Technology for Logistics
SOLUTION PROVIDERS BRING INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS
The growing operational complexity and landscape of companies is challenging in the conventional tenets of logistics. Dynamics in the market place, Internet and availability of various IT applications, infrastructure and connectivity options have created an altogether new paradigm for re-defining the logistics space. The need for smart logistics and efficient supply chain management cannot be stressed further for companies to have a fighting chance to stay competitive. Improving supply-chain visibility in any manner is another imperative that continues to grow in importance in managing today’s globally integrated enterprises.
According to Prasad Kurup, Partner, Strategy & Transformation at IBM Global Business Services India / South Asia, logistics industry, which has been primarily an unorganised and fragmented sector, has continuously neglected the effective use of technology. This neglect, coupled with highly redundant processes, has resulted in process inefficiencies, asset under-utilisation and limiting scalability.
This is further worsened by the industry dynamics like pricing pressures, high costs/ low returns on investments, hiring/retaining talent, client pressure to broaden service offerings, demand for customised solutions and value-additions, besides infrastructural
bottlenecks and government regulations.
“The majority of these operational-level issues (excluding external factors) can be handled by an implementation of technology. Logistics companies which have adopted technology. Either these systems are outdated and incapable of serving the current needs; or they are isolated systems, which have created ‘islands’ of information,” he pointed out.
An additional challenge is that partners and customers perceive these technology enablements to be a part of the basic service package offered by their logistics service partners, and often do not want to match the same with increased payments for these additional services.
Arvind Mehrotra, President, Asia Pacific at NIIT Technologies, maintained that the cargo and logistics industry in India needs to be integrated. Currently, the industry is working in isolation from technology point of view. The supply chain services are not end-to-end; and as a result, technology related projects are not taking shape as per expectations. There is no standardised cargo or logistics community system across the world. Every country or department is following their own system resulting in lack of information and transparency about a shipment. “There should be a common community system and handshake links
for end-to-end supply chain management. We will have to think much beyond Air Way-Bill,” said Mehrotra. He pointed out that presently, the manual system is largely practised in all modes of transportations and technology used is not end-to-end. He also maintained that customers are not confident that they are dealing with a robust logistics players, since they (logistics players) are
Currently, the industry is working in isolation from technology point of view. The supply chain services are not end-to-end” Arvind Mehrotra President, Asia Pacific, NIIT Technologies
depending on sub-suppliers. Currently, a lot of processing is required (like segregation of Master Airway Bill and House Airway Bill) and it is possible only through appropriate technologies. He also maintained that the logistics industry is low-yield and underinvested segment. However, customers have to utilise logistics companies’ services to reduce their costs.
According to Ajay Bhutani, CEO, Bar Code India, there are two sides of the logistics industry — organised and unorganised. The organised sector has been using technology for some time. Some of the large multinational couriers and their consolidated supply-chain arms have been using technology because of their global norms. The overall usage in percentage, compared to the size of the industry, is minimal as of date and there is large scope of use of technology to bring about efficiency, cost-saving and better customer service. “As technology service-providers, we have been constantly educating the industry to adopt technology, which is now resulting in postive action. Perhaps, the GST factor and the fact that labour attrition rate and reliability of labour is proving to be a factor as well,” said Bhutani. Bar Code is witnessing encouraging responses and growing number of companies are deploying these solutions across their business and looking to upgrade to a higher level of technology or even leapfrog legacy technology to adopt a higher measure.
Vineet Malhotra, SVP- Kale Logistics Solutions, added that the freight industry, which has been traditionally very fragmented, is moving towards becoming more integrated. Logistics companies are attempting to replace their disparate and legacy systems with more latest multimodal transport systems to attain integration. Technological advancements in ICT are a major factor in this transformation.
According to Parvinder Singh, MD, Hans Infomatic; the cargo and logistics industry is going through multiple challenges presently. Clients are asking for valueaddition and end-to-end solutions that cannot by offered by majority of Indian companies who are small and middle-size. “Today, single service like freight forwarding or warehousing is not enough even after offering personalised services.” Moreover, adoption of appropriate technology services can only add value to the entire supply chain. He, however, maintained that the technology services should be as per the requirement of the local industry scenario (like use-and-pay model).
