Grasshoppers

Dulith Herath’s take on entrepreneurship

Every successful entrepreneur has a unique story detailing their success. In the case of Dulith Herath, it took him 14 years of 18-hour days to finally end up with his company being valued at 100 million USD. Mind you, throughout these 14 years, the growth was purely organic. No investors and no borrowings. Needless to say, we were most intrigued about his input on the topic of entrepreneurship.

Where did your drive to become an entrepreneur come from?

I think it goes back to my childhood. Even in school, my idea of role play was to be a leader. I recall how I would distribute ID tags to my friends, and they would assume the role of my employees. My strengths always seemed to lean more towards getting my classmates together so we could learn in groups.

 Is there a story behind the Kapruka name?

Literally translated from Sinhala to English, the word describes a wishing tree. Additionally, I wanted a name that easily rolls off the tongue, one that you cannot misspell. The name also does not limit me to one particular industry, it has even given me the freedom to trade services.

“I am also lobbying for entrepreneurship to be taught in schools. If we can learn about history, I don’t see why entrepreneurship is not part of the curriculum.”

Can you recall some defining moments in your career?

The first would have to be my initial orders that ranged from around 2 to 3 a week. Then I remember making my first million dollars. Eventually that turned into 10 million dollars and we kept growing. After Kapruka reached its peak, I appointed a new CEO to take lead of the business so that I could spend time on developing new ventures.

What other ventures are you currently occupied with?

One is called the Global Shop; this allows people to order from Amazon and Ebay with relative ease. Then have Grasshoppers. This is a business that facilitates the deliveries of other ecommerce websites and social media sellers in Sri Lanka. Java Lounge is also another one of my ventures in the local 3 café space.

 Do you think entrepreneurs have an abundance of opportunities in Sri Lanka?

In most developed companies, their economies are driven by it startups, for instance, Japan was completely developed by thousands of entrepreneurs. Sri Lanka on the other hand is a blank sheet, ready to be painted by all the unique ideas that entrepreneurs bring to the table. Having said, I believe that there are plenty of opportunities in Sri Lanka.

 In your view, what role should the government play in supporting entrepreneurs?

Governments do not need to intervene with the establishment of entrepreneurs. Personally, I prefer if they left me alone to do what I want to do. If you really want to establish yourself, you wouldn’t wait for the government to come and support you.

Do you believe that there are social issues which hinder the establishment of entrepreneurs?

For the most part, Sri Lanka is rural. In other words, there are so many rough gems around that need to be polished so that their ideas can be brought out into the light. What these individuals lack is the necessary soft skills. I believe that this is where the government should come in, help these individuals in developing their people, presentation and communication skills. I am also lobbying for entrepreneurship to be taught in schools. If we can learn about history, I don’t see why entrepreneurship is not part of the curriculum.

What are some instances in which a venture can fail?

If you think about it, setting up your own business is like jumping off a mountain and figuring out how to fly on the way down. If you crash, it is most likely because a pilot project was not conducted; it is important to remember to take baby steps. Even though this is the opposite of what most people say, you need to know when to give up as well. What I mean by this is, if you know that a venture is failing, have the courage. to give it up and start over with a fresh idea.

Do you have plans to expand internationally?

Kapruka is very stable at the moment so I do not have plans of taking it to other countries. However, Kapruka has led to the development of Grasshoppers, the wheels of ecommerce. The challenge isn’t to deliver a product to Rajagiriya, rather, it lies in delivering something to a rural village in Ratnapura. My next goal is to take the Grasshoppers network to other developing countries where rural deliveries are difficult to do.

 What would you want the next generation of entrepreneurs to know?

Improve your soft skills. A lot of young entrepreneurs have great ideas. but they cannot look eye to eye with a person. This is because they are too shy about being vocal regarding their ideas. Vulnerable people like this are at risk of falling into the hands of the wrong investor who may take them for granted. You might know how to walk the walk. but you must how to talk the talk as well.

Posted by Rachitha in Review Articles

E-commerce Delivery in Sri Lanka…..!!!

At present, when it comes to online shopping a new generation of customers who value convenience, time and cost saving over other means, has embraced the Sri Lankan e-commerce culture with such priority. Globally, e-commerce is one of the fastest growing industries; however, in Sri Lanka it is at the primary stages of its adaptation to this new wave of innovative culture. Hence, every day is a new learning experience to the Sri Lankan e-commerce industry, with the use of new trends and best practices. This would eventually allow fully utilizing and reaching the full potential of e-commerce in Sri Lanka.

The rapid advancements in information technology (IT), has allowed the Sri Lankan e-commerce delivery services to grow into a competitive arena. One of the factors that had contributed to this remarkable progress is the country’s high penetration in mobile phones. According to census and statistics, every citizen in Sri Lanka owns at least one or two mobiles and the amount of smart phones available in the country has surpassed the national population levels. This has created a platform for citizens where, it has allowed them to gain an exposure to the e-commerce industry in both locally and internationally.

Furthermore, the Sri Lankan e-commerce delivery services now provide items related to medicine, household, clothing and kids (Clothes, toys etc.), construction, machineries etc. and services related to travel, education, hospitals etc. This has become a competitive medium of trade as, it tends to avoid the intermediary and so forth hence, it has proven to be more cost effective and efficient when compared with other means.

This has enabled Sri Lankans to seek more services via e-commerce means as, it is one of the high cost-effective means compared to other physical delivery services. In addition, they offer variety of discounts while providing a high quality range of services and goods.

