It should come as no surprise if a lot of people have either heard or come across Parveen Travels and its experience in the diverse Parveen segments of the transportation services in south India. Parveen Travels is a well known and popular brand in the domains ranging from intercity buses, speed parcels/general cargo transport, auto rentals to logistics, organised tours, elite charters, corporate transport, aviation services, et al. The company is expanding its reach in many of its core and allied sectors; venturing also into ‘Holidays services’ to organise India/worldwide packaged tours and fast food restaurant chain business under the brand name ‘Pitstop’ to improve both the top and bottom lines. The growth has been rapid in the last decade in sync with the industrial climate in general and auto sector in particular. Hoping to clock a turnover of Rs. 400 crores for the fiscal year 2014, the plans have been drawn out in a meticulous manner for the group to touch Rs. 1,000 crores in about 3 yrs, a modest and a pragmatic estimate as per the confident and exuberant Mr. A. Afzal, Chairman and Managing Director, Parveen Travels (P) Ltd., Chennai.
The group had a humble beginning in the year 1967 when the late Haji Janab Allah Baksh, Founder & Chairman started Parveen Travels thro’ the taxi service and general cargo truck transport routes. The growth during 1970s was steady and essentially via the truck segment; Mr. A. Afzal, his son studying still in college joined the business to assist his father and saw emerging opportunities and growth prospects in the travel sector. During the year 1980 starting off with 2 Ambassador tourist taxis and followed by 2 intercity buses between Chennai and B’lore, the business grew steadily so much so that focus of operations shifted to travels domain; Parveen Travels named after sister of Mr. Afzal proved a lucky charm for the group and the seeds for the wider canvas in travels related services had thus been firmly planted.
“The real break came when the automotive sector took off in a big way during mid-nineties. We ventured into operating bus services for the auto companies and later to the IT firms to transport their staff; and there has been no looking back since then and today we have over 850 buses operating only for the corporate sector”, says a beaming Mr. Afzal when we met him at the gleaming, contemporary style corporate office in Chennai to understand the reasons for the popularity of the Parveen brand, their operational plans to get into the fast lane in the transportation services segment and replicate it in other sectors.
“Most know Parveen as a travels firm running intercity buses but the many other business parallels closely linked to it and the services extended thro’ the set-ups are not readily perceived. It’s an advantage and at the same a drawback of having a strong brand following aligned with one particular service in the market place. During the early days when I was in college and while we were still shaping up the travels business, I used to travel in the bus during my holidays to understand the customer reactions and the general market requirements. This has helped us shape-up our business and align it with market needs; and it has become the guiding philosophy in venturing into other related sectors too. Arrival of foreign tourists and the opportunity to cater to their specific needs led to introduction of tourist buses with luxury ambience. During the night service bus operations, various courier companies approached us to deliver the unaccompanied parcels and the increase in volume led to the beginning of dedicated parcel services. The night buses needed to be utilised during the day time for a quicker ROI and this lookout opened up the staff transport services sector. To support the vehicles fleet, the service workshop facilities arose. This chain of related expansion of services led us to the position where we are today”, summarises Mr. Afzal.
“With many related services starting off within a very short time, we had to streamline the operations and give each domain the focus it