in this male dominant industry. Make a little mark in whatever way I can. I have learned everything on the job as I have no prior corporate experience. Right from dealing with constitutional terminologies to learning to deal with labours, it has been one incredible journey so far.

Please Provide a brief overview of your product & Services?

Tatkalorry Private Limited is a niche logistics and supply chain management company operating primarily in the ceramics and construction material industry, committed to providing effective logistical support to a largely unorganised sector. We specialise in small load transportation in multiple cities i.e. We do both first mile & Last mile deliveries.

Combined with a unique idea of providing supply chain management services in a fragile but heavy industries in form of part load. We brought innovations in the Operation and Packaging for Heavy yet fragile Materials, before making them transportable in the best possible manner.

Our Solution aims at solving problems for Ceramic and Construction materials manufacturers, such as;

  • Part-loading problems: We provide deliveries of a single order in parts, across all cities. Previously was not a practise in the industry. We specialise in Part load management.
  • Cash Flow Management: Tatkalorry encourages part load mechanism. Our customers don’t have to invest in larger stocks and thus we help them keep the cash flow in managing the daily capital requirements.
  • Single point service provider: We also operate as an aggregator for several small and medium scale transport service providers.
  • Opportunity for Small players: small service providers such as porters, rickshaw-pullers, auto-rikshaw drivers, mini-truck drivers are associated with us, hence we also cater to their job demands.
  • In-Transit Damage Control: Since ceramics and construction materials are highly fragile, in-transit damage is a huge factor. We have been experimenting with several materials to reduce these losses.

What inspired you to build the above Product & Service?

Back in 2015 while pursuing my MBA, Along with my brother I Co-Founded our first venture Tilebazzar.com. By March, 2016 during my second year of MBA, even though we had all the exceptional research on hand, we knew we were failing at Tilebazzar. Despite the failure, I didn’t crib about the whats and whys, rather I got up and dusted myself. I  backed up again and did all the research one more time as to why the idea had failed and, Viola! that is exactly when we figured out that my present company Tatkalorry was the answer. My failure led me to my big idea. My dedication to make an impact in a core industry helped me hit the bull’s eye.

In my view Supply chain and logistics management has been a backbone of industrial growth and development. Government of India has also been emphasising on the need for a robust supply chain and logistics management in several sectors most notably in agricultural, core manufacturing and multi-brand retailing sectors. Logistical costs have always been extremely volatile for any Products based industry. Further, ineffective supply chain management leads to unavoidable price rises and thereby contributes largely to the inflationary trend of the economy being the single-largest indirect costing factor to the ultimate consumer.

Tatkalorry Private Limited is a niche logistics and supply chain management company operating primarily in the ceramics and construction material industry committed to providing effective logistical support to a largely unorganised sector. Not only do we streamline the end-to-end customer service in the industry as a single point solution provider we also organize over 100 small and medium scale service providers under our umbrella.

How did you find the industry / niche you are in?

While pursuing my Masters in Business Entrepreneurship, I could not help but be influenced by a barrage of tech-oriented start-ups. However, as I developed keen understanding in business, I realised that tech-start-ups more or less enhance an already existing thriving business. I saw, there were very few people who tried or were may be trying to disrupt the Core Industries work. My belief in entering such a core area was fortified during the Make in India campaign. With resources of the Government being channelized in promoting manufacturing industries, I was motivated to contribute by supporting such splurge in manufacturing by developing an effective logistics and supply chain management system.

What is Your life Mantra?

These are the things that my father has taught me and I for one, Idolize him:

  1. Create something, a something what lives and stays beyond you.
  2. If cannot have a problem solving mindset, we will always be stuck in the same rut.
  3. Its easier to find mistakes and flaws but very tough to look at the brighter and better side.
  4. Their perception of you is what they think of you, that does not define what a person you are.
  5. There are only two ways, either you control your brain or it will control you to mess you up as royally as possible.

The most challenging part of your journey till date and how did you Overcome those challenges?

One of the greatest challenge was to pick myself up again when I was just 23 years old when my dream venture had just fallen apart.  Second and a continuing challenge is Owning up and figuring out the mistakes.

Further, once the research to start the second company was done,  finding co-founders who were senior to me and making them believe that my idea was worth investing and had a market which was also tough.

