Emmanuel Akintubosun, a recent graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba says he is ready to disrupt the logistics industry with tailor fit solutions to different clients. In a chat with Zumalo.com, the managing partner for Instant Drivers shares his thoughts on how he aims to build one of the continent’s fastest growing logistics and transport company.
A little more about Emmanuel…
Emmanuel, an English Education graduate, is the Client Executive for CSI media and Project lead for Hands on Deck—an NGO that beams the spot light on issues affecting children in orphanages across the country by giving their environment a facelift and attracting the attention of relevant partners to contribute in putting smiles on the faces of the kids. He is also a former Microsoft Student Partner.
What does Instant Drivers do?
We are an “all round” transportation company with involvements in events, oil and gas, shipping, security, construction and delivery.
How did growing up affect your choice of business?
“As weird as this would sound, I had always known from the very beginning that I would tow this path”, he responded with huge excitement on his face. I was the type that would not stay still in a place—very energetic, adventurous, restless and hyperactive. The face that I had a knack for coordinating anything on I have also anything on four or more wheels, greatly affected my choice. “…travels, movement and moving machines come natural to me and this part of me formed a part of my childhood to where I am today. I knew I had found my calling and my calling had found me, so far, we have intertwined into one soul. A romantic relationship that has weathered storms, we are stuck to each other”, he added.
The Operations of Instant Drivers…
In 2013, while still in school, it was normal for members of staff who usually had social functions to host or attend during the weekends to travel. On one of those weekends, I was walking towards the school and overheard a lecturer in a heated argument with his driver over the phone. It turned out that he was to attend a function in Lagos and the driver did not show up as agreed. I walked up to him and told him I could drive him to and fro Lagos for a very cheap fee of 30 thousand naira.
We haggled back and forth, then we settled for 25k. Right there, I drove him off to Lagos and got back that same day. The following day, I got a friend to design a cheap business information card and distributed it to lecturers across departments. The feedback was quite overwhelming and I did that till I left school. You know what they say about ideas not always coming fully formed; we evolved into providing driving solutions to organisations and then further into providing full transport solutions across board.
Across all these evolving phases it has been an enjoyable ride of learning highs and lows. We offer all round transportation solutions cutting across varying strata of the economy. In the events industry, we provide splendid, mind blowing entry experience with our state of the art limousines and high-end luxury cars. While in the heavy logistics and haulage industry, with our 20 -40 feet flatbed trucks and 30 tonne Chinese trucks, we move heavy dry cargo (containers from the sea port to different parts of the country) and Wet Cargo (Petroleum products). In terms of security, we also provide armoured vehicles for high net worth individuals, expatriates and individuals of high security risk.The Construction Industry also has a feel of our competent presence with the provision of heavy cranes, rollers, bulldozers and the different large machines used for housing and road constructions. Putting all this together informs the reason why I like to say we are the organisation with the all-round transport and logistics.
What experience do you want Instant Drivers to bring the industry?
First things first, we brought in a new experience to the ways birthday celebrants or newlywed couples stage the entry to their big day from the normal boring routines. There was a need to introduce heart-stopping concepts, I mean jaw dropping and head whirling elements to the entry process.
“It took a full year of planning and consultations to bring on board a whole new level to the entry game, which we can boldly say has revolutionised the industry if feedbacks and testimonies are to be taken seriously.
With the fireworks, well dressed ushers, professional dancers, cold bubbly bottles of champagne and a whole lot more of ideas we employ; your only wish would be that you could rewind and relive your big day all over, time and time again”.
Clients are also guaranteed of security and professionalism while using our care hire services and haulage services.
If Instant drivers was to be a person, how would you describe the personality?
A perfectionist. A person who doesn’t build a bus-stop on his achievements and knows there can always be a better and improved version of whatever he does.
Having worked in the events industry for over 5 years, what do you think is the intersection between tech and logistics in achieving a successful event?
Technology makes communications easier for us during events. We do not necessarily have to shout or use sign languages to communicate. For example, when there is an entry, there must be an unbreakable communication line between our personnel outside the hall and those inside to achieve the desired result. Hence, the use of our walkie-talkie communication sets has really helped in achieving that.
Furthermore, all our fleets are fitted with trackers and demobilizers overseen from a remote-control room or device ensuring maximum control and safety of clients and the cars. This wouldn’t have been possible without technology.
How much more do you think Technology will disrupt the logistics business?
More than we would ever have thought. With the invention of A.I (Artificial Intelligence) and recent breakthrough in robotics technology, the mode of business in logistics is about to be changed forever. A foremost multinational delivery firm, UPS is already using the services of drone to deliver light packages to clients. We are rightly positioned and strategically placed to key into the change.
As a young and growing start up in a niche that needs a lot of capital investment, how have you coped?
Quite a number of Investors are still not aware of the massive potential and worth of the transport industry. In 2017, the transport industry contributed 20% to the Nation’s GDP. It experienced an annual growth of 4%. According to a research I personally conducted, the Nigerian Transport industry is worth staggering 180 billion dollars at the moment with a very sure potential to reach 300 billion dollars by 2023. With such figures, one would think the government should pay attention to it. There may be a little attention currently but compared to the available opportunities, it is without enough priority to make investors fall over themselves to grab a share of the pie.
At the moment, you would get a lot of transport organisations either boot strapping or getting soft loans from banks and the truth is there is a very low liquidation rate in the transport industry. 8 out of every 10 transport firms survive. For us, it has been amazing. Not entirely a smooth ride, there have been lessons, no loans or borrowing so far, we have boot strapped; which I think is a good one. We are also open to discussions for major investments. We are currently in talks with 4 reputable firms as regards that. We will make a press release when the time is ripe.
Any issue or idea along the development of the industry that you will want to share?
“Ok, a major one for me is the major Sea Port in Apapa, Lagos. The gridlock on that axis makes it quite a nightmare for trucks to access and load containers from the vessels docked at the sea side. Sometimes, it takes as much as a month for a truck to access the port. That’s not good enough. If the government can join hands with the stakeholders to fix that route, it can further increase the profitability of this sector and in turn more GDP for the economy”.
Also, there is an urgent need for the safety regulations in the sector to be tightened. Quite a number of trucks and cars are not road worthy which is quite harmful to other road users. Finally, it will be beneficial to the country if the government tilts its attention to the potentials in the industry and help to provide an enabling framework for investors to participate.