An online marketplace for efficient material procurement

An online marketplace for efficient material procurement

Incepted in 2016, Brick2Wall sprung with the objective of creating value for stakeholders involved in the fragmented construction material supply chain. How did the startup achieve this? By offering a digital solution to tackle the inefficiencies that exist on account of information asymmetry....

Incepted in 2016, Brick2Wall sprung with the objective of creating value for stakeholders involved in the fragmented construction material supply chain. How did the startup achieve this? By offering a digital solution to tackle the inefficiencies that exist on account of information asymmetry. From idea to execution This online marketplace is backed by the 50-year experience of a family business in the construction material space. After identifying the sector as one, where they could create the maximum value, Nishant Garg, Co-Founder & CEO, started Brick2Wall to initially cater to the independent housing segment. “It was a sector that we believed required transparency, confidence and quality assurances, which became paramount when 60 per cent of the industry’s business was driven towards the retail audience,” he says, The online platform kicked off with close to 100,000 SKUs for construction materials from early-stage materials such as bricks and aggregates to late-stage materials like wall finishes such as paints – which is where the name Brick2Wall came from. “Over the years, we have invested in understanding the inefficiencies that exist across consumer segments, both operational and financial,” Garg elaborates. It is a practice that the company has continued as it took on wholesale customers, contractors in the residential and commercial segments, and large-scale infrastructure companies working on national highway projects, power plants and oil refineries. Brick2wall’s delivery model follows a bottom-up approach. The supply chain broadly consists of four stakeholders: infrastructure firms, manufacturers, logistics partners and financiers. “We have realised that for each stakeholder in the supply chain, there is an optimal amount for their value addition. The amount is a function of quantity and unit price. The startup’s ground-up approach enables it to optimise both variables, i.e. quantity and unit price. This differentiates us from any of our peers.” says Garg. By understanding the consumption patterns, Brick2Wall recommends customised solutions that allow infrastructure firms to reduce quantity and speed up construction with ready-to-use materials, thus saving on their execution costs, time and wastage. The bottom-up approach works even more when infrastructure firms open up to wider geographies and newer markets. Broadly speaking, with the help of Brick2wall, infrastructure firms have recorded up to 15 per cent drop in their procurement and execution costs.” From optimisation to quality For a customised and optimised solution, ensuring quality compliance becomes paramount. Brick2wall achieves this by adopting a three-pronged process. First, it adopts a stringent, codified process of on-boarding a manufacturer based on capability to deliver quality products. “So, we have adopted a standardised set of checks that we implement before we onboard any manufacturer,” explains Garg. Second, the startup closely monitors post production quality to ensure compliance. “Each vehicle that leaves the manufacturer’s premises is accompanied with a Quality Test Certificate, which is duly endorsed by Brick2Wall”, shares Garg. Third, given the fragmented nature of the construction ecosystem, one needs an SOP on operational aspects. “A manufacturer in Chhattisgarh will not operate in the same manner as a manufacturer in Tamil Nadu. But customers do not differentiate between manufacturers from Tamil Nadu or Chhattisgarh. A standardised operation for engineers or designers then helps in post-production and logistics as well.” Garg cites this as the vital reason for the company’s rejection rate of zero per cent. From challenge to solution Getting a solution, much less a digital one, out into the market takes diligent brand awareness. “We have been at the forefront with respect to our market outreach strategy,” says Garg. The startup focuses on collaborating with infrastructure firms and project management consultants to educate the market about the solution and proposition it offers. Eventually, the awareness has trickled down to the contractors. In recent times, the company has been working closely with projects on construction sites – especially with project management consultants and clients and infrastructure agencies where there is a lot of information exchange with respect to aspects of engineering and value creation. Expanding on the value proposition Brick2Wall offers, Garg says, “We provide secondary manufacturers with a ‘Seal of Confidence’. This enhanced credibility of their brand helps them gain consumer’s confidence and provides the necessary spotlight to win new business.” The result: “Manufacturers have observed one-and-a-half times increase in their asset utilisation”. The impact of their efforts also extends to logistic partners who have observed a similar increase in fleet utilisation; to traditional FIs who have increased credit lines by five times. With the recently witnessed pandemic and the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war, the whole industry is going through a paradigm shift. The infrastructure explosion adds another layer to this equation. In Garg’s view, “Regardless of such challenges, the supply chain just has to ramp up from here to keep up with the demands this ecosystem is generating now and is anticipated to generate in coming years.” Today, 15 of the top 20 construction firms and over 15 manufacturers, both national and regional, choose Brick2Wall. The startup has been growing by more than 100 per cent year on year for the last 4 years and is witnessing three times the growth in the current financial year, with the current ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) of about $100 million. As a parting message to upcoming startups, Garg says self-belief is most important, irrespective of your pedigree. “Focus on creating value” he urges. FACT FILE Total clients: 150+ Total projects executed: 250+ Total manufacturers: 15+ Purchase cost savings: Up to 15 per cent

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