Solving problems the mjunction way: The story of online coal sales
I have often been asked the question: "What does mjunction do?"
During our younger days, which was in the early 2000s, it was an easy question to answer, which was: “we sell steel online.” Today we are into not only selling steel online but also iron ore, coal, idle and non-performing assets, tea, books, washing machines, jewellery.. and on the drawing board we have timber, coffee and broadband spectrum, to name a few.
We also operate on the buy side of the supply chain where we are sourcing and procuring for our clients who come not only from the private and public sectors but also from divisions of the government of India such as the Ministry of Defence Production. We started procuring goods and services for the steel industry and as the years went by, we have added other industries such as Chemical, Power, Mining, Heavy Machinery, Defence, FMCG… so as you can see, we have a very wide canvas and I am sure I have mentioned only a few of the sectors and industries that we work in and not all.
However, there is a certain “commonality” which cuts across this diverse set of industries and sectors, which is why “we are in the business of solving problems.” Of course, the problems that we solve are those that exist by way of inefficiency and opaqueness every time commerce takes place between a Buyer and a Seller. With the innovative use of Technology, we are able to solve issues, thereby strengthening Distribution Networks and Supply Chains. With the help of IT and Automation, we are able to ensure scalability and robustness, and in this way contributing not only to the health of industry in general, but also increasing its competitiveness and sustainability. Some of the changes we bring about are transformational and have a significant impact on society. On the one hand eliminating jobs and business models and on the other, creating new livelihoods and building a requirement for new skills and new thinking.
Perhaps giving you an example would be in order.
In 2005, we grabbed the opportunity to transform the way Coal was being sold in India. The solution that we designed and executed has contributed significantly towards securitisation of the energy needs of the country. Public sector Coal Mines which had been making losses for decades were made profitable and they were able to invest their new-found profits into their modernisation and expansion. Nine years since the online transformational solution that we designed for selling Coal online has been used to sell over 400 million tonnes of coal. To design the online process to sell Coal we spoke not only to the miners of Coal and to the buyers of Coal but to all the other constituents of the Coal distribution network. I recall very clearly speaking to the Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Government of India, and gathering from him his requirement, which was that the online solution should make it possible that even the smallest buyer of Coal should be given the opportunity to buy Coal from the largest Coal mining company in the world – Coal India Ltd. The then CMD of Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) wanted a solution whereby the price paid by the final consumer of coal to the middlemen from whom he bought should flow back to BCCL. He mentioned that the Sale Order issued by BCCL was traded 2-3 times even before that piece of paper left his office building and the price that was finally paid was twice the amount that had been received by BCCL. In other words he wanted a price discovery mechanism which was dynamic, so that BCCL could get a fair market price for the Coal that they mined. The then Chairman of Coal India was quite clear that transparency in price discovery and buyer discovery was the overarching goal. He wanted a solution where there would not be any push-back or any questions asked not only by the Buyers and Sellers of Coal but also by all the Regulatory Authorities and Governmental Agencies that would be interested in a clean and ethical process being framed and followed.
Needless to mention, based on such feedback, a solution was designed and launched. From the first day it was a success and today, nine years later, it continues to be successful. Along the way as new pain points were discovered, new solutions were crafted. This is an unending story which mjunction has embarked upon, which is, identifying problems and solving them with the innovative use of Technology.”
So if someone were to ask me today what mjunction does, the answer is very simple and precise, which is: "we are in the business of solving problems whenever and wherever commerce takes place."