Everstone: ‘Rapid reactions reap rewards’

Rajesh Jaggi, real estate vice-chairman at Everstone Group, parent of the Firm of the Year: India, discusses IndoSpace’s logistics experience in the year of covid.

This article is sponsored by Everstone Capital

What were the key events for your firm last year?

Rajesh Jaggi

2020 has been a surreal year. Due to our global presence and partnerships, we noticed the signs of the covid-19 pandemic early and immediately activated our crisis management plan at IndoSpace offices and parks.

We prepared, circulated and implemented new standard operating procedures (SOPs) in these times of covid to facilitate the smooth operations of our customers. We partnered with CBRE, Deloitte and Microsoft for these protocols and our SOPs are among the best in the industry, which helped us to bounce back faster and in an efficient way. It was due to our early response that we were able to ensure business continuity for all our tenant partners.

Meanwhile, in recognition of our efforts towards green design, construction and operations, IndoSpace became the first organization in India to be awarded the Indian Green Building Council’s Platinum certificate for logistics parks. We also partnered with a leading pharma cold chain logistics service provider to build temperature-controlled pharma warehouses across the country to manage the storage of covid-19 vaccines.

In a challenging year, our land bank exceeded 1,600 acres, our completed portfolio reached 17.6 million square feet and our leased portfolio crossed 100 customers.

How has the operating environment been?

The pandemic gave an impetus to e-commerce and increased the demand for more efficient last-mile deliveries. The warehousing and logistics sector also rose to the occasion, adapted swiftly and proved its resilience.

Warehousing players started to invest more in automation and mechanization for contactless operations. Additionally, there was an increased focus on following SOPs for the safety of workers.

At IndoSpace, we also focused on efficient warehouse design to ensure workers’ safety and social distancing. New protocols mandated at our parks included temperature checks, hand-washing facilities, sanitization of work areas and isolation facilities for those with symptoms – which helped to ensure a safe working environment.

How did you overcome the challenges you faced?

We took care of our colleagues by following all the safety measures to a tee. We continue to monitor and strictly adhere to the set safety protocols. We also ramped up digitization across functions and processes in the company for seamless operations. In the early months of the lockdown, IndoSpace also launched a tenant communication app for easier and faster communication with our customers and for responding quickly to their queries and requests.

Employee health and morale became even more critical during the lockdown and, as we resumed office operations, several measures were taken up, including a tie up with a health support company, online doctor support, covid-19 testing at home, personal coaching and employee help and emergency numbers.

Who or what is mainly responsible for your success?

Every employee who believed in us to provide them a safe work environment, the faith our partners and investors had in us to continue to invest, every customer who trusted us and allowed the presence of their employees at our parks, and last but not least the government for categorizing warehousing as an essential service so that the supply chain was not interrupted in these difficult times.