In search of a sus­tain­able SCM

It is prima fa­cie that Sup­ply Chain man­age­ment (SCM) is sim­ply mov­ing a prod­uct or ser­vice from sup­plier to cus­tomer. How­ever with the boom­ing tech­nol­ogy, sup­ply has an im­por­tant role to play in the ef­fi­cient lo­gis­tics sys­tem. In this is­sue, CARGOTALK foc

Cargo Talk - - Front Page -

Mans­ingh Jaswal, Di­rec­tor & CEO, Genex Lo­gis­tics

To­day’s sup­ply chain needs to deal with con­tin­u­ous vo­latil­ity and that does not mean risk only but also op­por­tu­nity when a com­peti­tor is not be­ing able to de­liver the same. In this process of evo­lu­tion, the pace of change has in­creased man­i­fold and tech­nol­ogy has been at the helm of af­fairs, ei­ther to cre­ate the pace or man­age it. Ship­pers are un­der con­tin­u­ous pres­sure to re­duce sup­ply chain costs as part of larger or­gan­i­sa­tional goals.

Largely the cost re­duc­tion has to come from two sources, ei­ther from sim­ple in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ment in the on­go­ing process or from business re­mod­elling it­self.

Most of the ac­tiv­i­ties of an end-to-end sup­ply chain hap­pen out­side the four walls of a ware­house and com­pa­nies are largely look­ing at wire­less so­lu­tions.

How­ever, the fact that the pace of change in tech­nol­ogy is almost catch­ing up with the ex­pec­ta­tions of the end con­sumer or the de­vel­op­ment in tech­nol­ogy is rais­ing the ex­pec­ta­tions of con­sumers. A lot of in­te­gra­tion and au­to­ma­tion up­grades still need to hap­pen among ship­pers and 3PL providers to in­cor­po­rate the emerg­ing tech­nol­ogy. E-com­merce is a typ­i­cal ex­am­ple of the role of lo­gis­tics in business model cre­ation. This is also an ex­am­ple of how tech­nolo­gies are de­ployed to bridge the gap be­tween cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions and de­liv­ery. It does not end here, rather this has raised the ex­pec­ta­tions of con­sumers, re­sult­ing in the on­go­ing spi­ral that tech­nol­ogy is cre­at­ing.

Vikas Anand, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, DHL Sup­ply Chain


IT is now per­ceived as a key en­abler for all lo­gis­tics of­fer­ings with com­pa­nies re­ly­ing heav­ily on IT au­to­mated so­lu­tions to en­sure smooth lo­gis­tics op­er­a­tions, which re­volve mainly around WMS, TMS, EDI in­te­gra­tion and vis­i­bil­ity tools. In­dia is a mar­ket with enor­mous growth po­ten­tial for 3PL ac­tiv­ity for those who can bring in value-for-money ser­vices of mod­ern stan­dards. While it is true that this in­dus­try is still in its nascent stage in In­dia, things have picked up very rapidly in the re­cent past with more and more man­u­fac­tur­ers re­al­is­ing the need for cred­i­ble and ex­pe­ri­enced 3PL providers.

Our in­fra­struc­ture needs to be de­vel­oped and while In­dia is in­creas­ing out­lays on roads and ports along with more tan­gi­ble eco­nomic re­forms, th­ese in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment projects have a long ges­ta­tion pe­riod. We wel­come the change and in­fra­struc­ture up­grades that are tak­ing place as th­ese will ben­e­fit and fa­cil­i­tate our ser­vices to our clients.

In In­dia, lo­gis­tics costs are very high com­pared to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards owing to its un­der­de­vel­oped in­fra­struc­ture. Steps are be­ing taken to im­prove the in­fra­struc­ture, but the pace seems slower than the eco­nomic growth. Ac­cel­er­a­tion of road net­work im­prove­ment and ex­pan­sion would mean huge sav­ings on fuel, greener en­vi­ron­ment, en­hanced safety and bet­ter turn­around time for cus­tomers.

Ji­ten­der Pan­jwani , Head – Sup­ply Chain, In­dia

Op­er­a­tions, Micromax

There is a need to de­velop in­fra­struc­ture to im­prove the Sup­ply Chain Man­age­ment func­tion and a bet­ter reach to de­sired des­ti­na­tions.

Roads are con­gested and of poor qual­ity: Lane ca­pac­ity is low; na­tional high­ways are two lanes or less and a quar­ter of all In­dia's high­ways are con­gested. Many roads are of poor qual­ity and main­te­nance re­mains un­der­funded. More or less one-third of main­te­nance needs are met and this leads to the de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of roads and high trans­port costs for users.

Rail­ways are fac­ing se­vere ca­pac­ity con­straints: All the coun­try’s high-den­sity rail cor­ri­dors face se­vere ca­pac­ity con­straints. Freight trans­porta­tion costs by rail are much higher than in most coun­tries as freight tar­iffs in In­dia have been kept high to sub­sidise pas­sen­ger traf­fic.

There has to be an im­me­di­ate fo­cus on trade lanes; on road con­nec­tions and where road trans­porta­tion is tak­ing place. An im­me­di­ate im­prove­ment in cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture is re­quired with safety and se­cu­rity for goods. Spe­cial cargo trains and unique ma­te­rial han­dling hubs with spe­cial fea­tures to cater vol­umes with min­i­mal mis­han­dling is the need of the hour for ef­fec­tive and re­spon­sive sup­ply chain. Ma­jor im­prove­ments, such as good phys­i­cal con­nec­tiv­ity in the sec­tor, are re­quired to wit­ness a rise in de­mand.

SA Mo­han, CEO, Maini Ma­te­ri­als Move­ment

The sup­ply chain in In­dia is largely in­ef­fi­cient, caus­ing huge losses and stock-outs ap­per­tain­ing to the pres­ence of in­ter­me­di­aries, in­fras­truc­tural in­ad­e­quacy and com­pli­cated leg­is­la­tion. 13 per cent of In­dia’s GDP is spent on lo­gis­tics, which is an alarm­ing fact. Pro­lif­er­a­tion of chal­lenges in ar­eas of re­verse lo­gis­tics, en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and over­all sup­ply chain in­te­gra­tion are fur­ther evolv­ing the strate­gic roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of ware­hous­ing and ma­te­rial han­dling so­lu­tions in the grow­ing field of in­tral­o­gis­tics.

Amal­ga­mat­ing new tech­nol­ogy to in­crease ef­fi­ciency of in­for­ma­tion ex­changed whether through au­to­ma­tion, Ware­house Man­age­ment Sys­tem (WMS), lean de­signs and ver­ti­cal ex­pan­sion, for ex­am­ple, high rise ware­hous­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres is not a nascent con­cept any­more. To­day, it is ob­served to be a pre­req­ui­site for gain­ing com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage and can help sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease cus­tomer ser­vice and re­duce costs.

The chal­lenge for sup­ply chain pro­fes­sion­als lies in man­ag­ing not only long-term growth but also in be­ing equally re­spon­sive to short-term vo­latil­ity, due to ever in­creas­ing con­sumer seg­ments, greater num­ber of prod­ucts and emer­gence of new chan­nels.

Sta­tis­ti­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, en­hanced by tech­nol­ogy, will en­able us to take a leap to­wards smart sup­ply chains and foster in­no­va­tion adop­tion.

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