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‘ takes care of the supply chain management all by itself’

Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 14:56 Hrs  [IST] claims to be the first fully dedicated B2B e-commerce platform for the hospitality industry procurements in whole of Asia. While designed to remove the transactional and management complexities and inefficiencies involved in the conventional procurement process, people behind it promise it to be a ‘value optimising market place’ by providing a fair platform where buyers can discover sellers and transact business securely. According to Amit Shukla, CEO of they are in the process of streamlining the portal by adding user-friendly features to enable to shop over 30,000 products across OS&E and FF&E categories by end of 2017. Excerpts from an interview with Hospitality Biz.

Q Pursuite claims to be the first B2B procurement portal dedicated to the hospitality industry. What made you think in terms of setting up an e-commerce portal for hotel procurement, when the industry is still comfortable doing business in conventional fashion?

Though industry has been transacting business in conventional manner for decades, the method is plagued by transactional and management complexities leading to time and cost inefficiencies for all involved parties. Limited geographical reach of suppliers and manufacturers and data discovery means of buyers restrict choices, while involvement of intermediaries has led to erosion of profits for suppliers and manufacturers and cost escalation for buyers. In our conversations with the buyers and sellers, we realised that both are actively seeking a solution to manage this complexity and lower costs while improving their P&L earnings. This was our main inspiration to build a B2B procurement portal to deal with systemic inefficiencies in hospitality industry procurements. At present, no procurement marketplace in Asia caters to the hospitality industry, exclusively. Pursuite’s simple and efficient platform provides a fair and transparent marketplace where buyers can discover and securely transact with multiple suppliers as per their means and requirements. We have incorporated, and are incessantly working on features to streamline the industry supply chain and improve efficiency at all levels.

Q What makes Pursuite unique as a B2B e-commerce platform, and how user friendly are the features?
Pursuite is a ‘value optimising’ marketplace. The platform proffers widest catalogue of choicest items across all price points along-with multiple seller options to the buyer. Further, our intelligent algorithm ensures that buyers get curated personalised shopping experience. The suppliers, on the other hand, get access to a wide and varied audience with extended market reach, higher deal conversion rates, brand building and market demand insights to name a few. We have automated the traditional industry purchase practices, and have added a layer of efficiency on top, to ensure that both buyers and sellers can use Pursuite as a one-stop portal for product placement, product discovery, quotation handling, product and quotation comparisons, negotiation, packaging, shipment, delivery and payments. The real time multi-channel notifications ensure that all involved parties are aware of everything happening related to their deal at all times.

Q Indian buyers always want to negotiate rates before placing the order. What scope Pursuite as an e-commerce platform offers to buyers to negotiate rates?
Well, the answer to this question is one of our main offerings. Pursuite is not simply an e-commerce portal where one would register and make purchases. The platform has been built keeping industry practices in view and hence buyers and suppliers can actually negotiate on the pricing of the products directly with each other. Each buyer and seller has his/her personal account on the portal for maintaining his/her buying and selling activities. Buyers can create quote requests through portal that are sent to multiple sellers simultaneously. The quotes are received in buyer accounts wherein they can compare quotations sent by multiple sellers, negotiate on the rates, and then place the order(s). Moreover, the buyer can interact with the supplier and vice-versa on real-time basis with the platform’s chat assistant. We ensure that confidentiality of all the communications between the buyer and seller is maintained.

Q How does Pursuite facilitate urgent requirements of certain essential goods?
All the products listed on our portal have an option that we call ‘Quick Buy’. This feature enables the buyer to directly add the required goods (in the required amount which should be atleast equal to minimum order quantity listed for the product) into their shopping cart and checkout by buying instantly, without the need to create quote request and negotiate with the sellers. They can choose from multiple payment options as per their convenience. Buyers can even choose to pay by cheque. Our “Quick Buy” listed products are reasonably priced and we are in the process of optimising the prices further.

Q Considering the country has embraced a new tax regime through GST, how procurement through e-commerce portals like Pursuite makes it convenient to comply with the invoicing,recording, filing, processes involved in procurement both at the buyers and sellers side?
The system has been updated as per GST guidelines. As a result, everything from quote request creation to raising Purchase Order (PO), invoicing and processing the final order, the platform makes sure that the entire process complies with the new GST guidelines. Additionally, since all the records and documents are maintained in electronic form with easy search capability, it is much easier to retrieve historical data. We are also in the process of providing automated accounting functionality to sellers, which will further simplify bookkeeping and returns filing.

Q What is the size of the Pursuite platform in terms of number of sellers and buyers? What is the volume of transaction that you want to fulfil through this platform in the first year?
We have more than 100 suppliers and more than 20 hotel and restaurant brands with multiple properties on our portal. Some of the prominent hospitality players like The Bristol Gurgaon, Treebo, Tree of Life Varanasi, Country Inns & Suites Mysore, Lemon Tree Greater Noida, Novotel Goa, O Freak Pune and HUF Sarovar Mumbai are amongst a few early adopters.

At present, our product range offers OS&E (Office Supplies & Equipment) and Consumables category with over more than 150 brands on the platform. We are currently proffering more than 10,000 products from the OS&E and consumables category and will soon be launching products in FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures and Equipments) segment as well. With that, we aim at offering over 30,000 products across OS&E and FF&E categories by the end of this year.

Q What is the kind of infrastructure that you have put in place pan India to make the supply chain fast and seamless?
We have tied up with all the major logistics companies in the country to ensure pan-India seamless and fast delivery. The platform’s intelligent algorithm identifies and suggests the most suitable logistics partner to the supplier depending on the pick-up and delivery location. The product suggests shipment schedule to the seller based on delivery requirements of the buyer and gives timely reminders and notifications for order packing and shipment. Our back-end team also monitors shipments and ensures that packing, shipment and delivery progress as per schedule. Buyers also have real-time view (and notifications) of the packing and shipment status of their order. This way the platform takes care of supply chain management all by itself.

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