Last Mile Delivery…

One of the biggest challenges that many local e-commerce sites face is the issue of ‘on-time product delivery’ in rural areas due to the lack of service in last mile delivery.

The “last mile” of e-commerce fulfillment, the processes and systems involved in making sure final delivery is efficient – is getting plenty of attention these days. New models that are introduced for managing the “last mile “such as,         “click and collect” locations and added cost pressures in the form of tougher dimensional pricings from parcel carriers are forcing closer scrutiny for the last-mile processes.

Many reputable Sri Lankan e-commerce delivery services tend to sustain in providing fast-paced solutions to its customers. As a result, they use ways such as,  ‘a fix date delivery’, ‘collect at your local store’, ‘Next day delivery’, ‘same day delivery’, ‘two hour delivery’ etc. to ensure that the customer experiences a better service. However, the most popular solution provided is the ‘fix-date delivery service’ as, this gives a better closure to the customers on their product deliverables and also due to the fact that many Sri Lankan e-commerce delivery services aren’t capable of providing fast-paced courier services such as ‘Same Day Delivery’. This is mainly due to the lack of resources such as, warehousing, stocks, raw materials, skilled labor, vehicles, updated logistics etc.

Grasshoppers…

 

Grass hoppers is yet another venture from the Sri Lankan entrepreneur and E-Commerce Guru Mr. Dulith Herath.

As a serial entrepreneur himself, nothing gives his to joy as much as seeing and helping someone else to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. Achieving Dreams together is his concept for this. Grasshoppers success stories are not only about how successful their E – commerce deliveries are, but also about empowerment and giving wings to entrepreneurial dreams of many Sri Lankans united under one flag across the country. They continue to disrupt the conventional notions of e-commerce delivery in Sri Lanka. Grasshoppers concept keeps evolving and they are looking at using the coastal shape of Sri Lanka to actualize “Middle Mile” delivery from hub to hub.

Impotence part of  in here is The “Last Mile” to deliver to the end customer will be completed by a Grasshopper! (Entrepreneurs who are join with grasshoppers) Grasshoppers not only underpinning local entrepreneurs, they are creating jobs by providing more people with the opportunity to Be Their Own Boss by joining the Grasshopper delivery chain.

It is Kapruka.com’s unique delivery fulfillment arm with the promise of offering the cheapest and the quickest service in door-to-door delivery in Sri Lanka. At Grasshoppers  intend to revitalize the courier network in Sri Lanka and to be the chosen partner for various leading brands, local industrial experts and rising local and global businesses. Each delivery is a mission for them to build a long-term trusted relationship with their stakeholders. This encouraged them to create innovative systems and time definite delivery schedules.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Rachitha in Review Articles

PUSHING GROCERY OFF THE EDGE TO TAKE THE E-COMMERCE PLUNGE IN SRI LANKA

Online Grocery shopping is the trickiest e-commerce nut to crack and many large supermarket chain have only made a half-hearted attempt to do so. Customers too have been slow to adopt online grocery buying. A study by Morgan Stanley recently showed 84% of shoppers still prefer to choose their grocery items personally and this has remained unchanged since 2016.

One the one side Grocery in Sri Lanka is largely MRP driven and extremely price sensitive hence margins can be deemed too slim for the additional logistics of home delivery. On the other side the grocery customer does not have an incentive to shop online unless the inventory provides choice and thereby a meaningful basket size to take the online plunge. The challenges surrounding the delivery of fresh is another major psychological constraint. In a market where going to the Sunday pola is still the things to do, the idea of relying on the online channel for freshness seems unrealistic.

I absolutely love to crack these hardest nuts and going into the 2nd phase of Kapruka’s engagement with Sri Lanka’s leading supermarket it’s important to look in the eye of these large players and tell them exactly how to make online grocery a winner.

 

Online Must Be About Choice

One obvious advantage is choice. At the store your space is limited to your shelf and the number of brands and SKU’s on shelf is limited by the masterfile. Online grocery should be about offering that choice and more to the customer.

Local Store Feeding a Region Works

Logistics is the other make or break game that can be made the advantage in online channel. Most go for the very traditional fulfillment model which is the inventory model. It simply means you have a certain inventory that is dedicated in your warehouse ready to be shipped on demand. But this requires a lot of holding costs and opportunity costs become huge. The hyperlocal modal on the other hand is the model for scalability and most new entrants in the field opt for this. Going hyperlocal means plugging the last mile logistics to the local store with each of them feeding their region.

No Frills No Fat Channel

So, in this 2nd phase with Cargills Food City, https://www.kapruka.com/shops/specialGifts/spotlights.jsp?t=foodcity Kapruka is navigating with the giant to go hyperlocal- and with that to relook at some of the cost structures that get in the way of seeing the potential of online grocery.

The beauty of E-commerce is that it is a completely different beast to traditional brick and mortar retailing. It carries none of the frills or the fat layers of your store that’s plugged with innumerable front-end costs from shelf space, to sales staff, to electricity that squeeze margins. It is essentially a high margin model that can simply take-off on the already sunk costs of physical stores and warehouses.

Online Grocery is without doubt an economically challenging space. But increasingly with the willingness to innovate coupled with scalability some large players like Whole Foods partnering Amazon and Walmart going it alone are cracking this nut.

So, while the store experience is here to stay for Grocery, agility and willingness to change can make e-commerce a plunge worth taking. Backed by Kapruka and its Grasshoppers infrastructure that is transforming the last-mile delivery in Sri Lanka it really time to decide to take that leap or simply watch from the edge.

Posted by Rachitha in Review Articles