How has been TESSOL growth journey so far?
TESSOL is a very different from the most manufacturing or product companies in India. We have a mission to create sustainable and affordable cold chain solutions from farm to fork. In that endeavour, we work hand in hand with our customers and innovate on multiple fronts including technology, product and business model. Over the last five years, we have had a phenomenal growth in our product portfolio and customer base, we have touched all commodities across the perishables space and are now reflecting corresponding growth in our revenues.
What is your take on the recent performance of Indian cold chain storage and transportation sector?
I strongly believe in the need of cold chain across the value chain for specific commodities – the question however comes on its economic viability. I think, while the cold storage and transportation industry has built capacity to provide these services, the cost of such operations (especially, transport) remain high for the users and they still think of it as a premium service. If this is the case, the government will need to keep giving infrastructure subsidy and it will always be a niche segment. The product innovators and service providers need to work together on solutions that can overall reduce these costs and help us scale this industry to a level where there are cost economies of scale and cold chain becomes mainstream.
What are the growth drivers of your business?
The key drivers for our business include growth in food processing industry, home delivery, e-commerce and urban distribution of perishables.
What is TESSOL’s current portfolio of cold chain storage and transportation projects?
We are currently integrating the last mile connectivity of three of the largest online grocery retailers in the country. We have deployed our technology successfully for urban distribution application with large 3PL players and ice cream companies.
What are some of the significant projects in the pipeline?
We plan to build on the above product segments with a larger set of customers over the next one year.
How do PLUGnCHILL products help to bring efficiency in cold chain operations?
PLUGnCHILL is a plug-in energy storage technology which eliminates the use of any engine power for cooling. Therefore, it reduces the diesel consumption and the cost of transportation by up to 60 per cent. Given its independence from the engine and its RPM, it gives excellent temperature performance during city movement (even with multiple openings) which is characterised by low speed and extensive stoppages. The technology based on thermal energy storage ensures that there is no product spoilage even if the vehicle primary engine fails therefore protecting client’s valuable cargo. Our newly introduced ‘SWAP’ unit is ideal for tertiary distribution and multi-temperature application. With SWAP, one can bring down the total cost of transportation very close to ‘Dry Cargo’.
How does the company plan to expand its presence in cold storage and transportation in India?
We are dominant in the West of India given our origins. We also have good number of assets in the South and now in North for our key account customers. Our plan is to set up service centers and backup operations before we expand into a new territory. We are currently in the process of doing that in the North and East. Once we have that infra in place by end of this FY, we will expand rapidly in these geographies.
How technology is defining your business’ future?
Our venture is based on the use of latest refrigeration technology at the core and hi-technology for improving the operations and experience of our customers. We work closely with stakeholders on the remote monitoring business using GSM and Wi-Fi technology. Internally, we use technology for monitoring our helplines, service requests and system performance.
What are some of the key issues and challenges for the company? How are these being resolved?
Current challenges are all typical challenges that come with business growth and expansion. We have strengthened our top management team so that there is strong focus on detail even while growing rapidly.
How do you see the future of your industry beyond 2019?
We are optimistic about the future of this industry and anticipate an accelerated growth. I believe that given various growth drivers and the lack of existing infrastructure in India, the high growth rates should continue at least over the next four to five years.