I literally had to learn everything on the job while performing my job on a day to day basis because I had no experience in the industry. From Being a Lawyer by qualification to an entrepreneur, I had to learn everything from working on spreadsheets to accounting to dealing with staff and creating SOPs. However, the entire experience so far has been enriching and exhilaration

Being an entrepreneur is about owning up and taking responsibilities. The moment you understand that, self doubt becomes a boon because every single decision that you take can affect a minimum of 10 families working with you which is almost 40 people. You take things in a stride and start thinking from every possible scenario because it is no more just about you. It is about your team and the culture you are trying to build in the company.

Logistics and supply chain management as a service-based industry is per se a male dominated industry. Moreover, providing such a service in ceramics and construction materials industry adds another layer of gender bias amongst the people involved. The work-force in this industry comprises of more uneducated male labourers coming from a socially challenged strata of the society. One would not find women at any level in this industry. In such a scenario being a woman at top-level management has its own challenges. Most of the people and labourers are taken by surprise interacting with a woman and are even more reluctant in following instructions passed by a woman. I have to regularly engage with wide variety of people from labourers, porters, drivers to chief executive officers. It is very tough to shift gears every now and then, depending on the recipient. I learn on the job daily, move ahead and fix things. Every day is a new opportunity for me.

How are you managing your Life and work during Lockdown caused by COVID 19?

To be honest, Lockdown has absolutely disrupted my routine and growth plans. But I guess, this is the common situation for all of us. Initially I took time to digest the fact and wrapped my brain to map the entire situation, but once there was acceptance within me , COVID19 now looks more like an opportunity and a breather for us to take the plunge into different products and revenue streams we were unable to do for the past 3.5 years. We have plans, backup plans and backup’s backup plan to deal with the situation once the lockdown open.

Covid-19 also gave a beautiful opportunity to connect with my employees and understand them. Lastly, because it was getting difficult to work from home, and manage life along with all the chores I decided to make sure that I work at least 6 hours in a day.

What is your source of motivation for the day when you wake up?

That’s, I am going to simplify supply chain management for this Industry and make it more cash fluid and convenient for them, one day at a time. Today, is just another brick in the long wall.

Money or Emotions, what comes first for you?

Emotions, always emotions. Money is a by-product.

How do you Manage your stress?

Being an entrepreneur is full of uncertainties, there will always be something new that would bother you and a new problem would crop up. It is important that you start treating things on a lighter note and be solution oriented. A large part of being solution oriented is knowing where your personal strengths don’t lie and building a team that complete you. Also, having an infectious smile helps!

What according to you are keys to success?

Patience, perseverance and Peace (Mental & Emotional).

What Online Apps/tools do you use the most and Why?

Thank God for Excel Sheet & Whatsapp! My company runs on it and life is so much easier with them in it!

What habit you think, makes you more productive?

I don’t manage my time, I prefer managing my energies.  We have to understand that time is a finite resource, but energy of body, mind and emotions is a different story all together. I take small breaks and breathers and then give 100% to smallest or any activity that I do.

Your business Goals / plans for next 3 years?

The covering Industry in Real Estate in the state of Gujarat produces 1.5 Lakh Crores annually. This includes Tiles, Sanitary, Aluminium Sheets, Laminates etc. From amongst these, 90% of production of Ceramic Tiles happens in areas of Morbi, Himmatnagar & Kadi. Therefore, a very small geography caters to a thumping Industry, making India the 3rd Largest producer of tiles in the world.

Despite this, the logistics & supply chain management within this Industry is highly unorganised. Tatkalorry in last 3 years has taken baby steps in making logistics and supply chain management state of the art service, even when the industry shown resistance to the use of emerging technology.

In the next five years my plan is to make the entire covering Industry which is situated in this small geography, tech-savvy by relaunching Tilebazzar, bringing in price transparency, easy qualitative accessibility & timely delivery with Tatkalorry in any quantity at any place. I plan to put them on global map while making profits.

Share a quote that inspires you the most.

If there is a one thing that distinguishes outrageously successful entrepreneurs from everyone else is their ability to get back up. If you were to look at the life journey of someone that you aspire to be, you’d always find a common denominator – It’s Resilience – Neeta Bushan

Your advice for the Aspiring Entrepreneurs.

  • There is no growth in your comfort zone, there’s no comfort in your growth zone.
  • Failure is only in your mind, get back and get at it.
  • It’s okay not have it all figured out on day one, I didn’t have it all figured out. I just went ahead and kept on working learning.
  • There are no mistakes only rectifications and corrections in building a company.
  • When you are building something you’ll have good days, bad days, over whelming days, too tired days, I’ am awesome days, I can’t go on days, but every day you’ll still show up!

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