Truck Lagbe, the leading on-demand trucking platform of Bangladesh, was founded in 2017. The company connects truck owners/drivers with shippers - people who need to hire trucks.
Generally speaking, truck transportation is a difficult industry. It remains largely archaic and is littered with problems like middleman and syndicate that have been a major challenge for the efficiency of the industry. Until recently, digitization was not a thing. Customers, both individuals, and businesses, routinely suffer because hiring trucks is seldom a good experience and truck owners and drivers suffer from lack of trips and suboptimal business returns. The industry operates in a certain manner and has been highly resistant to change.
Due to the nature of the industry, Truck Lagbe had to struggle and work doubly hard to find a footing in the industry in the early days. The Truck Lagbe team, however, has remained persistent and doggedly pursued the industry. Through a combination of hard work, innovation, and ingenuity, the company has managed to break into the industry.
Today, Truck Lagbe is one of the largest players in the logistics space in Dhaka and the company keeps on growing. The path to where it is today, however, was neither easy nor smooth.
In this story, we look into how Truck Lagbe has successfully managed to break into a difficult market like trucking and firmly established itself as a leading player in the vertical.
The big picture: Broadly speaking, Truck Lagbe works with two stakeholders. One, truck owners and drivers. Two, shippers - consumers and businesses who hire trucks through truck Lagbe. While the needs of these two segments are distinct, they play an interdependent role for Truck Lagbe. Because the success of one influences the success of the other.
To put it simply, for Truck Lagbe to be able to attract truck owners it needs to have enough users on its platform. Similarly, in order to have users - individuals and businesses - Truck Lagbe has to be able to fulfill any orders it generates on its platform. Truck Lagbe is essentially a marketplace. While it eventually gets easier to attract both shippers and truck owners, in the early days it is an uphill battle to attract either for any platform. Platforms usually ensue a self-perpetuating cycle once it reaches a critical mass of users threshold.
This reality applies equally to Truck Lagbe. For example, Truck Lagbe initially started off slow. The company had difficulty entering both the supplier market, which is owners and drivers, as well as the shipper market, which is individual and businesses who hire trucks. However, once the company reached a certain threshold, it has become easier.
In building a platform, when you have enough consumers hiring trucks using the Truck Lagbe platform, it automatically helps you in attracting more truck owners and drivers who are always looking for more businesses and thus more consumers who have better fulfillment rates and better prices and services and the cycle reinforces itself. While Truck Lagbe is yet to get there, the company has made some meaningful inroads.
Let’s take a look at how Truck Lagbe has got here:
A great product: One thing that has helped Truck Lagbe is a great product for which the time has come. Hiring trucks, in the traditional market, is an uphill battle for most shippers - be it individual or business. It is an experience that most consumers would love to do away with. This is exactly what Truck Lagbe enables consumers to achieve.
Using the Truck Lagbe app, you can hire a truck in just a few clicks. The company has launched a user-friendly app that makes the entire process of hiring trucks simple and hassle-free for consumers.
A self-perpetuating cycle of growth: On top of that, over the past years, Truck Lagbe has been able to build a good amount of awareness in the market and thus establishing trust and a perception among consumers that Truck Lagbe makes hiring trucks simpler. As a result, there are a large base of consumers who now hire trucks through Truck Lagbe, enabling Truck Lagbe to offer a solid value proposition to truck owners that if you come on to Truck Lagbe platform - you have chances of having good business compared to what you used to get.
The cycle continues and helps grow each part of the business. The model, being a marketplace and an aggregator, helps Truck Lagbe to attract both consumers as well as truck drivers and owners at an increasing rate.
Elevating an industry, for both truck owners and shippers: Truck Lagbe directly connects truck owners with people who need to hire trucks. This is a direct connection, which means you are peeling off a long list of middle-men and syndicates that used to operate in between truck owners/drivers and shippers. At the same time, by ensuring information symmetry Truck Lagbe has improved the overall trip efficiency of the industry. Today, a truck owner does not need to worry about finding a return trip.
Truck Lagbe has made the entire process efficient for both the truck owners and the customers. Both parties now could save money – owners could earn more and users could hire trucks at a better price.
Looking deeper: Let’s take a look into some of the areas Truck Lagbe has brought meaningful changes, for both truck owners and the shippers, and thus has created a strong position for itself in the market.
