Polycab Wires Needed to Short Delays and Theft in Its Delivery Circuits

The Complete Polycab Story

Polycab, an industry leader for over four decades in India, is one of Asia’s leading copper cable and wire manufacturing companies.

Polycab caters to two very different market types.

On one hand, it handles large orders for custom designed copper wire coils from B2B clientele in niche sectors like utilities, energy, telecommunication, petroleum & oil refineries, OEM’s, EPC contractors, large industrial manufacturing facilities, as well as atomic energy & nuclear power facilities. Polycab also caters to B2C clientele for products like solar inverters, switchgear products, as well as industrial products and consumer appliances.

Like most large-scale manufacturers in the world, Polycab uses 3PLs to handle product distribution from their manufacturing facilities on to distributors and resellers.

While it did have SLAs in place to enforce stringent delivery timelines for their 3PLs (to ensure customers received orders on time), the transporters weren’t always exclusive to Polycab, which meant its shipments didn’t always make a beeline to their point of delivery.

Delayed shipments and unpredictable ETAs were a growing problem not just for Polycab, but also for its customers.

Polycab is the go-to cable manufacturer for several large high-value energy and infrastructure projects across India, and any delay in delivery means projects worth billions get held up.

Besides ensuring their transporters maintain discipline in their delivery schedules, Polycab was also grappling with the growing risk of theft or pilferage among shipments of its electrical appliances.

Transporters frequently made unplanned stops or took long roundabout routes that exposed shipments to a greater risk of theft or pilferage. Polycab had no reliable way to track when that happened so they could hold their 3PLs accountable.

Polycab needed a way to keep its 3PLs, shipment delays, as well as supply chain losses in check.

Polycab’s Ask

Reduce Delivery Delays

3PL Tracking

Route Deviation Alerts

Improve ETA Predictability

Reduce Theft And Pilferage

Polycab Wanted a Predictable and Efficient Supply Chain

Regardless of the type of client catered to, Polycab owes its market dominance and resilience to a trifecta of excellence in product innovation, superior quality, and ready availability.

Delivering service and satisfaction is paramount to the company, which is why Polycab is doing its best to ensure that:

  • It can deliver orders reliably, with the option of Just-in-time (JIT) delivery to help its clients optimize their inventory management and reduce holding costs.
  • It can adhere to a targeted stocking policy among its 20+ regional warehouses and numerous other distributors, to ensure its products are always readily available where needed without overstocking.

Polycab hopes their ability to deliver quality products on time will make them a supplier of choice throughout India, while also giving them the competitive edge and experience to eventually branch out into new business opportunities in more global markets.

The only hurdle to delivering on this dream was an inefficient distribution system, which was predominantly due to their reliance on a large network of independent transport providers (also known as 3PLs) for most of their logistics and last-mile delivery operations.

What Polycab Needed Was Logistics Visibility

Polycab needed shipment tracking to reduce delays and improve ETA predictability.

Several regional distributors also rely on Polycab to keep them well stocked (without overstocking) to cater to fluctuating consumer demand, and any delays in restocking could mean losing business opportunities to rival suppliers.

While it’s possible to weed out such supply chain unpredictability by maintaining their own fleet, Polycab didn’t want to do that. Maintaining a fleet would unnecessarily add to their logistics spends, and they’d be spending twice as much on transport as they’d need to; their vehicles would return empty after delivering a load.

Overcoming Supply Chain Inefficiencies

Polycab needed to make sure their truck operators weren’t taking them for a ride.

While Polycab tried to keep unpredictable ETAs and shipping delays in check by pushing their 3PLs to pull it together, it wasn’t working.

Polycab realized a simple solution to fix this would be to track each of its shipments, and it hoped to accomplish that using GPS vehicle trackers. Polycab believed that tracking the vehicles transporting their shipments would allow them to:

  • Make sure the truck drivers stick to their routes and timelines.
  • Identify unexpected stops or delays to help manage delivery schedules better.
  • Validate expenditures like distance travelled and detention.
  • Ensure shipment safety and integrity through the enforcement of best-practices.

Easier said than done though.

The first big hurdle was tracking a fleet that wasn’t their own.

Since Polycab wasn’t using leased vehicles or dedicated 3PLs, they couldn’t install GPS trackers themselves, neither could they rely on their 3PLs to install tracking systems of their own.

