Efficient logistics will efficiently tackle supply chain disruptions
Prasad Sreeram, CEO & Co-Founder, Cogos, believes that an efficient logistics and supply chain is a fundamental block to keep the country moving. As experts expect the third wave to hit the country, the logistics sector will be tested for its resilience, innovation, and preparedness. Thus, leading technology players have been building infrastructure and training workers to combat the situation.
An efficient logistics and supply chain defines the pace of growth of a country. It is also a fundamental block to keep the country moving. In 2018, India was ranked 44 out of 167 countries in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index 2018, while it ranked second in the 2019 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index. However, in 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown of the country, it was evident that a broken supply chain and logistics resulted in chaos. The country came to a grounding halt during the first wave and the unprecedented migration of manpower shook the country and its supply chain.
Logistics is less about having a certain set of resources and rather more about their timely mobilization and deployment when it is needed the most. While the strict lockdowns forced many to work from home and adopt online education, they also created several D2C opportunities for brands. As many businesses moved to sell online, there was a serious need for organized deliveries. The logistics sector emerged as a real savior in these difficult times by amplifying their delivery and expanding their services to different sectors.
“All the essential supplies in the country were possible only through technology-based logistics platforms and new-age service providers. The logistics platforms had to grasp the new terminologies, new rules and restrictions, create safety protocols, movement guidelines and aggregate the necessary capacity to deliver.”
The second wave brought in new challenges with containment and rules on classification of goods (essential and non-essential), manpower crunch due to severe spread and travel restrictions, reduction in transport and cargo capacity and increasing fuel costs. The demand for groceries and essential items has reached the same growth rate as last May, expecting a growth rate of 8-10% in 2021-22. With many working in the last-mile delivery falling prey to COVID-19 leading to an extreme shortage of delivery executives and delay in order deliveries, companies started incentivizing the delivery executives to cater to the demand.
As the business grappled with new purchase patterns skewing the inventories, new-age logistics providers with data points on delivery timelines, capacity distribution and creating contactless deliveries helped online commerce grow, beating the COVID blues. But now looking at the things falling in place, the last-mile delivery industry could be back to its original form, leaving enough time to fight back the third wave.
The city logistics gained importance with the government as the vaccine distribution became crucial, along with essential supply, and had to create new capacities in a short time with planning from first to the last mile. Several 3PL, Courier, and logistics players in support from tech platforms assisted on the grand mission.
Building a COVID-resilient future
A committee of experts constituted under the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has warned of an imminent third wave of COVID-19 that could peak around October. The logistics sector will be tested for its resilience, innovation, and preparedness in the wake of multiple waves. Thus, leading technology players have been building infrastructure to combat the situation, increasing the onboarding of the capacity into the platforms, upskilling the workforce, training the drivers on new workflows, creating new technologies for seamless deliveries on-time, transparent and contactless.
The adoption of sustainable technologies has taken a significant jump and logistics have gone electric. New ecosystems with OEM, charge/parking, finance and enterprise are emerging and transforming the city logistics. Tech platforms have simplified the enterprise cargo movements to the remotest parts through book-track-delivering, enabling secure transport with digital authentication, IOT, secure locks and speeding up deliveries, specifically pharma and essentials, through shipment planning, route optimization, tracking, and ePOD.
Going forward, it is important to build more resilient transport organizations having data transparency and visibility. Companies must also focus on building flexibility by adopting standardization, employing simultaneous rather than sequential processes, and align procurement strategy with supplier relationships.