1. Transparency: One of the benefits of introducing technology in any industry is that the entire system becomes more transparent. It is no different for the trucking industry. For example, there are multiple middlemen in the trucking industry. There are agencies. There are agents. There are companies. And there are drivers - when drivers and owners are different people, which is in most cases. Each of these middlemen eats into the profit of the truck owners. Since the entire transaction happens via these middlemen, the price that agencies get doesn’t reach the agent, the price agents get doesn’t reach the drivers and the price drivers get doesn’t reach the owners. The entire system has a lot of grey areas. As a result, many owners and drivers suffer losses and compromise in profit.
Truck Lagbe has been able to ensure transparency of transactions allowing these owners to have greater peace of mind. Using the Truck Lagbe app means the price is open. The trip-related information is open. Everyone knows how much you made today, what the cost is, and so on. It simply improves the overall transparency of the entire transaction.
2. Empowering two types of truck owners: There are two types of truck transportation businesses. There are people who are pure truck transportation businessmen, people who have a presence in truck stands and know about truck agents and so on. Then there are people who are not traditional truck owners and truck transportation business owners. These people somehow got into the truck transportation business without properly knowing it. They have a small fleet, one or two trucks, and they run them in rent and so on. These two groups have different challenges.
The first group, which has been in the truck transportation business for a long time, has a complex problem. They get regular trips since they have connections and networks and access to truck stands and agents but they don't get a good price because there are multiple layers of middlemen, lack of transparency, and inefficiencies in the traditional model. As a result, owners seldom make the business they should make in a properly working market.
Truck Lagbe addresses these challenges and improves the overall return of the truck owners by improving transparency and inefficiency. When truck owners start working with Truck Lagbe and receive and deliver orders through the Truck Lagbe app, they come to see the difference. They come to see that everything is transparent and that they get what is the real price. They make more money and so on. Since Truck Lagbe materially improves the business of truck owners, it is an easy sell for Truck Lagbe to attract truck owners.
For the second group, who are not dedicated truck business owners but have a few trucks at their disposal and run them, the challenges are different. They get trips but not consistently enough. They are not adept at dealing with agents or their own drivers since they don’t have a proper understanding of the gig.
Over the past years, Truck Lagbe has helped many of these small business owners to grow their trucking business. They don’t need to work with agents or agencies for trips anymore. They can simply find trips on the Truck Lagbe app, see everything in a transparent manner and go from there.
Before Truck Lagbe, it was difficult for these operators to find trips or had to work even harder to find trips using the traditional method. Truck Lagbe has resolved those challenges. Over the past years, Truck Lagbe has helped many such part-time businesses to grow their size of fleet from one to multiple trucks.
3. Hassle-free experience: For consumers, hiring trucks was a challenge before. Now consumers have a digital platform and can hire a truck pushing a few buttons on their phone. It saves time, effort, and money.
The service is much more streamlined and comes with greater quality assurance. They can hire a truck without the hassle and that too at a far better price. It is convenient and on-demand. The hiring experience is better. The pricing is better. Customer service commitments are better.
This focus on ensuring a great service at a great price has helped Truck Lagbe attract shippers at an ever-growing rate and build a rapidly growing consumer business.
4. Facilitating niche uses of truck transportation: Apart from making traditional truck transportations simpler and smoother, Truck Lagbe has been actively paying attention to identifying new and niche use cases for truck transportation. For example, bachelors who look for cheap rates when hiring trucks for changing homes. While they usually take a van, Truck Lagbe now has small trucks that can beat that price range. For example, many architecture students use trucks to carry their models and many of them now use Truck Lagbe service to do so. These are quite new use cases and had more people know that they could take the benefits.
5. Tailor-made solutions for businesses: The needs of businesses vary from company to company. For example, many enterprise-scale companies require legal documents when they ship goods. They want timely service. They want quick problem-solving. They want prompt solutions when needed. They want less involvement. In most instances, enterprises seldom find this level of professionalism in working with traditional agencies. Traditional agencies have their way of working. At times, in order to ensure smooth execution of a service, you would have to call multiple times, meet multiple times and go through tons of other hassles. Many times agencies don't maintain time and don't ensure proper and on-time service. Enterprise clients seldom want these challenges.
For them, Truck Lagbe offers a much better choice. Truck Lagbe offers stable services. If you need legal documents, Truck Lagbe ensures that quickly and often digitally. The company ensures compliance and other legal support for large enterprise clients. Unlike traditional agencies, Truck Lagbe has built a system to ensure timely service delivery and has particularly paid attention to ensuring convenient solutions catering to enterprise clients.
