Aneel Gambhir CFO, BLUE DART EXPRESS LTD.
Dalal Street Investment Journal|September 13, 2021
''Our goal has been to turn crisis Into opportunity''

What changes have you seen in your supply chain over the last year as compared to the pre-pandemic times?

The biggest change undoubtedly has been acclimating to the new normal and the role technology has played in helping us move towards a contactless and socially distanced future. We needed to secure every inch of the supply chain, keeping our colleagues’ and customers’ health and safety on priority. Therefore, from the first mile, through the middle mile and till the last mile, our teams were briefed every single day on the precautionary measures that were to be followed. Most importantly, our innovation only propelled further as we consistently tried to be creative with technology, allowing for it to do more of the heavy-lifting, especially in the last mile; thereby leveraging our workforce to do more fulfilling tasks.

Initiatives such as the contactless delivery service that enabled digital payments for our customers or the recently launched Blue Dart Med-Express Consortium that will use drones to provide a robust healthcare infrastructure in the remotest parts of the country are our way of providing solutions that help our customers shop with us without having to worry about contagion, and also help our teams work without feeling vulnerable to the virus. To answer your question, the biggest change I have seen is the accelerated use of technology and creativity as well as the urgency with which it is being leveraged.

What are the major challenges faced by your organization and how are you managing them?

Challenges presented themselves initially as acclimating to the ‘new normal’ was completely unchartered territory for the world. Moreover, we had to understand and provide a solution to ensure efficiency without compromising on the health and safety of our colleagues and customers. Transport restrictions, providing for essential travel passes, manpower migration to their villages – all this and more posed difficulties that we had to navigate through. Leveraging the advantage that India’s geographic disposition provides us, we put into action our business contingency and continuity plan (BCCP). Accordingly, guidance was provided to all frontline personnel and pilots to ensure that ‘safety first’ was practiced, no matter what.

Thousands of hours of safety SOP training and introducing the contactless delivery service ensured that our frontline personnel and in turn our customers were safe and healthy. Transport restrictions posed a potential threat and we navigated our way around that using our fleet of Boeing 757-200 aircraft, which not only supported our customers by flying across the length and breadth of the country to transport essentials but also supported the nation by flying cross-border to bring in essential pharmaceutical equipment, vaccines, ventilators, PPE kits, oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies. Once we overcame the initial challenges the pandemic posed, potential vaccine candidate clinical trials began.

Looking forward and predicting the challenges of the future, we ramped up our temperature-controlled logistics services to ensure a smooth and seamless temperature-sensitive supply chain for the vaccine. In order to extend our reach from the 35,000+ locations we already service, the Blue Dart MedExpress Consortium aims to operate experimental drones for the delivery of vaccines and emergency medical supplies in a safe and reliable manner to the remotest parts of the country. Our goal has been to turn this ‘crisis’ into an opportunity and today I am confident to say we succeeded.

Are supply chain and workforce issues a matter of concern for you? How?

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