“Technology helps organised logistics companies score over unorganised ones, and will be the key to their operations moving ahead, given the competition. With industry margins under constant pressure and growing competition, improving operational efficiency will be critical to the success of logistics firms,” pointed out
Shoummo K Acharya, Founder MD&CEO
eTrans Solutions. Initiatives for the best uses CII Institute of Logistics is hosting “Role of Technology in Logistics and Supply Chain 2014” Edition II, from February 13-14, 2014 in New Delhi, which is a cross industry forum bringing together stakeholders including customer organisations, logistics service
Logistics companies are attempting to replace disparate legacy systems with latest multimodal transport systems” Vineet Malhotra SVP, Kale Logistics Solutions
providers and technology solution providers. This conference attempts to cover the technology imperatives - interconnectedness, visibility, analytics and optimisation, international trends, social and mobility, and the corresponding implications of technology solutions in logistics and supply chain; which would enable organisations to take judicious decisions in improving their technology-maturity in logistics and supply chain. NIIT Technologies entered into a strategic partnership with SATS (Singapore Airport Terminal Services) to offer COSYS-IS. COSYS-IS is a web-based platform capable of providing real-time flight and shipment tracking information. The solution can be seamlessly integrated with local processes and regulations to enable greater transparency and accuracy of the cargo handled throughout the value chain. The use of radio frequency identification tags, the Internet and transponders on product packages allows factories and warehouses to keep track of where a product is at any time. Sharing information through electronic ( EDI) mode among forwarders, shippers, terminal operators, and customs brokers can help streamline the supply chain and bring in greater visibility and transparency. At a high level, technology service-providers are working towards integrating and interfacing different forms of systems and technology applications on a single-window system.
Sharing information through electronic (EDI) mode can help streamline the supply chain and bring in greater visibility and transparency
Products & Services
NIIT Technologies has developed specialised solutions and platforms for the airline and logistics industry. In order to enable airlines with a robust and flexible cargo handling system, NIIT Technology developed a complete cargo handling platform - COSYS-IS (Cargo Operations System – Intelligent Solutions) - that automates and simplifies the process. COSYS-IS is a proven warehouse management system specifically designed for cargo ground handling agents and cargo carriers.
Kale Logistics is providing both the enterprise solutions which automate the internal business processes of the logistics companies and help in improving internal efficiencies for them as well as developing cargo community platforms that bring in industry level efficiencies and standardisation. “Today, about 60 per cent of India’s air cargo information flows on Kale’s systems like the Airport Cargo Management solution- GALAXY,” asserted Malhotra. Kale’s objective is to present the global logistics industry with a Single-Window system that gives them a complete view of their business network.
Hans Infomatic has developed cloudbased technology services for warehouse and fleet management, terminal operation and e-commerce portals. The company is also promoting IATA e-freight in a big way. “We are witnessing a new breed of warehouse operators in the country, who are primarily big land owners. They are building modern warehouses on lease for multinational logistics companies.
Bar Code designs, develop and deploy solutions around this function for all verticals of logistics industry. Its major focus is on data collection through enterprise mobility (across platforms), Bar Coding, Enterprise WLAN and RFID. They have perhaps the largest software development facility catering to this niche in India.
“The solutions that we provide can broadly be categorised as Tracing and Tracking solutions for courier, air and surface cargo companies; Proof of Deliver solutions( POD) for online retail companies and for courier, and cargo companies; Warehousing solutions for 3PL and cargo companies and container tracing and tracking for ports,” informed Bhutani.
eTrans recently introduced introduced mobile apps for the senior executives of corporate and service-providers to track a set of vehicles/particular vehicle through their mobile phones. The company is providing solutions to a large number of Indian bluechip corporate and large/medium/small transport companies.
“We have varied range of products regarding GPS and smart card for tracking movement inside the plant and outside the plant. Our GPS solution includes vanilla tracking, tracking movement of transit mixer by sensing rear ignition and drum rotation, temperature sensor, fuel sensor, asset tracking, VTS for delivery confirmation, Wi-fi Tracker and trailer/container tracker. With smart card tracking we provide low cost tracking solution for market vehicles with over 200 swipe stations distributed all over India.
This neglect, coupled with highly redundant processes, has resulted in inefficiencies, asset under-utilisation and limiting scalability
Prasad Kurup Partner, Strategy & Transformation at IBM Global Business Services India /
President Asia Pacific at nIIT Technologies
SVP Kale Logistics Solutions
MD Hans Infomatic
CEO Bar Code India
Shoummo K Acharya Founder MD & CEO-eTrans