Launched in 2017 with 25 vehicles, Truck Lagbe is now the largest online truck booking platform in the country
When Saiful Islam needed to move from Gulshan 1 to Uttara, he came to know about Truck Lagbe. Normally, he would have had to call friends to see if they knew any trustworthy pickup truck driver, then negotiate for an agreeable price and then settle for a moving arrangement.
Even then Saiful could not have been sure of a smooth and professional dealing between him and the service provider. But it didn't have to be that way, because he could avail the service from the dedicated and professional platform Truck Lagbe.
Truck Lagbe is part of the new generation IT startups that grew in brand value over the past few years. The businesses also grew, albeit ostensibly not reaching profitability in some cases. But they grew because of a reason as old as economic activity. These companies are providing services for which there is demand in the market.
The IT startups, which typically have tech-smart youth at the helm, implemented technology to deliver these demands. In Truck Lagbe’s case, the digital platform eliminated the middlemen and expedited the whole process, saving its clients time and money.
When Truck Lagbe was launched in July 2017 with only 25 vehicles on board, its founders had a vision to “create an open and transparent platform for shippers and owners/operators where they can find each other without the interference of anyone else.”
Three years later, the company now has thousands of verified vehicles registered with the network, from across the country. The clientele is also diverse, including consumers like Saiful to businesses that rely on the service.
Apart from the ease of acquiring the service, what makes a platform like Truck Lagbe most attractive is that it can save logistics costs. But how much cost can it save really? Quite a lot, says CEO Anayet Rashid.
“Logistics is a multi-dimensional process where each and every element is interdependent. And a logistics process is less likely to be costly when all the elements function together in an efficient and effective manner,” he said.
Because the app facilitates the consignor-carrier-consignee connections, and also handles payments, and imposes a structure, the platform connects a lot of dots that otherwise would have taken up a lot of time, energy, and resources. By acting as a ‘one-stop solution’ the platform enables its customers to find stability, which in turn removes all the variables and reduces costs ultimately.
“As a digital transportation service provider, Truck Lagbe provides a one-stop solution to all logistics problems for businesses. We identify the pain points of our clients when it comes to their logistics, and try to cater to their needs in accordance with their requirements,” said Rashid.
“If a business needs to unload their products to multiple drop points across different routes, we make sure that they can do so seamlessly. If a business needs to transport a massive number of goods in a day, we make sure that they are getting the right type and number of trucks to execute that.”
But Truck Lagbe does more than that. As redundancies get eliminated, truck operators are able to make more trips. This allows the company to offer trucks at competitive rates.
“Also, us being a digital platform reduces the hassle and time requirement for truck hiring, completion of trip and payment procedure. Hence, we are creating a coherent system that allows businesses to enjoy effortless and efficient logistics which significantly reduces their cost,” said Rashid.
The Truck Lagbe CEO says the company ensures timeliness, which in Bangladesh’s reality is often unattainable.
“Once a trip request is placed and the price is settled, we make sure that the customer is getting the trucks on time. This approach saves our customers from the potential delay involved in rescheduling and reduces cost in the process.”
As a result, the company grew to where it is now. Truck Lagbe is the market share leader in its sector by a 20 times difference from its competitors. It has over 50 thousand registered drivers and over 150,000 registered customers.
The company’s success in reaching a broad customer base comes clearly from the combination of all of the factors that makes it cost-efficient. Anayet Rashid, however, cites a figure that simultaneously startles and makes sense.
“The data obtained from our clients suggest that our clients have been able to reduce their logistics costs by up to 30% since they started taking our service,” said Rashid.
But this was not easy to achieve, and perhaps harder to maintain. To provide the value in cost, Truck Lagbe has to invest its resources towards keeping a large inventory. In other words, making sure service is always available -- there are always trucks for hire.
“In order to ensure that we are being able to streamline our clients’ logistics so that they can save money, we are always making sure that our inventory (registered trucks) are high in number, verified and always ready. At the same time, we allocate key account managers for our business clients, who make sure that the clients are always getting the best value when it comes to logistics,” Rashid said.
A saving up to 30% in logistics costs is probably the most compelling reason why the company can grow even bigger and be profitable. If the platform can continue to systemize the trucking sector and the cost-saving from logistics begins to have more impact, Truck Lagbe could help create a ripple effect of prosperity in the sector, with some of the ripples hopefully splashing into the wider economy.