Gear­ing In­dian lo­gis­tics for a tough game .......................................................................

De­spite hav­ing the suit­able re­sources, the coun­try’s lo­gis­tics sec­tor is not per­form­ing up to the mark. In­dus­try ex­perts share the present sce­nario and fu­ture needs of the cargo in­dus­try to make it on a par with the in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

Cargo Talk - - Front Page -

S Ra­makr­ishna CMD, Balaji Mar­i­line

The lo­gis­tics in­dus­try is de­pen­dent on the es­tab­lish­ment of the econ­omy of scale in man­u­fac­tur­ing which has a di­rect ac­ces­si­bil­ity of raw ma­te­rial, con­sump­tion of fin­ished prod­uct and ex­cess of fin­ished prod­uct to be re­dis­tributed or ex­ported. The other as­pect is the cli­matic con­di­tions in var­i­ous places in In­dia it­self. If the fun­da­men­tal phe­nom­e­non is un­der­stood and in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion hap­pens then the in­dus­try would grow by leaps and bounds. In the pre-1985 pe­riod, more than 70 per cent of the ex-im trade was from North of In­dia. The first in­land con­tainer de­pot came up in Pra­gati Maidan and there­after, in Tuglak­abad, thus, es­tab­lish­ing mul­ti­modal ac­tiv­ity in the true sense.

The In­dian lo­gis­tics play­ers are not lim­it­ing their ac­tiv­ity to lo­cal level but also to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pak­istan, etc., by road apart from sea to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pak­istan. The gov­ern­ment is also look­ing from cre­at­ing air hubs in In­dia, there­fore there is true po­ten­tial­ity in In­dia and we are also striv­ing to reach the goal. But are we achiev­ing our goals in more pro­fes­sional and sci­en­tific man­ner?

With the ad­vent of ded­i­cated rail cor­ri­dor both in east and west; Sa­gar­mala Project, in­land wa­ter­ways, etc, the length and breadth of the coun­try has been made ac­ces­si­ble. It is very much man­age­able from few lo­ca­tions in­stead of ev­ery lo­ca­tion. We would achieve fur­ther with more tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vents. On the in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, with di­ver­sity in all spheres there is no ideal model which can be adopted. We would have to de­velop our own model to sus­tain the growth, com­pe­ti­tion, pro­fes­sion­al­ism and hu­man re­sources who are not well trained. We are looked upon by the en­tire world for their fu­ture prospect in the in­ter­na­tional arena of trade and com­merce, there­fore, there is less of a doubt that sup­ply chain man­age­ment would find its place es­pe­cially with our ad­vanced knowl­edge of soft­ware.

Harpreet Singh Mal­ho­tra Chair­man & Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Tiger Lo­gis­tics (In­dia)

In­fras­truc­tural prob­lems like bad road con­di­tions, poor con­nec­tiv­ity, in­ad­e­quate air and sea port ca­pac­i­ties and lack of de­vel­op­ment of modes of trans­ports like rail­ways and al­ter­nates like in­land wa­ter trans­port and do­mes­tic avi­a­tion have been con­stant ir­ri­tants. Pipe­lines con­sti­tute a very mi­nor pro­por­tion. There are other prob­lems also such as com­plex reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ances and lim­ited adop­tion and util­i­sa­tion of tech­nol­ogy, which has re­sulted in in­creased pa­per work and in­abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively with cus­tomers. Apart from all these is­sues, lack of skilled labour is also a big hin­drance in growth of In­dian lo­gis­tics in­dus­try.

The sec­tor, par­tic­u­larly the ship­ping and truck hire ser­vice providers are now spend­ing a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money on in­te­grat­ing lat­est tech­nolo­gies like cloud com­put­ing, In­ter­net of Things (IoT), ro­bot­ics and many more.

Co­or­di­na­tion in in­fra­struc­ture planning will need to hap­pen not only to truly bot­tle­necks, but also to avoid over­lap and at­ten­dant ex­tra costs. Tax regimes and re­cov­ery pro­ce­dures con­tinue to be cum­ber­some and time con­sum­ing. Ur­ban planning today does not ap­pear to fac­tor in the enor­mous vol­umes of goods dis­tri­bu­tion ca­ter­ing to ur­ban con­glom­er­a­tions in terms of road and pe­riph­eral in­fra­struc­ture re­sult­ing in traf­fic re­stric­tions and se­ri­ous bot­tle­necks and log­jams. This needs to be paid special at­ten­tion by our plan­ners. Fi­nally, the reg­u­la­tory agen­cies do not fa­cil­i­tate proac­tive and par­tic­i­pa­tive di­a­logue with the in­dus­try. Blue­prints and pol­icy reg­u­la­tions today are a largely one-sided af­fair. This makes poli­cies prone to avoid­able trial and er­ror events.

Vikram Man­sukhani Head - 3PL Di­vi­sion, TVSLSL

At this cur­rent time and place, the gap be­tween user ex­pec­ta­tion and ser­vice provider ca­pa­bil­ity to ful­fill the ex­pec­ta­tion leaves much to be de­sired. The gap is caused by a va­ri­ety of rea­sons on both sides such as – The user not will­ing to share com­plete in­for­ma­tion with the ser­vice part­ner

The re­la­tion­ship be­ing based purely on price point and not on a thor­ough eval­u­a­tion of knowl­edge, ca­pa­bil­ity and com­pli­ance ad­her­ence of the ser­vice part­ner Ser­vice part­ner want­ing to cut cor­ners to en­hance mar­gins

These are fun­da­men­tal traits of a re­la­tion­ship cre­ated out of a pro­cure­ment mind­set ver­sus a co-cre­ation mind­set and des­tined to fail as both par­ties are nei­ther aligned in terms of the end goal nor are they cre­at­ing a win-win sce­nario. While the re­sources are avail­able in plenty, it is im­por­tant to cat­e­gorise these re­sources into skilled/un­skilled; crit­i­cal/non-crit­i­cal and ex­pense ver­sus in­vest­ment buck­ets. It is ex­tremely im­por­tant that the users share their op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments and chal­lenges trans­par­ently with the sup­ply chain ser­vice providers. It is then for the ser­vice provider to earn its badge of hon­our by de­ploy­ing the best-fit so­lu­tion from a cost and ser­vice stand­point to en­sure that the cus­tomer’s sup­ply chain be­comes lean, nim­ble and vis­i­ble.

In order to make lo­gis­tics/sup­ply chain in In­dia truly world class, the need of the hour is bet­ter road net­works, higher adop­tion of rail net­works and wa­ter­ways, churn­ing out sup­ply chain pro­fes­sion­als across all lev­els from the man­age­ment as well as vo­ca­tional schools, adop­tion of a higher level of IR en­abled and mech­a­nised op­er­a­tions. It is very im­por­tant to de­fine what sup­ply chain en­com­passes. If it in­cludes lo­gis­tics as well as pro­cure­ment of raw ma­te­ri­als/fin­ished goods, then the im­por­tance of ef­fec­tive SCM needs no de­scrip­tion or ex­pla­na­tion. Even if it were to cover only lo­gis­tics, the rel­e­vance of today’s ever in­creas­ing re­quire­ments of JIT and OTIF puts im­mense fo­cus on the need for a ser­vice part­ner who un­der­stands not only his own but also his cus­tomers busi­ness com­pletely.


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