Prioritizing 3PLs that tracked their fleets using GPS wasn’t an option either.

Most 3PL fleets or market vehicles don’t have an active GPS tracking system installed, and those that do aren’t always available when needed.

If Polycab managed to hire a GPS-enabled vehicle to transport its shipments, getting access to the tracking data wasn’t easy, assuming of course, the 3PL agreed to share access in the first place. Even if 3PLs with GPS trackers were willing to share their tracking information, the diversity in tracking platforms and hardware used meant Polycab would have a hard time integrating their tracking data onto a unified dashboard.

It began to dawn on Polycab that the simple solution to their problems wasn’t the simplest of solutions to deploy.

The Roambee Solution — Tracking Shipments Without 3PL Involvement

Roambee told Polycab they shouldn’t rely on 3PLs to track their shipments, and neither could they track their shipments by tracking vehicles, it doesn’t work.

Instead, Roambee told Polycab to track their shipments by, you guessed it, tracking their shipments.

Roambee deployed wireless portable monitoring devices - the Bee - to give Polycab real-time visibility into the location and movement of their shipments.

Roambee's Answer

Real-Time Shipment Location Visibility

Route Compliance

Route Deviation Alerts

Detailed Route Reports

Polycab used a Bee to track each outbound shipment, giving them the ability to track ALL their shipments through a dedicated web portal, regardless of the type of shipment or 3PL used.

The web portal could also be used to:

  • Create multiple approved routes with ease.
  • Generate and download detailed shipment tracking reports.
  • Create dashboards to monitor an individual shipment’s status and manage its logistics.
  • Flag incidents like unnecessary stops or route deviations and track them as they happen.

Roambee’s live shipment tracking solution gave Polycab real-time alerts if there were any deviations from the norm like route changes or unscheduled stops. These alerts gave Polycab enough of a heads-up to call drivers in order to avoid risks or resolve issues. It also helped Polycab evaluate and benchmark their transporters, improving their logistics operations further by engaging their best performers.

Polycab’s Gains

Improved Transit Visibility

Supply Chain Predictability & Transparency

Shipment Security

Route Deviation Alerts

SLA Enforceability

3PL Benchmarking

But Wait... There’s More!

Polycab began by tracking around 50 shipments of its most valuable products a month, eventually scaling to over 3000 shipments per month after realizing its effectiveness.

A large portion of their business comes from big infrastructure projects that require specialized copper cable products of varying quality grades, some of which are manufactured months in advance. When an order is ready for dispatch, it took Polycab a while to trace each customized copper coil within its large storage facilities, warehouses, and yards. The cumulative delays added days to the time it took to dispatch orders, and inevitably, invoice a customer - all of which lead to additional interest on their working capital.

By tracking inventory in their largest facilities, Polycab significantly reduced the amount of time it takes to retrieve stock from storage, and it could now dispatch orders faster than it ever could before. This not only reduces Polycab’s own inventory holding costs but also frees up the working capital that’s tied up in inventory waiting to be dispatched.

In addition to that, Polycab also deployed Roambee’s BeeBeacon technology across the warehouses and yards of their biggest manufacturing facilities.

Polycab gradually realized that delays aren’t just in-transit, they begin in their yards - especially for their B2B make to order business.

Through better tracking and management of inventory indoors as well as in transit, Polycab can now deliver better on its promise of reliable JIT inventory.

Besides the improvements to its supply chain efficiency and predictability, Polycab began to leverage the real value of Roambee’s shipment tracking solution - Supply Chain Digitization.

Polycab integrated its manufacturing and logistics tracking data to eliminate the silos in its supply chain management systems, allowing it to predict ETAs and manage order fulfillment from the moment manufacturing begins.

It’s an advantage that Polycab is leveraging not just to retain market share in the face of growing competition, but it’s also building better distributor, dealer, and customer loyalty by guaranteeing product availability when and where it’s needed.

How Polycab Is Wired for Success Today

Polycab now has more control over its warehouse, distribution, and overall supply chain operations, allowing it to deliver not just better quality, but better customer service as well.

Polycab is now saving more through verifiable transport bills and lower inventory holding costs.

Polycab is now spending less on replacing stolen inventory and penalties for delayed shipments.

Polycab is now integrating all manufacturing and logistics operations though a digital supply chain management system.

Polycab is managing its working capital and cash flows effectively.

Polycab is NOW in control with Roambee.