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Technology and leadership are the hottest trends in the business world and have a symbiotic relationship. While technology is sculpting a futuristic landscape, it’s also reshaping leadership and giving equal access to men and women. The logistics industry has seen increasing adoption of technology and female leadership. While it is primarily a male bastion, rising automation and innovations are welcoming female entrants. The pandemic has heightened its significance.

The rise of e-commerce and new logistics start-ups has opened up a world of new opportunities for leaders to explore. One leader rising to the occasion is Meghana Patil, Vice-President, Analytics and Innovation, WebXpress. She is a young and dynamic leader with a track record of developing cutting-edge solutions to unique business challenges.

Our magazine recently had the pleasure of interviewing this leading lady. The following excerpt is a thorough synopsis of the subsequent discourse.

Meghana started her career as a business analyst at WebXpress in 2012. In the years that followed, she honed her skills in customer relations and corporate operating models. Her hard work and dedication soon promoted her to lead product development. Following that, she joined Aurionpro and expanded her horizons in consulting and servicing the software needs of LSPs throughout Southeast Asia. After gaining substantial experience, she joined Mahindra Logistics as a strategic alliance and partner manager. She worked with several business partners and suppliers to improve operations through value-added services.

Meghana has held positions in product development, analytics, sales, operations, and procurement throughout her employment tenure. Her diversified background has enabled her to analyze opportunities and design solutions. Cutting it short, she focuses on enhancing the business size, customer base, and offerings. “When you seek solutions to business challenges, temporarily ignoring the static foundation and autopilot run routines, you truly start listening and leading situations,” asserts Meghana.

Now leading WebXpress’ analytics and innovation team, Meghana sees herself as an entrepreneur, bringing new ideas to the table to build products, redesigning existing offerings, interacting with clients to understand their needs, and collaborating with partners to curate unique solutions. She emphasizes meeting the needs of stakeholders (vendors, business partners, and customers) to simplify growth for everyone involved.

WebXpress is a one-stop-shop for new-age logistics solutions for LSPs from various sectors. Founded by Mr. Apurva Mankad (CEO), under the banner of ECFY Consulting Pvt. Ltd., WebXpress provides cloud-based mobile solutions to 3PL/transporters for managing their transportation, fleet, warehousing, and e-com logistics delivery, regardless of their business volume.

Its modules can be integrated into the procurement systems of manufacturers and retailers to plan routes for primary and secondary transportation. Its offerings include -Logicloud (Supply chain visibility), Velocity (Transport & Fleet management), Acres (Warehouse management), and Kart (E-com logistics management).

Besides these modules, the firm provides a control tower showing real-time data, alerts, analytics, advanced reports, and dashboards. WebXpress takes pride in being an Indian-made solution with international standards. In this way, it sets an example of the government’s ‘Made in India’ initiative for the global market, providing integrated products for managing contracts, bookings, deliveries, billing, and financing. WebXpress is headquartered in Mumbai with a development center in Surat and has regional teams in Delhi, Pune, and Hyderabad.

As a new-age firm, WebXpress is well aware of and aligned with the increasing technology adoption in logistics. With the radical shifts in business models and rising demands for transparency and online procurement, everyone is shifting to digital models. This forces businesses towards cloud platforms, IoT devices, AI & ML, and other augmenting tools. It enables them to use advanced analytics and data-centric tools for optimization and planning. The generated transactional data is shared with stakeholders, requiring scalable technologies to extract insights from the data clusters.

WebXpress places a major emphasis on R&D to stay on speed. They are committed to stakeholders’ success; hence, their product portfolio is constantly updated. Its team comprises tech-enthusiasts who focus on clients’ underlying challenges and work with advancements to craft qualified solutions. “We’re known for our strong analytics and foresight, which allows us to plan ahead of time to endure any disruption,” proudly asserts Meghana.

Their software is customized to adhere to changes in policy, compliance, and the entry of new IoT devices. By doing so, they prevent starting from scratch and reduce the TAT of a solution’s deployment. Moreover, its flexible framework fosters the development of new features faster than any other vendor. WebXpress also works with industry experts and policymakers to assess forthcoming changes and disruptions.

WebXpress is making new strides on the technology front, and a substantial credit goes to Meghana. She has matured as a conscientious leader, mastering many business facets over the last ten years, but the ride hasn’t been easy. She had her share of struggles that tested her might, but not because she was a woman. Her challenge was balancing personal and professional life and ensuring prosperity in both quarters.

Fortunately, she has a supportive family, peers, as well as leaders who constantly guide and shape her into the leader she is for her team and the company. For more motivation and leadership values, she looks up to legends like the Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mr. Ratan Tata, and the late Sushma Swaraj and their timeless leadership qualities. She also credits Mr. Apurva Mankad’s leadership, which helped her strengthen her forte.

Meghana strives to challenge people’s preconceptions of corporate insignificance as a leader by valuing women from all walks of life and providing them with the same opportunities as men. While the gender disparity has narrowed, there is still a fundamental element that requires a creative solution. She intends to address them through compassionate leadership, innovative tactics, empowering the weaker sections, effective resource management, precision, creativity, foresight, and morality.

Driven by people-centric leaders, WebXpress has a flat hierarchy and a matrix-like ecosystem that gives employees a lot of freedom; and having a large team of 100-150 individuals, they emphasize engagement. The company frequently trains its recruits and employees to induce healthy product ideas among teams. However, instead of employees, the company calls them “WebXites.”

They took their suggestions and ideas in stride while encouraging them to upgrade their skills and be flexible in switching to additional projects. This keeps the WebXites on a learning curve and enables them to work in cross-functional teams. “Whether a developer or product manager, every WebXite is constantly working on something new and challenging, from new processes to apps, to hardware integration, to even business intelligence,” explains Meghana.

The atmosphere ensures employees’ contentment, paving the way for innovation and sustainable growth. Each WebXite is clear of its roles and aware of the company’s vision and challenges, which keeps them dedicated even without supervision. The teams can address the top management of clients and make executive decisions. Putting it simply, they work like independent leaders, making decisions, sharing suggestions, and getting insights through problem-solving.

Meghana’s dedicated stewardship has rewarded WebXpress with diverse growth aspects. It’s at the forefront of the next generation of technology, from mobility to business intelligence, cloud to machine learning. Its client base has increased by 50% so far in this financial year. WebXpress caters to 100+ clients in India and overseas. It serves warehouse management giants like Jeena, Rhenus, and Global Trade; large e-commerce players like Snapdeal; fashion retailers like Madhura (Aditya Birla Fashion), Pantaloons, etc.

Regarding prospects, WebXpress is primarily focusing on bolstering its technological fortitude. Meghana highlights that they are on a rapid ascent and are seeing immense opportunities in IoT, analytics-as-a-service, cognitive solutions, etc. Also, they are revving up for the upcoming transformation in Indian e-commerce with the launch of ONDC. “By March 2023, we should reach 3x our turnover and expand our customer base,” forecasts Meghana.

The company will be the preferred logistics tech vendor with ready-to-implement IoT devices for diverse requirements, according to the Meghana’s foresight. Green gas emissions, primarily from freight, are also a focus for WebXpress. To address these, it will shortly develop ‘GreenExpress,’ which will redirect 3PLs and shippers to more efficient means.

“Be curious and a perpetual learner. Not only will it build experience but also confidence to stand firm in any situation. For leaders, it’s important not to polarize power and be gender inclusive with opportunities.”

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