Meet the Kalibrate Team: Ravindranath PSS, Client Services Consultant based in India

"At my previous company, I was a Kalibrate client, and worked extensively with Kalibrate’s planning tools for over 10 years. During that time, I trained over 500 employees to use the platform. This product knowledge and hands-on experience has provided me with a very user-centric view. "
Meet the Kalibrate Team: Ravindranath PSS, Client Services Consultant based in India

At Kalibrate, we believe our success is driven as much by our people as our technology. So, as part of our meet the team series, we’re showcasing some of the talent and expertise within the Kalibrate family. This instalment features Ravindranath PSS, Client Services Consultant, and previous Kalibrate client.

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What’s your role at Kalibrate?

I’m a Client Services Consultant representing Kalibrate’s Indian team. In this role, I coordinate with the wider Planning Clients Services Team to support our global customers in leveraging the Kalibrate Planning model. I also support Indian clients in troubleshooting issues relating to the LocationXpert solution (the predecessor to the Kalibrate Planning platform).

What does a typical day look like?

Usually, my schedule involves working on Kalibrate Planning market plans for South African clients. This work is shared with the wider Planning Client Services Team to ensure the timely delivery of network planning models to the customers.

I also spend my time supporting Indian clients by troubleshooting any issues they are having with their network planning and fuel pricing software solutions. This can include data analysis, and product training.

What do you love about your role?

I’ve worked in petroleum and convenience retailing for the past 37 years, and over that time, I’ve gained a huge amount of expertise. I love having the opportunity to use this experience and my subject matter knowledge to resolve problems and clarify any concerns my clients may have while using their Kalibrate tools.

Why did you choose to join Kalibrate?

I wanted to join Kalibrate to enhance my knowledge in petroleum and convenience retailing across a global platform. The company has a worldwide reach and collaborative culture that really appealed to me, so I really felt they were a good fit. Their systematic approach to collective problem-solving is the best part of the organization’s culture.

At my previous company, I was a Kalibrate client, and worked extensively with Kalibrate’s planning tools for over 10 years. During that time, I trained over 500 employees to use the platform. This product knowledge and hands-on experience has provided me with a very user-centric view. This allows me to make suggestions to the Client Services Team of different ways and means of leveraging Kalibrate’s state-of-the-art software tools for enhanced performance ― ultimately improving the experience for our clients.

What do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities in the Indian fuel, convenience, and retail sectors?

India’s government has set targets for 30% of all vehicles sold in India by 2030 to be electric vehicles (EVs), with the primary objective to reduce the country’s oil consumption, and therefore reduce its dependence on oil imports. To meet this target, the government has made a comprehensive plan with a focus on EV manufacturing, research, development, and adoption.

According to an estimate, India will become the fourth largest market for EVs by 2040. It’s proposed that two-wheelers below the engine capacity of 150cc sold in the country after March 31, 2025, and three-wheelers sold after March 31, 2023, should be EVs. And the shift has already begun ― the EV market saw growth of 20% in FY 2020 compared to FY 2019.  About 1.56 lakh EVs were sold (across different categories) compared with 1.30 lakh units in FY 2019. Electric two-wheelers accounted for nearly 97.5% of all EVs sold in FY 2020.

The government is focusing their initial push toward EV on public transport, and this is expected to be followed by taxi fleet operators, government departments, and large corporations.

There are some major challenges to these plans. India’s current lack of charging infrastructure is a major barrier to EV adoption, alongside the high upfront cost of an EV, and long recharging times.

How should fuel retailers prepare for when the focus on EV adoption inevitably shifts from the public sector towards private vehicles? How can they ensure their refuelling site is equipped for the EV driver?

It’s about more than just installing chargers. Retailers shouldn’t underestimate the commercial opportunityResearch conducted by Kalibrate released in March 2021 noted that 80% of Indian drivers tend to spend more at businesses that offer EV charging.

Where do you see the Indian fuel, convenience, and retail markets heading?

Prior to deregulation, the Indian petroleum industry was dominated by four public sector undertaking oil marketing companies (PSU OMCs) under government control. But since the 1990s, when the private sector began refining and marketing in the country, the entire face of petroleum retailing in India has changed.

The Indian oil industry has seen multi-fold growth during the past three decades from around 14,000 gas stations during 1988-89, to over 77,000 as of 2020-21. Approximately 6,000 gas stations are added to the market every year and it’s continuing to grow.

To better compete, existing players are being forced to reinvent their business models and value propositions ― enhancing service standards at gas stations. Private players are expected to target high throughput regions and expand particularly in highway segments. Public sector fuel retailers are expected to focus on underpenetrated rural areas, while still attempting to defend their market share in the highway business.

The challenge of business viability and the stress on margins has caused the OMCs to look for supplementary income from non-fuel opportunities ― including alternative fuels ― as a way to sustain their growth.

So what should PSUs and private OMCs be thinking about for the future? They should be working towards enhancing throughputs by selecting strategic and high potential locations for new network expansion, improving the existing network performance, and closing unviable sites in their network. They need to establish how they can optimize costs through extensive use of technology, automation, and mobility data and provide additional services which will determine success ― both now and in the near future.

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Interested to learn more about how Kalibrate’s solutions can help you effectively assess your network? Watch the on-demand demo video: “An introduction to Kalibrate Planning 3.0” to see how you can optimize your network strategy using intuitive map-based insights, or watch the “On-demand demo of Kalibrate Pricing” to learn about optimizing profits without losing market share.

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