The Softlink Journey — A Saga of Evolution
Question : When was Softlink founded and how?
Answer : After completing my graduation in Electronic Engineering I came to work with my uncle in his Customs Brokerage Company. Those were the days when typewriters were used predominantly and computers were very rarely seen. I was looking for Customs broker software in the market and when I couldn’t find any I thought creating one on my own. I began working on the software and soon completed it successfully. Many Customs brokers started noticing the computerized outputs submitted by us and began enquiring about it. This is when the idea of commercializing the software came about. I along with my uncle started Softlink in the year 1992.
Question : What kind of challenges did you face in the initial stages?
Answer : At the time when we started Softlink people had no knowledge about software and its use in business. Computers were costly and barely used by few companies. Those days there used to be 8 inch floppies which were used for storing purposes and our software was also sold in these floppies. I used to get queries like why should we pay 15000 rupees for a floppy worth 100 rupees. I used to find it very difficult to convince people that the 8 inch floppy contained software worth 15000 rupees. It was herculean task convincing people about the software.
We had to work really hard to change the mindset of the people and convince them to buy the software. But then we were successful in persuading customers to buy the software and soon it became a well-recognized name and brand.
Question : What have been the highlights of Softlink over the years?
Answer : Our first software was named IMPEX which was Customs broking software. I coined the name by reversing EXIM which is an abbreviation for Exports and Imports. This was the era of DOS. IMPEX was a huge success and ruled the Customs broking market. I still remember my first client R S Rangnekar & Co. whose owner Mr. Shashank Rangnekar told me ‘Amit, if I were an emperor I would have cut of your hands so that you cannot replicate this software’. This was one the best compliments I received.
Then Microsoft introduced its Windows operating system and keeping pace with the changing times we launched Windows version of our software. This again was a runaway success so much so that we had 70 per cent of market share and Visual IMPEX accounted for nearly 80% of the document filing in Customs.
With the advent of web-based platform we introduced our cloud solution which now has global reach. Today Softlink has over 90000 users in 3500 companies across the globe.
Question : Going ahead where do you see Softlink in the coming years?
Answer : Softlink’s goal is to become the world leader in logistics and supply chain technology solutions. We have already achieved a lot internationally and going ahead our plan is to dominate the global market. We have our offices in the USA and Philippines and are planning to open offices at more locations. Our complete focus is set on achieving our goal of global dominance.
Question : How, according to you, can employees contribute betters towards the company’s success?
Answer : I believe if each employee works with a Positive attitude and belief in their own capabilities, they can essentially achieve anything. Each one of us should strive to Evolve continuously both professionally and personally. If every member of Softlink owns up his responsibility and works earnestly we will be successful in all our endeavors.
Question : On a personal note, why do you always prefer to wear same color dress? And you have always worn white shirt though the pant color has changed. What is your thought on it?
Answer : My favorite colors are Black and White. I believe there are only two colors black and white. There is no grey. Unfortunately I am not comfortable wearing black so I avoid it. But I have always worn white shirt. There is another deep thought behind it. By wearing the same color dress I save on precious time spent choosing the dress to wear every day. Besides it is a form of discipline. What I learnt later on is that many famous personalities like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and even Albert Einstein followed this discipline.