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Tech Race For A Seamless Last Mile Delivery

While digital transformation is primarily driven by rapidly changing technologies, its successful adoption depends on having a sound strategy. Enterprises who want to stay competitive need to work on scaling up their solutions along with introducing new innovations from time to time.

Shalini Nair

Logistics sector is the fourth largest employer among all the industries in India. Surprisingly, many logistics players are in the unorganised sector, which doesn’t have enough access to technologies due to smaller scale of operation. To counter this scenario, the government of India (GoI) and IITD-AIA Foundation for Smart Manufacturing have introduced notable steps to break this divide for micro, small & medium enterprise (MSME) sector.

In recognition of the significant role played by logistics, GoI is preparing the national integrated logistics plan in consultation with various stakeholders, which would be operational by March 2019. Malini V Shankar, director general of shipping, GoI, comments, “The government is also planning to put a common platform for ease of transportation of goods for logistics e-market place. We have initiated work on National Logistics Portal with all the government agencies such as customs, shipping, railways and port communities.”

Once the portal is created, stakeholders like traders, manufacturers, logistics service providers (LSPs), infrastructure providers, financial services, government departments and associations will come under one roof. The portal will have four main components which includes logistics e-market place, logistics certification platform, an integrated regulatory platform, and banking and financial services platform.

Digital transformation is dependent on how these technologies are integrated to bring out the best in each technology and transform entire businesses. Commenting on his expectation on supply chain digitisation in 2019, Nishith Rastogi, CEO & co-founder, Locus, says, “Artificial intelligence (AI) is already helping businesses in cost-effectiveness, operational efficiencies, hassle-free procedures and efficient last mile deliveries for better end-user experience. With business demands rising and companies expanding their horizons, expect supply chain problems to become too humongous and unpredictable to be comprehended by the human mind. Companies that use AI for their decision-making process will lead the logistics sector in 2019.”

Meanwhile, Vaahika, an online market place venture focusing on intercity goods transport facilitates shippers with required transparency and visibility on freight trends, fleet availability and shipment tracking by providing required convenience at reduced prices. While on the carrier side, it is creating a one-stop point for all truck types to book onwards and return loads thereby increasing their net uptime. This helps them increasing profitability while enjoying best of their fleet utilisation. Siddharth Jain, cofounder, Vaahika, says, “I guess 2019 should mark the year of investments in creating logistical or warehousing parks across all Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities enabling further streamlining of last mile distribution. We believe the government should become more aggressive towards creation of such parks so as to enable a hassle-free digitised hub and spoke delivery system.”

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January - February 2019

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