I Setting the house in order to sail through turbulence
With an experience of over 20 years in the logistics business, Shankar Chatterjee, Chairman & Managing Director, S Cube Trans Continental Group, maintains that the logistics and supply chain industry in India needs to be well-structured through proper pla
It is ironical to realise that, while on one side that global automotive logistics is a trade with a business potential of US$ 125 billion; but on the other end of the spectrum, we are capsized with the fact that there are low demands across the industry. Most large projects are either on a “go slow” mode or simply halted- the country’s economic slow-down, weak investor confidence are all the reasons for such a scenario. Compounding the problem, the global economy has been undergoing its own share of problems, too.
Financial uncertainty, coupled with political complexity, is adversely affecting the overall logistics platform, which in turn is affecting India, too. Sustaining growth is a huge challenge for many organisations in this business, and this is so apparent from various levels of re-trenchments and layoffs one often comes across in this business; which was not so in earlier times.
The most significant of all challenges facing this trade is the aspect of very poor infrastructure set-up. While some efforts were earlier made in this direction with the creation of a golden quadrangle; there are literally miles to go to accomplish the required results. Everything else, directly or indirectly stems out, of this problem. If India
builds the roads, the roads will build a new India.
Compliance related aspects were compromised for decades in this business. While the trade is gradually evolving, there is still a wide gap between anti-corruption related norms and what is often construed and actualised as against it.
‘Dog-eat-dog’ kind of pricing battles to gain business at ‘any cost’ takes a toll on service quality, and several other important aspects related to logistics.
And, our people/ professionals, who form both the ‘ hardware’ and ‘software’ of this business, kind of grow more by default and experience, but often not really structured through any plan to then develop and attain business expertise!
Role of Governments & Industry The Government of India/ States alongside all policy- makers need to relax on controls and resort to a far more complimentary facilitator’s role. They need to devote time, money, investments and energy into building quality infrastructure at all levels, not just for major cities, ports and airports. If the general infrastructure develops, the trade in general will improve and boost the economy per
se. The question again, is when will the government come up with a focussed plan to evolve and create the national infrastructure?
It is high time that logistics service providers are now elevated to a class called Business Partners! Without logistics support, nothing moves. Hence, the manufacturers need to factor in a certain cost towards demanding and ensuring quality with 100 per cent compliance. Doing the fundamental planning and costing right, is more than winning half the battle.
India is undoubtedly a potential superpower in the world economic map, in terms of its business potential, growth, diversity, trained manpower both for blueand white- collar jobs. India is no longer only an investment destination/ market. India is now on its threshold of becoming a global sourcing hub for the world market. China gains an infrastructural edge over India; but a growth- driven one on the wheels of solid democracy is more robust, and needless to add, even everlasting. With a little boost towards Indian infrastructure and consciousness towards important elements like Quality, Safety, Security, Compliance - India should become a large global supplier on the world stage. This, in turn, can only augment the supply- chain business in general.
Having undertaken logistics activities for all the major automotive giants, including the ancilliary support industry; I am confident that India has all it needs to be the finest automative hub from South Asia. Our coastal waters only help us towards facilitating these exports, where shipping plays a rather significant role. Let us not forget India opened its gates towards global economy, driving on the wheels of the automative trade, which is also a huge economic indicator.
We need efficient partners, as much as our customers need to focus on their own core business, allowing true professionals to undertake their logistics business
Shankar Chatterjee Chairman & Managing Director, S Cube Trans