6. Dedicated SME focused solution: Hiring trucks can be a difficult challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Since SMEs are predominantly small organizations, these challenges lead to loss of productivity and unwanted friction in their operations. To provide effective logistics solutions to SMEs, Truck Lagbe launched Business solutions in late 2019. The product has since evolved a lot.
Today, a long list of diverse SMEs use Truck Lagbe Business solutions. Truck Lagbe offers a long list of support to SMEs starting from offering the best possible price, dedicated account manager, trust and security, guaranteed customer service, wide coverage and so on.
7. Technology: Technology is at the core of how Truck Lagbe operates. Over the past years, the company has invested heavily in building technology to address the challenges of the truck transportation industry in Bangladesh. It has put the company in a different league when it comes to offering simple and affordable logistics solutions. The on-demand truck logistics solution is a relatively new digital space across the world. While there are established players such as Uber in the on-demand transportation space, it is not the case in trucking as yet.
There are few well-established digital platforms anywhere in the world when it comes to trucking. In that sense, Bangladesh is moving ahead at par with the world. Truck Lagbe says that the company has built excellent technology solutions to address the logistics challenges individuals and businesses face.
The company has a culture of relentless experimentation and testing with a view to improving its tech to serve customers better. The company claims to have the best tech compared to any other player in Bangladesh in the vertical.
8. Team. Great companies are nothing but a group of people operating together to achieve a common goal. Everyone in the team has to believe in the common vision. Everyone has to take ownership. Everyone has to hustle. Over the past two years, Truck Lagbe has been able to build an excellent team and a supportive culture that allows everyone in the team to operate at their best. Truck Lagbe today is a team of over 100 people and keeps on growing. The company has been tenacious and critically mindful when it comes to hiring right. Founder and CEO Anayat Rashid continues to involve actively in the hiring process and in onboarding people on the vision of the company. The company puts disproportionate importance on hiring for the culture and values fit and only takes in people who identify with the vision of the company.
The result has been stunning. The company has been able to put together a team that is capable of taking on any challenge and it shows how the company operates.
9. Security thus trust. In the trucking industry trust is a huge issue. Whenever you speak with someone, be it an owner or driver or a shipper, the first question always is what would you do if anything happens. While consumers fear the safety of the products, truck drivers fear taking trips from unknown destinations in case someone sends inappropriate products unbeknownst to them. This is an industry that operates on trust but it lacks a proper system to build that trust.
Truck Lagbe has worked hard to build a system that ensures operating with trust easier. For customers, Truck Lagbe offers a place where you could complain if anything goes wrong. Most importantly, Truck Lagbe verifies and trains drivers to ensure the safety and security of the interest of its customers. Similarly, since it is a digital platform every order comes through a transparent channel and one has to put their details when placing a trip making it secure for the truck owners and drivers.
10. Making truck driving a respectful profession: In most parts of the world, truck driving is a respectful profession. People drive their own trucks and it offers a decent living and an adventurous life. But this is not the case in Bangladesh because we don't see truck-driving as a healthy profession despite the fact that finding a job is challenging in Bangladesh. People would take a lower-paying job instead of driving trucks despite the fact that by driving your own truck one could earn in between 50-80K every month.
But things are changing. Today, people are driving on Pathao and other ride-hailing platforms because it offers a decent income. This trend will soon come to truck and truck-driving. Simply we have to make sure that people can earn a decent living doing it and that it is a socially respectable profession.
Truck Lagbe, as a leading platform in the sector, aims to lead the movement to turn truck driving as a socially respectable profession. The company has actively been working with the drivers' community to train and educate them. At the same time, it aims to work on the consumer side to improve the perception of people who work in the truck industry. Eventually, the company aims to play a leading role in positioning truck driving as a respectable profession that a lot of young people will be attracted to in the future helping create employment and economic benefits for all.
Taking on an industry as difficult as truck transportation is not easy. The industry operates in a complex manner and has a diverse set of stakeholders. There are forces that benefit from staying the same. But the nature of the world is that nothing remains the same. Things change and even improve when there is a catalyst. Truck Lagbe, as a pioneer in the truck transportation industry, has managed to start that process of change in the broader truck transportation industry using a combination of technology, great product, communication, and excellent customer service.
Learn more about how Truck Lagbe is changing trucking service in Bangladesh and experience the service here.