INDIA – Tech-powered food and supply chain enterprise WayCool Foods is investing close to US$20 million for its expansion plans this year which includes a foray into Western India (Maharashtra) and the Middle East.
The US$20 million is part of an ambitious expansion that includes plans to invest US$75-$100 million over the next four years to cement WayCool Food’s growth as an automation-powered supply chain entity.
Commenting on the company’s expansion plans, co-founder and CEO Karthik Jayaraman said: “Our capex plans [for the next 2-3 years] include building five large warehouses, setting up repacking facilities, and ramping up distribution centers in the Chennai-Coimbatore corridor.”
The company’s entry into Maharashtra will be as early as next month, according to CEO Jayaraman, and will include setting up distribution centers in Navi Mumbai and Pune and building Mumbai as a hub for imports of specified products.
WayCool’s confidence in expanding into new territories seems to be fuelled by the impressive growth that it has been recording lately.
Confidence in growth
Karthik Jayaraman, co-founder, and CEO, WayCool Foods said revenues have grown 4X from the same time last year and it has increased its customer base by 4x in the last year.
The company also recently said it crossed Rs 1,000 crore (US$134 million) in annual revenue run rate in June.
With this kind of growth, it is only understandable that WayCool would need to expand its wings in one of the world’s largest economies.
WayCool’s expansion is also timely as not only is India’s food supply chain fragmented, but there is added inefficiency due to these retailers having to make inventory purchases quite frequently, and then organize their own transport of goods back to their stores.
Its investment would therefore be bringing a positive impact to the communities in India particularly farmers who stand to benefit from better incomes and easy access to markets.
To scale and achieve the kind of growth it desires, ET Retail reports that WayCool will be expanding its workforce from 1,250 to 3,000 in the next few years.
WayCool says the use of deep technology has helped it to serve its base of 1,000,000 customers across the retail space, HoReCa (hotel, restaurant, and catering), and other verticals with fresh produce, staples, and dairy products during the pandemic.
“Currently, our productivity per team member is 1.5 times that of the industry average. Our target is to take this up to 5X,” Jayaraman said.
To increase productivity even further, WayCool is said to technologies such as automated grading and sorting, as well as robotized material handling.
Further, the company now works with a base of 80,000 farmers across south India through their commercial partnerships and agricultural extension program.
WayCool plans to invest more in these farmers through the above programs in order to help them increase productivity which will, in turn, increase their incomes by as much as 30%.
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