Automating logistics negotiation helps GoComet go places

      08/08/2018

A few years ago, three IITians from Delhi started buying products from Alibaba in China and sold them on Amazon in the US. This experience prompted them to form their second venture — GoComet — two years ago, which automates the negotiation process for export and import of goods in logistics space.

“We help the companies to be more competitive within India, China, Malaysia and Indonesia,” said Gautam Prem Jain, co-founder and CEO, GoComet, whose customers are Galaxy Surfactants and VVF Ltd, chemical companies that contract manufacture soaps and detergents, including brands such as Dettol and Nivea.

The company’s client list now boasts of 50 large corporates, including Britannia and Sun Pharma. They lower the export-import cost by up to 3 crore, for companies with large volumes — with 300 containers a month, without changing their set of shipping firms. GoComet is now looking to raise $5-7 million in their second round of funding.

It automates the negotiation process for selecting logistics players in pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textiles and automobile sectors.

For the shippers, having GoComet onboard does not mean changing the logistics firms. “Each customer has its own set of policies, and four-five firms from whom it invites bids. Hence we don’t want to change them,” Jain, one of the four IIT-Delhi alumni who started the firm, told.

Freight forwarders also prefer this platform, as it has over 1,100 freight forwarding companies on its platform.

By automating negotiation, GoComet slashes time taken in request for qualification process by more than a third — to 12 from 45 minutes — for its biggest pharma customer, by lowering need to make multiple phone calls, among others.

It claims to enable multiple layers of negotiation with multiple parties, while maintaining quality, and other parameters. For instance, freight forwarders, shipping lines or airlines have to clearly specify the detention free period before they quote the rates. “We ensure standardisation is there for all parameters before bidding,” Jain said.

Layers of negotiation become exponential for bidders. “For example, when five logistics firms qualified for a bid, manufacturing firms usually negotiated with top two or three. Now, we show the rank of each freight forwarder, and all vendors negotiate till a closing time. For n number of players, there are n square number of negotiations happening,” said Jain, whose firm handles only export import side cargo.

“Companies usually ask for ocean freight, and port charges. When we compare the net landed cost, their margins are also added. This would mean that total cost could lower despite bidding with higher ocean freight charges,” Jain said. According to GoComet data, lowest ocean freight does not translate into lowest total freight charge in 37 per cent of the cases.